Bible Summary and Study on Love: 1 Corinthians 13

by David Peach on March 31, 2011 · Print Print · Email Email

In the middle of the Apostle Paul’s exposition on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14 is the often quoted chapter on love: 1 Corinthians 13. While Paul recognizes the importance of the spiritual gifts and their place in the Christian’s life, he tells that there is something superior to these gifts. Without love all other gifts have little value.

Eminence of Love (v. 1-3)

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 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. 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, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Love must be mixed in with all the spiritual gifts. Paul specifically mentions the gifts of tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith and giving. These gifts can’t accomplish their purpose without the supremacy of love. Love is preeminent to all the spiritual gifts.

Explanation of Love (v. 4-8)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Paul gives a succinct explanation of love that describes many of its attributes. From these verses we see what love is and isn’t, or what love does and doesn’t do.

Love is:

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Rejoices in truth
  • Bears up under all problems / Protects
  • Believes / Trusts
  • Hopes
  • Understands the of faults of others
  • Never fails / Perseveres

Love isn’t:

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

Endurance of Love (v. 8-13)

1 Corinthians 13: 8-13 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Bible Summary and Study on Love

Even the enduring, permanent qualities of faith and hope will be of little value without love.

While some of the spiritual gifts will be cut off or pass away, love will remain. One may have had the gift of prophecy or of knowledge, yet they wouldn’t know all things. God does not reveal all things at one time to us. But there is a promise that “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part will be done away.” Though some spiritual gifts will cease, there is always a need for love. Love is permanent. Specifically he mentions that three items will continue and endure: faith, hope and love (or charity). Of the three, Paul says that love is superior. Even the enduring, permanent qualities of faith and hope will be of little value without love.

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

Love should penetrate every relationship we have, not just romantic and family relationships. Love is not confined to boyfriends and girlfriends. Love should be shown at work, the grocery store and in the classroom.

The two lists of what love is and isn’t shows attitudes. Love is not just a word we say, but an attitude that we have towards others. Have you ever met someone that you immediately enjoy being around? What is it about that person that makes you enjoy their company? It is their attitude. The way they express themselves, or the feelings they can produce through their presence. Of course people can be liars and transmit an attitude of love without really being loving. However, it usually does not take long for one’s true attitude to be revealed. You have probably also been around people who immediately cause you to dislike them. That is a lack of a loving attitude. The attitudes of love express the qualities of love shown in verses 4 through 8.

Are you loving? That may be a hard question to answer. It is very generic. But what about the qualities of love? Are you patient? Are you kind? Trusting? These types of questions are more pointed. How do you stack up?

There is the other list too. Are you envious? Proud? Boastful? What about rude and short-tempered?

Go through the list of attitudes and see how you do when thinking about your work colleagues or schoolmates. What about the other parents at your children’s school who probably need a change of attitude? Paul doesn’t say this is a list of what you need to require of others.

There are various Greek words for love used in the Bible. The word used in this passage is the word agape which is the type of love God has towards us. It is a love that is not dependent on others; rather it is a personal choice. You can’t make someone else have these qualities of love, but you can make a personal choice in your attitude toward them.

Love: A Lesson & A Command

Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Making the choice to love others is not only a suggestion given in Paul’s Bible study on love in 1 Corinthians 13, it is also a command given by our Lord to those who would call themselves Christians.

Resources:

The Holy Bible, King James Version

YouTube “Wedding Song (There is Love)” by Paul Stookey

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

LaDonna Rae April 8, 2011 at 1:48 am

HI I’m LaDonna I’ve found you via the UBP, would love to have you stop by my place over at http://www.iFRoG.me.

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David Peach April 8, 2011 at 2:28 am

Thanks for stopping by LaDonna. I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment. I dropped by your website. I love the FROG acronym.

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lucky September 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm

great stuff!

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lucky September 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Very enlightening

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Sam Sharp December 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

Hi, David. I was surfing the web in search of some inspiration on “strength” scriptures. God’s providence lead me across your path…seemingly out of nowhere. I am a teacher of ASL at our local high school. I have a MS in deaf studies/deaf education. I have prayed for a foot in the door of deaf ministry in this area for a long time. I changed my prayer to “a foot in the door of deaf ministry” PERIOD. Then, you popped up. Coincidence? Not if I believe God’s word and trust his heart…no. You have my attention. What now? Any advice would be great. Thanks, and God bless you.

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David Peach December 5, 2011 at 10:32 am

Sam, thanks for contacting me. I would certainly encourage you to talk with your pastor and see what your church can do to get a deaf ministry started on a local level.

If you need help with that I can highly recommend my friends at Silent Word Ministries and the Bill Rice Ranch. These both have programs to help your church start a deaf ministry.

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Allwyn D'Souza January 25, 2013 at 5:15 am

Simple and Best.

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PstWILLY OCHIENG May 12, 2012 at 8:26 am

Powerful , God bless you man of God,
I have actually gotten some tips for my sermon,
Pst Willy
Busia,
Kenya,
Africa

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ve June 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

This was exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thank you for hearing from god to do this study. It helped me a lot

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Jack Wellman June 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Ve, David is among the best of the writers here and I can not compare to him. I also love Romans 12 but 1 Cor 13 is THE love chapter for sure.

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Jackie D July 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

Thank you, such a blessing and helpful. :)
May God bless you all abundantly

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Mutsaro P October 2, 2012 at 3:46 am

Oh! what a wonderful sermon Mr peach.may God bless you for that.The deaf ministries tha you started is very crucial as for me i was touched.nice time

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Rose atieno October 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thanks im blsed at least i have some verses to teach

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sharon November 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

thanks, it has been a pleasure to find this study on love as i am in the process on refocussing my attention on the love God has for me, i had some how lost that awareness. It has been very helpful thanks again.

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Tameka January 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I would just like to say, that I enjoyed reading this bible summary of 1 Corinthians 13- The love Chapter. Your breakdown is very simple and it will be very helpful as I will attempt to breakdown it as you have done on Wednesday.

Thanks.

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joseph January 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

You’ve really open my eyes to this topic of love I have learnt a lot tonight . Now I can be able to teach this to my choir because it very important for them to know thank once more may God bless you.

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Cat February 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

Good article…I have been preaching this for a while…We forget in this world that the Christian definition of love was so much more that the concept of love now days…To the early Christians, love and charity were one and the same and could not be separated! In todays world you can support every charitable act around but feel no love in doing it…people give for tax purposes, to fulfill, or change a public image, or because they want to look good, etc. None of those require feeling unconditional love for anyone!

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Beth February 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hello, David,
I volunteered/ was volunteered to teach a Sunday School lesson Febuary 17th. Since it was still close to Valentine’s Day I thought the “Love Chapeter” would be appropriate. I came across your article and I am using it as a basis for my lesson. Thank you so much for your perspectives. It will be a great help to me.
As. an aside, I am visually impaired and was a rehab teacher for the blind till I retired ten years ago. We worked with some deaf-blind studients some during my 28 years of teaching.
Anyway, thank you for sharing.

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Ayoola victor dee March 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

It a happy thing to come accross the teachings the lord bless

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Ayoola victor dee March 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

Am glad to come the lectures on love am really been blessed by the word.

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Christopher April 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thank you for the words to base my Sunday meditation on today

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linda August 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

I am a part of the jail ministry at Muscogee County jail i Columbus, Ga. I am looking forward tp sharing the bible study o 1 Corinthians tomorrow with the female inmates . God is doing some wonderful things in the jail ministry.

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Ramon February 7, 2014 at 12:08 am

Why is it that this article talks about love if the word used throughout the passages is “charity?” Charity and love are two very different things. Once can do charity without love but one can’t love without charity.

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