1 Cor 13 - the greatest of these is love

Study Questions

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

  • This well known passage is often read at weddings when we focus of the beauty of romantic love. But Paul did not write this for weddings! What is the context of this chapter and why is Paul talking about love? (Take a look at chapter 12 and 14 to work out where chapter 13 fits).
  • What is the tragedy of possessing spiritual gifts but not having  love? (v1-3)
  • In what ways is speech (spiritually gifted or otherwise) like a clanging cymbal when not accompanied by love?
  • The qualities of love in vv4-7 read as nouns in English. In the original Greek however, they are verbs. What are some ‘actions’ that define each of the qualities of love in this passage?
  • How does this description of love compare to how society depicts love?
  • When have you seen people display true love – as defined in this passage? Tell a story of someone you know.
  • What aspect of love do you see as an opportunity for personal spiritual growth?
  • In verses 8-13 Paul summarises the supremacy of love. Compared with love, why do the spiritual gifts have limited value?
  • Why is love greater than faith or hope? (v13)
  • As well as telling us what love is, this passage also gives us a portrait of Jesus – the one who loves perfectly. Re-read verses 4-7 and replace ‘love’ with ‘Jesus’. What fresh picture of Jesus do you gain through reading these verses in this way?
  • Respond in prayer