240108 – Introduction To 1 Corinthians 13

Gentle music plays. The crowd stands to their feet. A beautiful woman in a white dress floats down the aisle littered with rose petals. Tears roll down cheeks and smiles are plastered on faces. All eyes are on the woman in white as she walks towards the altar. Rightfully so, as this is her wedding day. She has dreamed of this day her entire life and her loved ones have all gathered to help make that dream come true.

Who doesn’t love weddings? There is music from the 60s, cheesy dancing, laughter, awkward toasts, and cake. Plus it’s the only time we get to dance to the Cupid Shuffle. Throughout history, most cultures have revered weddings as a right of passage. They are enchanting. They are mesmerizing. They are a whole lot of fun.

Why do we love weddings so much? Because they’re a celebration of everyone’s favorite emotion—love.

If you’ve ever attended a Christian wedding, then you likely heard 1 Corinthians 13 recited during the ceremony. It’s the crown jewel of love passages. The opening phrase, “Love is patient, love is kind” evokes imagery of a happy couple at the altar for most people.

These words are perfect for a wedding, but that’s not the primary reason Paul wrote them. The Apostle wrote his first letter to the Corinthians to correct problematic behavior in a dysfunctional church. 1 Corinthians 13 isn’t a passage of affection, it’s a passage of correction. These words seem sweet like candy, but they can also be a tough pill to swallow.

Paul leveraged this beautifully written chapter to set his friends in Corinth straight. He identified some deep-rooted character flaws that acted like cracks in the foundation of a building. They were discrete, but could eventually lead to destruction. The message may be a couple of thousand years old, but every word still rings true today. In this devotional, we are going to closely examine the nature of true God-given love—both what it is and what it is not.