Learning to Love


1 Corinthians 13 presents a portrait of the nature of love so clearly that it reveals the flaws and warts of our feeble exercise of love.

Love is a popular topic, one that evokes warm feelings and a rush of spiritual adrenaline. Every year the polls indicate that the chapter of the Bible voted “most popular” is 1 Corinthians 13. This is the famous “love chapter” of the Bible. That this chapter holds such perennial appeal for Christians indicates something of the profound concern we have for the matter of love.

1 Corinthians 13 is a double-edged sword, however. It not only comforts us with an inspiring and exalted rhapsody of love, it also presents a portrait of the nature of love so clearly that it reveals the flaws and warts of our feeble exercise of love. It shows us how unloving we are. It sets the bar, presenting a norm of love that condemns us for falling so miserably short of it.

Perhaps our delight in the love chapter rests upon a superficial nod toward this biblical paean of love. Maybe we read its eloquent words as if they were merely the lyrics of a romantic ballad. But once we probe the content of the chapter, discomfort inevitably sets in.

The ultimate norm of love is God Himself. His love is utterly perfect, containing no shadow that would obscure its brilliant purity.

Coram Deo: Prayerfully study 1 Corinthians 13. How does your love measure up to these standards?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 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. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.


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