A STUDY OF 1 CORINTHIANS (Lesson Nine)
                                             1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 (848-849)


          A.  As the apostle Paul discussed spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit led him to insert
                comments about love, the more excellent way. 12:31

     I.  The kind of love to which Paul referred was the Greek word ‘agape.’

          A.  It must be learned.  Illustration:  If we were to observe a couple of two year olds
                playing together, we wouldn’t see an example of agape love.

          B.  Agape love is unconditional.

                1.  Qualities:  selfless, expects nothing in return, concerned with another’s welfare,
                     doesn’t require prove of worthiness to love.

                2.  It’s the kind of love Jesus teaches in John 13:34-35 (793).  Substitute agape for

    II.  The importance of love

          A.  Greater than speaking in tongues (languages).  V1

          B.  Greater compared to the spiritual gifts of prophecy, knowledge and faith. V2

          C.  More important than personal sacrifice. V3; 12:13

   III.  Paul’s description of love. Vv4-8a

   IV.  The permanency of love. Vv8-13

           A.  Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to understand that at some point the spiritual
                 gifts wouldn’t be needed, but that love was eternal.

                 1.  Love never fails. V8a

                 2.  Spiritual gifts would cease when that which is perfect (complete) is come. Vv9-10
                      (reference to God’s revealed truth)

                 3.  Spiritual gifts represented by childish things, in part and seeing dimly. Vv10-12

    Closing: Love is greater than faith and hope because love is eternal.  John 13:34-35