The Chapter of Love

1 Corinthians 13

For the next 4 weeks, we will together look at some of the most well-known chapters from the New Testament, seeking to allow these chapters to remind us and teach us how to live as followers of Jesus.

Take a moment and read 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13 is possibly one of the most well-known chapters in all of the Bible. It is regularly the text preached at weddings, and it is often the first place where we look to learn how to love. 

One thing that is fascinating, though, about this chapter is that it falls right between chapter 12 and chapter 14. (And the award for most obvious comment of the day goes to…me!) But chapters 12 and 14 do not immediately seem to be about love. They are about using your gifts for the glory of God and the benefit of the community of believers. And right into the middle of that, Paul drops this chapter on love.

(Please remember too, that chapter and verse designations were a later addition to help readers find particular passages or verses. So, Paul did not know that this was a chapter–it was just the thing that he wrote in the middle of his discussion on gifts.)

In the final verse of chapter 12, Paul writes to “strive for the greater gifts.” And the greatest gift, Paul concludes chapter 13, is love. 

And thus, we have a foundation and a basis for all that we do as followers of Jesus and as a community of believers. Jesus affirmed the same thing during his life and ministry too, by the way. He said that the greatest commandments that we could follow were to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:27). And this foundation of love undergirds all that we do and say to others and are in the eyes of God.

And so, today, I commend to you this chapter as the foundation of who you are in God’s sight–beloved. And I commend to you this chapter as the foundation for how you should speak and think about others. 

Be patient. 

Be kind.

Be not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude.

Do not insist on your own way.

Do not be irritable or resentful.

Don’t rejoice in wrongdoing.

Rejoice in the truth.

Bear all things with one another.

Believe all things with one another.

Hope all things with one another.

Endure all things with one another.

For love never ends.