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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.

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Introduction

Love is an amazing quality;  It is one that shines out in our selfish world.  John says God is love, and so He who is love is on the look out for love in us. So, what is love?  How much does he find it in our lives?

  

Bible Zone

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes a whole chapter describing the love that God is looking for.  This Bible zone looks at the chapter in three parts.


The qualities of love

Paul gives a definition of love drawing out certain qualities. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 he describes love.  New Testament Greek has three words translated by the English word love.  This one, agape, was reinvented by the early Christians since no word existed to express the love Jesus intends..  It is different from either brotherly love (philio), or erotic love (eros).   

  1. What might be some situations where these qualities are seen or lacking?
  2. Why is it so unusual to see these qualities?
  3. What situations occur in your life where you could develop this love?


1 Corinthians 13:4-7   4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


Look at the gifts of the Spirit.  What correlation do you see with the qualities of love? What is the spiritual dynamic of how this love is developed?


Living with this kind of love is not going to happen through force of character, but rather through inner transformation.  Live by the Spirit shows how.


Love is eternal

Paul now looks at the value of love in comparison to other items of the Christian faith.  His point of reference is what goes on forever in heaven.  1 Corinthians 13:8-13

  1. In the examples given, what is for now and what is forever?  Why?
  2. What does it mean for your life to focus on developing these eternal things?


1 Corinthians 13:8-13   8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages* and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

  11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.* All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

  13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.


Love and Gifts

At the beginning of I Corinthians 13.  Paul compared love with gifts of the spiritual world that many Christians highly esteem.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3

  1. What spiritual gifts does Paul bring up in the passage?
  2. How in each case is the gift valued if it is done without love?
  3. How can a spiritual gifting be exercised with the power of God, but without love?
  4. Consider any spiritual gift you may have.  How can you develop it in love?
  5. How much do you value love when it costs in time, money or commitment?


1 Corinthians 13:1-3   1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing.3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;* but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

LOVE - Quality