Welcome to the Love Chapter
by Dr. Eric Costanzo
It’s been called The Hymn to Love.
It’s been called Paul’s Love Poem.
It’s been called The Love Chapter.
As a result, 1 Corinthians 13 is most often used in weddings or to teach only about romantic relationships. But was romance Paul’s primary aim in this text?
Throughout this chapter, the word love is mentioned 9 times. Each time Paul uses the word agapē, which is a word that means, among other things, Christ-centered love. Paul never uses the words for common love or romantic love one time in 1 Corinthians 13. Agapē is the kind of love that God has for us; and that He expects us to have towards each other.
Paul is not talking to couples, Paul is talking to the Church. With his own hand, Paul was writing God’s words to God’s people. Which means this chapter is also for US.
Is 1 Corinthians 13 about love between a man and woman? Absolutely. It is also about your children and grandchildren. And your parents and grandparents. And your friends. And your brother or sister in Christ. And your coworker. And your fellow student. And “those people.” And even your enemy. Without a doubt, we all have much to learn from these incredible verses. Throughout this series, you will hear this particular reading of 1 Corinthians 13 often:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 1-3, MSG).