What Is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 About?

The verses found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describe the spiritual gift of love. These verses are part of the Apostle Paul’s description of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14, and he states that all other spiritual gifts are obsolete without love. Some Bible translations use the word “charity” instead of “love” in these verses.

Paul explains what love is and what it is not in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Love is patient and kind. It makes a believer rejoice in truth, and it perseveres, hopes and believes. Love emphasizes giving over receiving. Love focuses on long-term commitments over short-term feelings. Love is not envious, proud or selfish. It accepts faults in others but does not condone sin. Believers that truly love as Paul suggested can join together with other believers to create one spiritual body in the form of a church. Each individual believer performs his functions without jealousy for others’ talents.

Love is one person’s attitude toward another. People with genuine love for others produce positive feelings through their presence. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes the love that God has for his believers, and this type of love is not dependent on others returning that love. Paul suggests that believers love each other, but Jesus commands it in John 13:35 when he states, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”