Week 2 Letters – The Love Chapter (Feb 28)
Read 1 Corinthians 13
This is a popular passage that is frequently read in Churches and is often quoted on pictures, posters and other forms of decoration. But did you ever ask yourself why Paul suddenly started writing about love in the middle of his lengthy letter to the Corinthian Church? This is a great example of how context helps us understand the original meaning of a passage in the Bible. We often think that a chapter marks the beginning and end of a thought in the Bible, but when Paul wrote his letters, he did not break them into chapters. This was done by translators hundreds of years ago, and well after anything in the New Testament had been written.
Consider the Context and try to get at the Original Meaning: Take a look at what Paul is writing before chapter 13 and what he is writing after.
He is writing about spiritual gifts! There seemed to have been problems in this Church about the importance people placed on certain spiritual gifts. Paul is trying to correct some issues related to disorganization and wrong emphasis. But right in the middle of it all, he basically says, “Hold on! Let me show you something more important than all this. Let me show you the most important thing!” Love is more important than any gift. In fact, without love, any gift is worthless. He talks about three things that will last forever, none of which are included in his comments about spiritual gifts. And of those three things, Love is the greatest!
It was Mimi Lee’s idea to include this passage in this study guide. She wrote the following about this passage: “As a jr high student, my Sunday School teacher challenged the class to memorize 1 Corinthians 13, popularly known as the Love chapter (King James version). I aced it and earned a whole chocolate bar for my efforts. This passage has remained one of my favourites because of the way my understanding of it has evolved. I’ve had several aha moments with this passage because it means something different to me at various points of my life. It’s neat how the words have remained the same, but the significance has changed for me.”
1) Paul defines love in verses 4-7. In his examples of love, where are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
2) Are there any people in your life where those weaknesses seem to come out more often? Consider putting them in your Prayer Journal and make a special effort to love them this week.