1 Corinthians 13

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Chapter 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, written by Paul the apostle covers the subject of love, principally the love that Christians should have for everyone. In the original Greek, the word αγαπη agape is used throughout. This is translated into English as charity in the King James version; but the word love is preferred by most other translations, both earlier and more recent.

Historical and literary context

1 Many today assume Paul was talking about marriage in this passage, but Paul was addressing a church conflict and used the term "agape" (brotherly love or charity) rather than "eros" (romantic love). The believers in Corinth had split into factions and were competing for prestige and influence, and Corinthians stresses the importance of unity and brotherly love within the church. We see echoes of this Corinthian conflict throughout the letter, but especially in chapters 12 and 14, which surround this passage. Corinthians illuminates the early church's efforts to define itself, not only in terms of doctrine, but also allegiance to spiritual leaders such as Peter, Paul, Apollos and Jesus.Latourette, Kenneth Scott, A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500, p. 114, © 1975 Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., ISBN 0-06-064952-6 A significant portion of the preceding chapter (1 Corinthians 12:1-10) focuses on the issue of spiritual gifts, and there appear to have been...
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