The Pursuit Of Love

The church at Corinth was plagued by internal problems that pitted brother against brother. Their quarrels with one another caused divisions (1 Cor. 1:11). Jealousy and strife caused much trouble (1 Cor. 3:3). Arrogance caused them to be blind to the dangerous condition they were in (1 Cor. 4:18-19; 5:2). They were guilty of defrauding one another (1 Cor. 8:7, 9, 11). There were divisions and factions among them that prevented them from partaking the Lord’s supper together (1 Cor. 11:18, 19, 33). They seemed to have had an “I have no need of you” attitude toward each other (1 Cor. 12:21). What was the problem in Corinth? An essential Christ-like trait was absent from their hearts. The apostle Paul wrote to them and reminded them about the importance of love.

Love dominated Paul’s message to the church at Corinth. He reminded them that love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1). He encouraged them to pursue love (1 Cor. 14:1). Love, in fact, should have been at the center of their motives, attitudes, behavior, and relationships. Paul wrote, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:22). His letter to this struggling congregation ended with a personal message of his own feelings for them. He said, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen” (1 Cor. 16:24). The church in Corinth needed a fundamental understanding of love. Paul’s letter to them provided several lessons about love they desperately needed to learn.

Love must serve as the motivation for all that we do. Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Edification without love is simply loud noise. Faith and knowledge are nothing is love is not present. Sacrifice is vain when love is absent. The church at Corinth needed to know the importance of love in all their actions. They also needed to know what love looks like on a practical level.

Paul’s portrait of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is mesmerizing. He viewed love as patient and kind. Love is not arrogant and does not insist on its own way. Love was exactly what the church in Corinth needed in order to overcome division, jealousy, and pride.

Love must reign in the heart of every Christian. The church in Corinth had lost their way. They failed to pursue love and sinful behavior began to dominate them. Paul’s letter to them reminds us of how essential love is. It reminds us that we should be pursuing love in all things. Jay Taylor