What kind of music would you prefer? Some people like listening to an orchestra that consists of several acoustic instruments. In our modern days we are used to sounds that depend on electronic technology. Without an amplifier you would not hear much.
The Christian church has been known for its use of music. Some people enjoy brass bands or string ensembles. On the other hand electronic devices have come to be widely used for church music too.
Admittedly I have not taken much interest in musical instruments of biblical days, so far. Yet I can say for sure our contemporary electronics were unknown to them.
I am not going to discuss pros and cons of different types of music for church use. Yet I would like to stir your imagination:
Within reach of your home there is a concert scheduled tonight. You love music because very often it helps you relax and lay aside the burdens of the day.
You enter the music hall and take your seat. Yet there are no musical instruments on the platform.
All you get to hear this evening is the sound of somebody gently beating with a stick on a concave piece of metal. Or maybe this person has two of these brass or bronze plates and ably makes them touch each other for a brief second to produce a sound.
You may refer to this musical device as a cymbal. An artist might be able to generate some variety of sounds with only one or two of such metal plates. Yet if he had many cymbals of different size he might be able to play a tune.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul likens words, however impressive, yet spoken without love, to the sound that could be produced by such a percussion type of musical device:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
Would you enjoy a concert night with only a cymbal producing a ringing sound for hours? Would this help you relax. Would it enable you to mature your emotions? Probably your answer would be no.
How would you react to such comparatively monotonous sounds? Would you be happy to stay listening for long?
I would like to contrast 1 Corinthians 13:1 with another statement of the apostle to compare ‘words of love’ to some corresponding type of musical sounds. Unfortunately I am not aware of any such verse in the bible.
Good music probably would be characterised by harmony and wholesome sound. Harmony might serve as a description of an atmosphere of love.
How would words of love differ from words spoken without love? What reactions would they evoke?
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is emphasising love as a more excellent way of Christian living and Christian ministry. One purpose of my blog is to consider many aspects of this chapter. Currently I am dealing with the first verse.