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The greatest of all

Read: 1 Corinthians 13

This is one of the best known passages of Scripture on three things that last: faith, hope and love.  Have you ever considered this passage through the lens of virtue and your character?   All three, in fact, fit our definition of virtue as stable dispositional clusters concerned with praiseworthy functioning in significant and distinctive spheres of human life’.

All three carry the characteristics of how virtue shapes our character.  They shape our attention.  They bend our will.  They change our emotions.  The determine our desires.  They influence our expression.

All three bear the good fruits of virtue.  They enable us to flourish. They help us perform better.  They improve the world around us.  They are marks of Christian discipleship which, as the text reminds us, give meaning to everything else.

But let us come back to the text, with a special focus on love which is its main subject.   And what Paul does is to break down the virtue of love into other virtues and/or absence of vice.  Read the text now and match verses with the following ethical list:

  • Patience _______________
  • Goodness _______________
  • Jealousy _______________
  • Vainglory _______________
  • Honour of others _______________
  • Selflessness and generosity_______________
  • Bitterness _______________
  • Criticism _______________
  • Justice  _______________
  • Truthfulness _______________

There are other virtues in 1 Corinthians that are intentionally not included in this list. Can you find them on your own?

A prayer:  Lord grant me love. May I not be a resounding gong without it.  May I be something because I have it. May I gain something because I give it.


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