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Essential Teachers notes:
This passage is so quoted and used it’s a key part of understanding the “love” theme that echoes through scripture. It is however rather abstract and this retelling used the instance of Paul writing it to frame the passage into a story.
Tell this story or a similar one of your choice from a favourite bible translation or story book. This version is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.
Main Passage : 1 Corinthians 13
Paul was in the midst of writing to all the people in Corinth about the gifts God could send them through his Holy Spirit when he suddenly stopped and threw his hands in the air. In all his talk about the great gifts and the way they all worked together, he’d forgotten the most important things of all… Love!
It didn’t matter if you had every gift God could give; if you didn’t have love then they were nothing, nadda, zip, diddlysquat, useless! Love was the thing that tied everything together.
But what kind of love. After all, there are many kinds. We may love chocolate or football, but we love our parents with a different kind of love. And God loves us with a love even greater than that. So, Paul tried to do the impossible: he tried to write out exactly what this “love” was.
Love is patient and kind.
It does not envy, boast or be rude.
Love thinks first of others and keeps no record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in brokenness but rejoices in the truth.
It holds all things, believes all things, hopes all things, suffers all things.
Love never, ever ends.
Paul sat back and read the long list of things about love. It was something he was still learning about. It was something too big for him to ever know everything about. It was like he could only see part of the picture. He described it as looking at a reflection in a dull mirror. He knew it was God’s love and he knew a lot about it, but the image was still blurry. His greatest wish was that one day he would see God’s love face to face, to discover what he already knew in part, but then to know fully.
Paul picked up his pen one last time for the day. He would stop after this and continue the letter tomorrow, but this last sentence needed adding:
Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—
but the greatest of these is love.