Love in 1 Corinthians 13

two female friends hugging and smiling

Love is known as the greatest commandment. To love and to be loved is a beautiful thing. This devotional will cover love and attempt to clarify the question, What does love look like?

In This Devotional:

Love Is Essential

Love is an essential part of our humanity. Love is what makes what we do meaningful. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us that even if we use gifts of knowledge or prophecy, give generously or have strong faith, those things are only valuable if we also have love. Love is meant to be the why behind what we do. Love is more meaningful and valuable than doing good actions alone.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  — 1 Corinthians 13:3, NIV

In 1 Corinthians 13:3, Paul writes that immense generosity and self-sacrifice will not benefit you unless you also have love. Love is the essential piece of the puzzle that allows us to make a lasting impact in this world and bring the power of God’s love to others. Without this love, we gain nothing; therefore, love is essential. 

Love Is Never Ending

Love is everlasting, never fails and is complete. Love is a force that overcomes all obstacles, unlike anything else. Knowledge or skills, blessings or strength, nothing comes close to the lasting power of love. 

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. — 1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV

Love will outlast other gifts, even though those gifts are good. Love fills gaps left behind by other things and extends far beyond all kinds of limitations. Love will be what completes us, and we can always find purpose through love.

Knowing that love will not fail gives us something to put our hope and faith into. God’s love for us is perfect and whole, and we can also trust that when we love as God has demonstrated, this love will never truly end.

Love Is Good

Love embodies and encompasses so many good things. To love someone means to consistently express these values and traits. To be loved means you experience these from the way others treat you. God’s love for us is the perfect example of a love that is all these things all of the time. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Corinthians 4-7, NIV

Love is characterized as being:

  • Kind
  • Humble
  • Patient
  • Self-sacrificial
  • Understanding
  • Forgiving
  • Honest
  • Protective
  • Trusting
  • Trustworthy
  • Hopeful
  • Perseverant
  • Truth-seeking

These traits can help us understand what love really looks and feels like. Love can, therefore, be understood as an action; when we act with these traits and characteristics, our actions will demonstrate love that can be experienced by others. Love embodies only good traits and cannot be weaponized or used to manipulate others. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV

Above all things, love is essential, never-ending and consistently good. Love can be relied upon through every time and season. Are you looking for a space to grow and learn to love others? Consider applying to an undergraduate program at Grand Canyon University and see what our campus community can do for you. Fill out the form on this page to connect with a university counselor and get started today.

Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on Feb. 9, 2024

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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