Tongues and cymbals: Contextualizing 1 Corinthians 13:1
In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul's message is one of unity. The key to understanding Paul's metaphor of the cymbal in 1 Corinthians 13:1 lies in knowing that within the biblical tradition, the cymbal was never played alone, but always accompanied other instruments, singing, and words of praise. Paul urges the tongue-speakers at Corinth to abandon their solo performances and place their gifts in the service of building up the community. Love mandates that all utterances be interpreted for the community, so that the gift of tongues will no longer divide God's church, but will instead contribute to its unity in Christ.
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