1 Corinthians is a letter written by Paul to the church in Corinth. In chapter 12 we saw evidence that the Corinthians lacked love in the use of their spiritual gifts.Paul begins by explaining that no matter what great things you are capable of doing or what gifts you possess, without love, they are nothing. He then goes on to describe what love is and what love is not.
What is Love?
The Greeks have four words that represent different types of love. The two found in the Bible are;
- PHILEO: This type of love is an affectionate love often found between friends. It seeks to make the other person happy however, It says, “I will give as long as I receive.
- AGAPE:This is sacrificial love. This is the most noble and powerful type of love because it is an act of the will. Christ showed us agapelove when he died on the cross, sacrificing Himself so that we can know eternal life and salvation. Agape love says, I will give, requiring nothing in return.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13 teaches us that;
- Love is patient
- Love is Kind
- Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.
- Love is eternal
What Love is Not
- Love it is not jealous or conceited or proud;
- Love is not ill-mannered
- Love is not selfish
- Love is not irritable
- Love does not keep a record of wrongs
- Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.
As a Christian we need to have a firm understanding of God’s definition of love.
Why? Because love is at the core of who God is and what it means to be a Christian. It’s what motivates Him, and as such, what should be motivating us. 1 John 4:8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
For God is Love. This one phrase puts love into a whole different perspective. Not only does God love us, but Love originates from Him. He is the wellspring from where love originates
A good illustration of the correlation of God’s love to man is found in nature. The sun shines and lights everything. The moon seems to radiate light itself, but is merely reflecting the light of the sun. Without the sun the moon remains dark. The world radiates God’s love and without Him there is no AGAPE love because God is Love.
What about people, who don’t believe in God, does this mean they are incapable of love?
Just as the sun reflects light on everything, so God’s love reflects on everything in His creation. However, sin corrupts and so the love the world is able to grasp and manage is a distorted version. If you want to know what love looks like we simply compare it to 1 Corinthians 13.
Jesus was asked, what’s the greatest commandment? He responded in Matthew 22: 37-40 by saying this; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
How do we Love like God
We already know 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is a tall order and one we fall short on daily. Yet the Bible says in John 13:35 that you will know the disciples by their love for one another. We can’t demonstrate this perfect love without God. In fact Galatians 5:22 says, the fruit of the Spirit is love. This means we can’t demonstrate this love but the Holy Spirit can love through us. The closer we get to God the more we demonstrate love to the world. Love is a byproduct of our relationship with God.
Do you want a better relationship with your spouse, children or co-workers? Develop your relationship with God and watch how God’s love grows and touches every aspect of your life.
God’s presence in your life will manifest itself into love for others.