Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. . . . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Though we often hear 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, read to a beaming bride and nervous groom, Paul’s poetic words were originally written for a different kind of bride: the body of Christ, the church.

The little Corinthian church was struggling. And Paul’s singular purpose—now “I will show you the most excellent way . . .”—was to encourage these fragile believers to stick together, to love each other in spite of their struggles.

Like 1 Corinthians, most of Scripture was written not to individuals but to groups of believers: Romans in »

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