"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Thirteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see the value of love in our service to the Lord 2) To understand the scriptural definition of "love" 3) To determine when spiritual gifts would cease SUMMARY In the middle of his discussion on spiritual gifts, Paul describes the "more excellent way" of love. After first emphasizing the importance of love (1-3), he then defines love by what it is and what it does (4-8a). Ending with love's quality of "permanence," Paul contrasts it with the temporary nature of spiritual gifts. Though such gifts fulfilled an important function, the time would come when they would cease, while qualities like faith, hope, and love would remain (8-13). OUTLINE I. THE "IMPORTANCE" OF LOVE (1-3) A. IN REGARD TO SPEAKING IN TONGUES (1) 1. Even if one spoke with tongues of men and of angels... 2. Without love, the person would be like sounding brass or a clanging cymbal B. IN REGARD TO THE GIFTS OF PROPHECY AND FAITH (2) 1. Even if one had the gift of prophecy to understand all mysteries and all knowledge... 2. Even if one had the gift of faith sufficient to remove mountains... 3. Without love, such a person is nothing C. IN REGARD TO GREAT PERSONAL SACRIFICE (3) 1. Even if one gave all their goods to the poor... 2. Even if one were willing to be burned at the stake... 3. Without love, it profits the person nothing II. THE "DEFINITION" OF LOVE (4-8a) A. LOVE'S "POSITIVE" QUALITIES (4a) 1. Suffers long 2. Is kind B. LOVE'S "NEGATIVE" QUALITIES (4b-6a) 1. Does not envy; does not parade itself, is not puffed up 2. Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil 3. Does not rejoice in iniquity C. LOVE'S "POSITIVE" QUALITIES, CONTINUED (6b-8a) 1. Rejoices in the truth 2. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things 3. Never fails III. THE "PERMANENCY" OF LOVE (8-13) A. IN CONTRAST TO SPIRITUAL GIFTS (8-12) 1. Love never fails, but spiritual gifts will cease (8) 2. Spiritual gifts to cease when that which is perfect comes (9-10) 3. Spiritual gifts equated with "childish things," which are put away at maturity (11) 4. Spiritual gifts necessary when knowledge is partial (12); the revelatory process wasn't complete then B. IN ITS ABIDING NATURE (13) 1. What will abide (remain) is faith, hope, love 2. The greatest being love
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) List the main points of this chapter. 2) What is necessary for any service that we may render to be of value? (1-3) 3) What is the main difference between love and spiritual gifts? (8) 4) What does "that which is in part" refer to in verse ten? (9) 5) What does "that which is perfect" refer to in verse ten? (10) 6) What two illustrations does Paul use to show the temporary nature of spiritual gifts (11-12) 7) In verse twelve, what word is being modified by the expressions "in part" and "fully" (NAS; ASV)? 8) What will remain after spiritual gifts cease? (13) 9) Why is it unlikely that the expression "that which is perfect is come" in verse ten refers to Christ, or to heaven?