Introduction

  • Love is a big word. It covers a wide range of meanings in our language. By studying what the Bible says about it, we can come to an understanding of what it means in God’s plan for us.
  • The Corinthians loved knowledge, philosophy, and personalities. As a result, they lost the essence of the Way of Christ.
  • They suffered from the same syndrome as the first disciples, a competitive love of first place.
  • Paul presents love as the cure to this syndrome.

Love in 1 Corinthians 13

  1. Love in context, 1 Cor 12-14: The chapter comes in the center of a discussion about the proper use of gifts in the congregation.
    1. As such, love is the centerpiece and the motivation for the use of gifts.
    2. Love is the solution to selfish ambition.
  2. Essential love, 1 Cor 13.1-3: Motivation matters. If we don’t do things out of love, then our works bring us no benefit.
  3. Active love, 1 Cor 13.4-7: Love is not a feeling, but a cluster of attitudes and actions that benefit the beloved one.
  4. Unending love, 1 Cor 13.8-13: The nature of love is not affected by eternity, as are faith and hope. On the contrary, it comes into its fullest light.
    1. Miracles—which the Corinthians loved so much—would cease, but not love.
    2. God is love, 1 Jn 4.8, 16. As such, it partakes of his eternal nature.

Conclusion

  • “Pursue love” 1 Cor 14.1, and seek those things that will properly express it and that will edify the family of faith. (Edification is the key word of chapter 14.)
  • Since God is love, let him define it, sustain it, express it, preserve it, and nurture it in us.