The English word charity, as commonly used, has two...

The Christian Science Monitor

The English word charity, as commonly used, has two distinct meanings. It may refer to the giving of alms to those in need, or it may refer to the thought held or expressed toward the appearance of evil and those who seem to be involved in evil. It was this latter thought, no doubt, that Paul had in mind when writing to the Corinthians, as brought out by the clear purpose of the epistle itself, and by the explanation of charity, as given in the famous thirteenth chapter of the first epistle. Christian Science makes very clear the right attitude of thought toward sin and the sinner, the thought that does not ignore, excuse, nor condone, but heals; and the true meaning of charity is thereby made plain. That Paul understood charity from the viewpoint of Principle there is no doubt.

As soon as the greetings are given in the first chapter, the apostle states at once his purpose in writing. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, ... that there are contentions among you." Paul then discusses freely and frankly the causes of the divisions and contentions. First he mentions the looking to human leaders or teachers and depending on them, Paul or Apollos, or Cephas; and he says, "Ye are God's building." "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" "For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers."

Next the writer speaks of the reports of impurity in the church; then as touching things offered to idols; again regarding the methods of observance of certain forms and ceremonials in the church. The discussion of these things, which occupies the first eleven chapters of the epistle, leads up to and prepares the ground for the wonderful statements of scientific truth in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters. In the twelfth chapter is presented a clear explanation of the fact of spiritual unity in diversity. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ... And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." Farther on he continues, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."

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