Some things become cliché because they’re the right thing to do. It may be cliché for a man to buy flowers for his wife on Valentine’s Day, but he should still do it.
If someone asks you, “what does the Bible say about love?”, what’s the first passage that comes to your mind? The cliché answer would be 1 Corinthians 13. But is there a better place to start? I think not.
For a couple weeks we’ll look at this passage and see what God thinks of love, and what he thinks of those who disregard it.
But before we know anything else about 1 Corinthians 13, we must know that this is not mushy-gushy stuff found in a Hallmark card. These verses are so familiar that we forget that this passage is a corrective! Paul says what he says in order to get in the face of the Corinthians.
The Corinthian church was messy. They loved things that looked spectacular while tolerating things that needed extraction. They thought too highly of flashy gifts, and they had forgotten the basics.
So Paul includes this beautiful section of his letter to engage in some confrontation.
This is love with teeth. It’s biblical love that reigns supreme among the virtues. This is the love God requires, because if it’s absent, then all our efforts are in vain.
First Corinthians 13 is about love, but it’s tough love.