1 Corinthians 13 Bible Study And Application

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The most quoted chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13, is found in the middle of Apostle Paul’s exposition about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. Paul acknowledges the importance and place of spiritual gifts in Christian life. However, he says that there is more than these gifts. All other gifts are worthless without love.

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1 corinthians 13 love chapter bible study

The Eminence of Love (v. 1-3)

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

All spiritual gifts must be combined with love. Paul specifically mentions the gifts like prophecy and tongues as well as knowledge, faith, and giving. Without love, these gifts won’t be able to accomplish their purpose. All spiritual gifts are subservient to walking in love.

The Explanation of Love (v. 4-8).

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Paul provides a concise explanation of love, which describes many of its characteristics. These verses show us what love is and what it doesn’t.

Love is:

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Rejoice in truth
  • Bears up in all problems / Protects
  • Believes/Trusts
  • Hopes
  • Understanding the faults of others
  • Never gives up / Keeps going

Love is not:

  • Envious
  • Proud
  • Boastful
  • Inappropriate/Rude
  • Selfish
  • Short-tempered
  • Evil
  • Acceptance of sin

The Endurance of Love (v.8-13)

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Some spiritual gifts may fail, and when Jesus returns, they will no longer be needed and will stop, but love will not. Although one may have the gift of prophecy and knowledge, one won’t be able to know all things. God doesn’t reveal all things at once to us. However, there is a promise to “when that is perfect is here (meaning Jesus), then that is in part” (spiritual gifts); will cease; however, there will always be a need for love. Love is eternal. He mentions three things that will endure and continue: faith, hope, and love (or charity). Paul states that love is the most important of all three. Without love, even the most enduring and permanent qualities of faith or hope are of no value.

Life Application of 1 Corinthians 13, A Biblical Study on Love

All relationships should be filled with love, not just romantic or family. Love does not have to be limited to girlfriends and boyfriends. You should show love at work, grocery stores, and school.

These two lists show attitudes and what love is. It’s not just how we describe love but how we act toward others. You have probably met someone you instantly enjoy being around. What makes someone so enjoyable to be around? Their attitude. It is how they communicate themselves or what emotions they can create through their presence. People can lie and project an attitude of love, but they don’t always feel that way. It doesn’t take long to discover one’s true attitude. You’ve probably been around people that make you dislike them. This is a lack of love. These attitudes indicate the love qualities shown in verses 4-8.

Do you love? This may not be an easy question to answer. It’s very general. What about the qualities that make love special? Are you patient? Trusting? These questions are more specific. What is your score?

You can also check out the other list. Is it envy? Proud? Boastful? Are you rude or short-tempered?

Look at the list and decide your attitude regarding your schoolmates or colleagues at work. How about other parents at your child’s school? They may need to change their attitude. Paul does not say this is a list of things you should expect from others.

The Bible uses many Greek words for love. This passage uses the word agape, which refers to God’s love for us. This is not a dependent love. It is a love that is personal and can be reacted to by others. These qualities of love can’t be taught to someone else, but you can choose your attitude towards them.

Love: A Lesson & A Command

1 corinthians 13 bible study and application

Jesus said in John 13.35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Our Lord gave the command to Christians to choose to love other people.

The easiest way to learn how to apply the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 is to ask God to reveal His love for you. As you receive that love, you can freely give what you have received.

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