What Is the Content of 1 Corinthians 13?


Quick Answer

In 1 Corinthians 13, the writer, Paul, suggests that love is the greatest of all of the spiritual gifts. He argues that if someone possesses any of the other spiritual gifts, but does not have love, then those gifts are worthless.

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Full Answer

Immediately prior to 1 Corinthians 13, in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul lists out the various gifts that the Holy Spirit may bestow on an individual or on a community. As gifts from the Holy Spirit, they are good. However, as he argues in the chapter in question, all of these gifts come to nothing if they are not done in a spirit of love. Someone can be charitable, speak prophecy, or speak in tongues, but without love, all this "gains nothing."

Paul then goes on to describe love. Many people will be familiar with this section because it is often used during weddings. Paul describes love as patient, kind and without envy or boasting. Love, Paul says, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

Finally, Paul ends this chapter by saying that tongues will cease, knowledge will fade and prophecy will fade; but love will always endure. And this endurance of love will be the fulfillment of humanity's journey and its culmination.

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