Shepherds’ Notes

             In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, chapter 13 is often called the “Love Chapter” of the Bible.  Some of your Bibles may have a heading for this chapter as “The Greatest Gift.”  Paul basically tells the church at Corinth, everything that is done without love is nothing.  This chapter certainly applies to us in so many ways.  It gives us several characteristics of what love is and what love is not.  We should follow these characteristics in our everyday life.  Regardless of all we do to help others, if it isn’t done in the love of God, it is done in vain. 

This chapter tells us love is patient or long-suffering.  Patience is listed as a virtue in the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 6:22.  It isn’t always easy to be patient, is it?  In teaching God’s word to others, we are to do so in kindness and with patience as we see from 2 Timothy 4:2.  Sometimes we want to see results immediately or we want our wishes to be fulfilled immediately instead of in God’s time. 

Love is kind.  Ephesians 4:32 says “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  Are we always kind to others, or are we sometimes rude?  Many times, we are unkind or rude to those we love most and those that love us most.  We should think about our actions and the impression they leave with others.  What impression are we making for the Lord’s church?

Love isn’t boastful or self-seeking.  We should put others’ needs before our own.  Sometimes we are selfish and want to be recognized for the good things we are doing when we should be putting ourselves aside and giving God the glory.

Love isn’t puffed up.  One writer says it this way, “love doesn’t have a swelled head”.  Sometimes it is easy to think more of ourselves than we should when we should be using our God given talents for His glory only.   Verse 8 says love never fails.  While other things listed will fail, love is never ending.  Verse 13 is probably one of the more well-known verses in the Bible.  “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  If we are faithful to God, one day faith will be sight, hope will be fulfilled, and we will be surrounded with God’s love for all eternity.  Consider this verse from 1 John 4:16. “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”