Series: Fanning the Flames of Romance


I Corinthians 13: 1-7


Sex and love has become a billion dollar industry in our society. Sex sells and sells well, and advertisers fully realize its value. A hit movie several years ago known as Indecent Proposa, starred renown Hollywood actor Robert Redford who portrayed a wealthy businessman who made an indecent proposal, at least considered indecent proposal by some. Redford’s character offered one million dollars to the wife of another man if she would agree to a one-night tryst. The movie explored the acceptability of such a notion and in so doing revealed the true character of many Americans today.

Of course, the biblical view of love is considered by the whole of our society as antiquated at best and not relevant for modern man. The Corinthians had a distorted view of love and marriage as well. One group of new believers was led to believe that sex in marriage was, in fact, an enemy of spiritual growth. They rationalized that since God was spiritual rather than material in nature that any arena of life which had contact with the material was at war with the spiritual. Some concluded that celibacy within marriage was an acceptable method to pursue a closer union with God. In contrast, others were sexually permissive and viewed their behavior as inconsequential since God was solely interested in matters of spirituality. The negative effect upon the institution of love and marriage is obvious.

The Corinthians were known for their factions, immorality, incest, continual lawsuits against one another, drunkenness, and a distorted use of the spiritual gifts. Surveys have revealed that women in our society dream most of a romantic love affair with their husbands! Paul’s beautiful words in chapter 13 reveal the elements of personal character which are the ingredients for such an experience. Notice in these verses that the single ingredient of love comes in many colors and is the stuff of which God-honoring love affairs are made.


A dynamic and deep-rooted faith in God with the accompanying gentility which Jesus deposits in our hearts is the stuff of which love is made. As Jesus floods our hearts with Himself, we begin to respond to our mates and to others in a compassionate manner which defies description. It is the expression of that love that is the genuine proof of our spirituality and which gives full meaning to our love. In these verses, Paul offers three truths:

  1. Spirituality without love is offensive – like a “clanging cymbal” (v. 1).