Over the next five posts, we will continue to digest 1 Corinthians 13. There is so much in this chapter that we will only grace the surface of, but hopefully we will dig enough to entice you to read it with fresh eyes and help you go deeper on your own.
We find love, agape love, threaded throughout the Bible.
As we touched on in the previous post, agape is a selfless love. “‘Theologian Thomas Aquinas was the first to equate it exclusively with divine love, which can only be perfectly demonstrated by God toward sinful humanity.’ C.S. Lewis extends the concept and describes it as the central aim of Christianity.” 2
In 1 Corinthians 13, we read the most impactful and well-known chapter on love, agape love. The other types of love – affection, friendship & romantic – are more self seeking and self gratifying, where agape’s central focus and purpose is to turn hearts and minds away from self towards divinity… towards God’s perspective of His world, His people.
Reading through this chapter always brings emotions to the surface for me. What is brought to the surface in you?
Take a few moments to purposefully read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 from the New Living Translation…
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!
But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
What descriptive words or thoughts come to mind reading this chapter?
For you, is this agape love intimidating?
Lofty and overwhelming?
Hopeful and promising?
For today, we will think and pray over how we experience and react to this entire chapter. Over the next few posts, we will take a deeper dive into specific verses.
Throughout, allow God’s love to penetrate you, and bring you closer to living out and living in agape love.
Helpful sites for further study //