1 Corinthians 13

1Co 13:1-3          Why is it significant that Paul mentions tongues and prophecy first when describing the superiority and necessity of love?  See 1Co 14:2-3.  Why is it significant that he also mentions knowledge?  See 1Co 8:1-2,7,11.  Is it possible to speak in tongues, prophecy, and have knowledge and great faith, but not have love?  What is the end result or effect of these great gifts if one does not have love?  See also Mat 7:22-23.

1Co 13:4               What does Paul mean that love is patient (longsuffering) and kind?  See 1 Pet 4:8, Eph 4:32.  Why would this quality of love be especially important for the Corinthian church in addressing their problems?  What is the significance to the issue of spiritual gifts Paul has been addressing that love is not jealous or arrogant and does not boast or brag?  In what other ways had some in the Corinthian church become arrogant?  See 1Co 4:6,18, 5:2, 8:1.

1Co 13:5               In what way were some within the Corinthian church acting unbecomingly?  See 1Co 11:5,13.  In what way were some seeking their own?  See 1Co 10:24,33, 11:20-21, 14:4,6.  How were these evidence that they were lacking in the most important Christian virtue of love?  What example did Paul set for the Corinthians that love does not seek its own?  See 1Co 9:4-6,19.  Although both are true, is it significant that Paul says love is not provoked rather than saying that love does not provoke?  What great example do we have in Scripture that love does not take into account a wrong suffered?  See 2 Cor 5:19.  Why is such love so important to our salvation?  See Mat 6:14-15, 18:21-22.  What evidence do we have that some in Corinth were keeping an account of wrongs suffered?  See 1Co 6:1,6-8.

1Co 13:6               In what way were some in Corinth delighting in evil?  See 1Co 5:1-2.  What other examples do we have in Scripture of people rejoicing in unrighteousness?  See Rom 1:32, 2 Thess 2:12.  What does this verse teach us about the relationship between righteousness, truth, and love?  Note: The only basis for real love is righteousness and truth; any other expression based merely on feeling or popular opinion may be called love, but is only so-called and not real.

1Co 13:7               In what way does love bear (endure, tolerate, put up with, pass over in silence) all things?  See Paul’s example in 1Co 9:12.  In what way does love believe all things?  Does that mean one should be gullible?  See Mat 10:16.  In what way does love hope all things?  In what way does love endure (persevere, as through a trial) all things?  See Heb 12:2-3, James 1:12.  How is this love as described by Paul in these verses the solution to all of the problems the Corinthians were facing, as well as to the problems churches still face today?  See 1 Peter 4:8.

1Co 13:8-10       What does Paul mean that love never fails—or falls, as the Greek word is usually translated?  What do these verses teach us about the goal of spiritual gifts and their permanence once that goal is achieved?  See also Eph 4:11-13, especially the first word of 1Co 13:13.  What is the “perfect” to which Paul refers, and what is the “partial”?  Has the “perfect” yet come, that we should expect the “partial” to have been done away with?  See 1Co 13:12.  These verses are often used to argue that the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy were done away with the coming of the “perfect” New Testament scriptures that were written down with the passing of the first century church.  Is this a valid exegesis of what Paul meant?

1Co 13:11-13     How does the picture of a child becoming a man illustrate Paul’s point in the previous three verses?  Note: the word “perfect” in 1Co 13:10 also means “mature”, as in 1Co 2:6, 14:20, Eph 4:13, and Heb 5:14.  How does Paul describe how we perceive things now?  Note: “in a mirror dimly” is literally “through a mirror in an enigma/riddle”; the mirrors of those days were polished metal, not silvered glass, and to see a friend’s reflection in a mirror was not the same thing as seeing the friend.  How does Paul describe how we shall perceive things upon becoming mature?  To what extent may such maturity be attained in this life?  Had Paul attained to that maturity?  See again Eph 4:11-13 and also Phil 3:12-16.  What three things shall always remain, even after the “partial” has passed away?

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