1 Corinthians Introduction 13 February 4th 2024

1 Corinthians Introduction 13 February 4th 2024

A few thoughts before we hear our 1 Corinthians 13 reading…  

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts… 

Paul gives significant time in this letter our life groups are focusing upon – 3 chapters out of the 16… 

The church has written a letter which had a bunch of questions in it – one of them is about spiritual gifts. 

In 1 Cor 12 – chapter before –  he reminds the church that as wonderful as spiritual gifts are, and he calls on them to eagerly desire them – he says that the most powerful thing the Spirit can do, is to bring a person to acknowledge the kingship of Christ.  

He reminds the community that the gifts of God are many but there is only one Giver and one purpose for the spiritual gifts, for the charismata – to serve the purposes of God.  

But Paul says – unity is only possible with diversity – a body has made parts.  

He teaches them – nobody should dismiss their own gift – which often we can do, we compare ourselves with others, wishing we had the gifts that God has given them, and concluding that our gifts aren’t very important or exciting.  Paul says – rubbish.  

People with other gifts – the ones you are impressed by – need you and you need them. As Paul writes: ‘’God has placed the parts of the body in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be’’. 

Second point: nobody should dismiss the gifts of others.   

Some church members in Corinth were saying or thinking about other church members – I don’t need you. That can be a temptation – for a Christian to be proud – to prize our gifts as more important than the gifts of others, and looking down on other believers who are less gifted in leading, or teaching, or healing, or serving, or encouraging, etc etc.  

Paul says – that is like an eye saying I don’t need a hand.  

But what will the eye do when something gets stuck in its eye one day?  

And then Paul comes to our coming verses– words that have been read billions of times, used in some of our members weddings here..  Maybe, it is one of the most famous chapters of the whole bible… 

His words suggest that the Corinthians are being loveless in their use of spiritual gifts.  He wants to make sure that the motive for using the gifts.  

In fact the motive for everything we do in the Christian life – is clear… 

He says – people thought speaking was important.  

Paul – without love – empty 

They thought miracles, knowledge prophesy –  

Paul – without love – nothing. 

Sacrifices, giving, even willing to die for the faith –  

Paul – without love – worthless.  

Love has many meanings but listen for the 15 verbs he will us, 

7 positive, what love is. 

8 negative – what it is not. 

When we hear these 7 qualities –  

we can pray asking God to help us express that kind of love to  

our friends,  



or fellow church members. 

When we hear the 8 negatives  

– can we audit our relationship in the light of these words 

  • Am I envious of my colleagues? 
  • Dishonouring of my wife or husband? 
  • Easily angered by or at my children? 
  • Keep a record of my parents wrongs? 
  • Delighting in evil with my friends 
  • Lord help me to love! 

Let’s listen to the word of God…