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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's FIRST letter to the Corinthians

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FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 13

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 13: Love


v.1-3 Without Love – Nothing
v.4-8 The Nature of Love
v.9-13 It is Love that will endure


[Chapter Synopsis: Spiritual gifts, according to Paul in the previous chapter, are to be eagerly desired but there is something better to be considered to ensure they are used properly – love. Love has many facets and perhaps the most important is that when all else passes away (including the need for the gifts) love will still be there. After all, God IS love – 1 Jn 4:8,16]



v.1-3 Without Love – Nothing


v.1 (speaking in tongues is great [see next chapter] but without love they are mere words) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

v.2 (prophecy and revelation are wonderful but without love are nothing) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

v.3 (being generous or zealous are great but without love are nothing) If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.


[Passage Synopsis: The use of tongues and prophecy is great but without love they are nothing.]



v.4-8 The Nature of Love


v.4,5 (love is expressed in positive and negative ways in respect of others) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs .

v.6 (love flees from evil but embraces truth) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

v.7 (is always positive) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

v.8 (will always keep on even when other gifts cease being needed) Love never fails . But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.


[Passage Synopsis: The individual characteristics of love are worth pondering upon]



v.9-13 It is Love that will endure


v.9,10 (we need gifts at the present time but in the new world they will not be needed) For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

v.11 (as a child I was immature, as an adult I lost those ways) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

v.12 (now it's all a bit indistinct, in the new world all will be clear) For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

v.13 (so some things will pass but love will always remain) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

[Passage Synopsis: The transient nature of the present sinful and uncertain world means we need Jesus' gifts but there will come a time, when the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1) come when they will no longer be needed, but even when they pass, love will still continue. That's how important it is!]