The Greatest Gift is Love
Bible Background: 1 Corinthians 13
Highlighted Text – 1 Corinthians 13
Key verse: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church continues as he furthers his teaching on spiritual gifts. During this period, Paul was living and ministering in Ephesus and wrote to the church to address the issues of sexual immorality, abuse of spiritual gifts and the importance of holiness. These issues, among others, caused a great deal of division in the church; therefore, Paul knew it was key that they learn or be reminded of the greatest gift of all and the purpose of the church.
Love is Superior to Other Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
In this passage, Paul deals with a church age issue; selfishness. The Corinthian church just as today’s churches, allow prioritizing of gifts to stunt the growth and edification of the church. We either belittle another person in our speech or actions because of the ‘level’ we have placed them on according to their gifting. Not only does this restrict the edification of those saved, but it hinders the discipleship of new believers and binds sinners from becoming saints because gifts are not being used by believers. Rather, they are being held back for selfish reasons. Paul reminds the church that no gift is greater than God’s love. And if we can strive to emulate that love, our gifts mean nothing.
Point to Ponder: Do you place more emphasis on your gift than the actual usage of your gift?
Characteristics of Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Today when we hear the word ‘charity’ we think of those in need, doing good deeds or extending monetary gifts. When this word is used in the Bible synonymous with the word love, it means agape; to cherish someone. It is a form of God’s love to us. Although, giving to charities and helping those less fortunate are good acts, but they are not what make us disciple believers. An atheist or agnostic can do good deeds and yet are not believers of faith. But in order to show love to others, one has to possess love. Love posses characteristics that opposite of selfishness, pride, divisiveness and being ill willed towards others. Love doesn’t try to use gifts to manipulate or control others. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs, try to retaliate, but it is hopeful and patient.
Point to Ponder: Can others see the characteristics of love in you as you use your gifts?
Love Endures (1 Corinthians 13:7-13)
Simply put, unlike other gifts, as great and beneficial as they are, love will not pass away. It will last forever, enduring all things. There will come a time when other gifts will no longer be needed. But when that time comes, love will still remain. God established eternal life and planned a better place for us because he loves us. It is this love is the greatest of all.
Point to Ponder: Are you willing to make an effort to express your love to others today and this week?
What makes it difficult to act in love is when we struggle with our flesh. It is so much easier to be selfish, to hold onto pride, to keep an account of wrongs, to seek ways to reject others and not exercise patience. In certain situations, it even seems like we are justified for doing so. But these actions are not rooted in love that God has shared with us. It takes an effort to overcome our flesh. This is why discipleship is so important and necessary. Let us try to exercise more love, one opportunity at a time.
Commentary by, Evangelist Shulanda Hastings
Lesson guide, Direction Urban Ministries
Senior Ministry Leader
Spirit Realm Divine Manifestation