Chapter 13 (The Love Chapter)

There is a purpose why this chapter is placed in the middle of a dissertation on spiritual gifts.  In answering the questions about what makes someone spiritual, we need to see that the pursuit of love is the highest aim.  (Remember they are fighting at their communion services) This is why there is a challenge to desire the gifts that build up the body rather than using the gifts to show off how spiritual we are.

Paul is not speaking about love as some Hallmark card or saying that is spoken about in weddings.  He is showing that Love is a viable sign of a spirit filled life.  Love is the real measure of a spirit filled life

  1. Three Conditional Statements Vs 1 – 3
  1. If I Speak in the tongue of men and of angels 1a
    1. Tongues of men would be languages
    2. Tongues of angels would be the gift of tongues.
      1. People who spoke in tongues thought they were really on a different plain because they were speaking a heavenly language.
      2. Paul was in heaven and he could talk about this from a great point of view.
      3. Spirituality is not measured in gifts, but in love.
  2. If I do not love (act lovingly) I am as sounding brass. 1b
    1. I must be toward others as God is toward me.
    2. To walk in the spirit is to walk in love.
    3. The cymbal was used in the worship of Cybele which emphasized ecstasy.  The Corinthians thought ecstasy was in tongues.  Paul says they are both the same.  One noise unable to say anything different.
  3. Again the use of charismata gifts.
    1. Notice he challenges them that they are used in perfection which is emphasized that it will not happen.
  4. Beyond charismata to personal sacrifice. 3
    1. Not being a Martyr, but sacrificing everything in front of others.
    2. Again, without love we are nothing.

2.  The Character of Love Vs 4 – 7

We will understand this better if we notice that love is in the capital form.  This means that Love is not the feeling between two people, but it is God Himself (1 John 4: 16)

  1. Love is patient.
    1. Patient with people not things
    2. Special emphasis on the those who injure others
    3. They do not retaliate
  2. Love is Kind (Active)
    1. Sweetness in action without righteous indignation
    2. This verb is only found in christian writings
    3. Both of these words show the mercy of God in withholding His wrath
  3. Now verbs that shows how love does not behave.
  4. Love does not envy
    1. Corinthians church was filled with rivalries
    2. We don’t seek position, but rather how can I serve those for whom Jesus died.
    3. Envy carries the capacity of boiling over or the capability of doing evil
  5. Love does not vaunt or boast.
    1. It is not a windbag or self centered.
    2. It will not call attention to how spiritual we are.
  6. Love is not boastful (puffed up) or proud
    1. it finds its expression in humility
  7. Love is not rude
    1. the context is how men and women were coming to the Lord’s table in the way they dressed.
  8. It does not demand its own way.
    1. Context they freedom to eat what I want when I want where I want.
    2. Does not intend to find its self worth in what others think
  9. Not easily provoked
    1. God wants to show mercy to those who easily bother us.
  10. Keeps no record of evil
    1. See 2 Corinthians 5: 19 not counting our trespasses against us.
    2. We wait for God to settle the score
    3. Think of Jesus first words from the cross…
  11. Love does not rejoice about injustice
    1. Love rejoices with every victory
    2. It rejoices in every act of forgiveness
    3. It will not rejoice over evil
      1. This has to do with gossip
      2. The heart is broken when others fall
  12. Love’s staccato
    1. Bears and endures the present
    2. Believes and hopes for the future
    3. It puts up with everything
    4. There is nothing love cannot face.
    5. There is no limit to its endurance
    6. It never ceases to have faith.

We need to see why Paul is so passionate about Love being our motive when we come together.  Without love as our motive, we can use the spiritual gifts wrongly and really abuse others by their use.

3. The Permanent Character of Love Vs 8 -13

  1. Charismata functions in this realm, but Love will last forever Vs 8
    1. Talked on the function of the spiritual gifts in building up the body before so there is no reason to think that they will end.
  2. Paul explains verse 8 Vs 9, 10
    1. The perfect is the return of Christ.
      1. Seeing Him face to face.
    2. Partial or in part refers to belonging to this age
  3. Paul compares present with the future Vs 11
    1. He is not saying that the use of gifts is childishness
    2. He is saying that immaturity belongs to this age.
  4. He is showing the contrast of living today compared to living in eternity. Vs 12
    1. We will see this clearer in Chapter 15
    2. We don’t necessarily see  God imperfectly, but we see Him indirectly
    3. We will miss how Jesus is represented to us.
  5. Paul’s conclusion Vs 13
    1. Faith hope and love embrace the whole of Christian existence
      1. A faith toward God as it centers in Christ
      2. A hope for the future guaranteed in Christ.
      3. Love for the present as they in faith and hope.
        1. It is greatest because it continues on into glory
        2. Also contrasted with the gifts which are temporary.
      4. Word abide indicates faith and hope also are important.
        1. Faith will always be a trusting response to the Father
        2. Hope will always anticipate new challenges through eternity
        3. Love is God Himself