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1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Study Guide


1 Corinthians 13

OPENNER: Are you a person who needs to get the last word in all the time? From Terry’s sermon, do you remember what he said Dallas Willard’s and Jesus’ last words were? What about the vile man Terry spoke about­–what was going on in his heart? What did their (Willard’s, Jesus’ and the vile man’s) last words reveal about what was filling their hearts over the course of their lives?

Discuss: What they spoke with their mouths came from how their hearts had been shaped over time. This is true for all of us. That can be a sobering thought. Think about all you have said this past week or month.

Chapter 13 In a Nutshell: The Most Excellent Way!

Chapter 13 focuses on love, a theme found throughout Paul’s discussion of worship, and emphasizes the importance of the edification of others. Paul expressed his commitment to the priority of love over other aspects of life in the Spirit.[1]

Discussion 1: Read Chapter 13

  • How would you describe love? Does your definition look anything like Paul’s? Was Paul’s definition meant to be exhaustive?[2]
  • What kind of problems do verses 1-3 reveal? What do they reveal about the way we do things? How do they work as a powerful set point for our lives?
  • Terry said verses 4-7 are not a “do and don’t do list.” What was his point?
  • These verses are a description of what love actually is “in the real world.” Why do so many have problems living these verses out in their daily lives? Why is trying harder a failed strategy?

Believe…that the gospel is true (real)…true like gravity. To believe this means to think/understand that it is real and true. You don’t have to know all that could be known about this. No one does. You just have to have adequate and accurate information, enough true information to shape your beliefs in order to act on that belief.

Value/Do: Watch your heart. “Value” refers to what you are learning to hold most dear, what you are allowing your heart to wrap around, what is becoming or has become valuable to you. You get to choose what you value/love by choosing where you make your best investments. What do you allow your mind to think the most about? What do you spend your resources of time, money and effort on?

Paul’s goal for the Corinthians, and God’s goal for us, is the joy and power of maturity in Christ. Chapter 13—the most excellent way—is the best path to maturity.

[1] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 228). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 240). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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