ICE BREAKER: If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?
REFLECT: In your own words what does it mean that “Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:8 a) ?
The statement “love never fails” comes from the best-known chapter in the Bible on love, the chapter we have been in for fifteen weeks, 1 Corinthians 13 . Among its many quoted phrases is a portion of verse 8, “Love never ends.”
Some versions translate it as, “Love never fails”. The English Standard Version adds to our understanding of these words by translating them as “Love never ends.” The next sentence contrasts love with other spiritual gifts: “As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are all temporary. Not so with love. Because love is a basic attribute of God (read 1 John 4:8 ) and because God is eternal, love will also be eternal. Love will never end.
REFLECT: The remainder of verse 8 includes these words: ends, pass away, cease, and pass away. Why do you think Paul uses these words? When will “they” end – “they will pass” and why will “they” end – “they will pass” ? Look at verse 9 for the answer.
Scripture reveals God’s eternal love for us, a love that never fails. God chose us (John 17:24 ; Ephesians 1:4-5 ), died for us (Romans 5:8 ) , and will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5 ). Please take a moment to read the prior verse references. In fact, nothing at all can separate us from God’s eternal love: “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 –39).
REFLECT: How does it make you feel to know that God’s love never fails? In what way(s) could a Christian take advantage of a love like this? How can we keep from doing that?
The Greek word translated “fails” in the NIV is related to a verb meaning “to fall.” By saying, “Love never fails,” the Bible [NIV] means that God’s type of love will not fall or falter. It is constant forever. As God says in Jeremiah 31:3 , “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
REFLECT: Pastor David’s last two points on Sunday were (1) Love is the reason for faith, and (2) Love is the source of hope. How does knowing that God’s love never ends grow our faith and increase our hope? How does this affect our personal evangelism?
The truth that love never fails is emphasized in some classical literature, too. During the famous balcony scene of the play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo begins to pledge his love for Juliet with these words: “Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear / That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops.” However, Juliet cuts him off: “O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, / That monthly changes in her circled orb, / Lest that thy love prove likewise variable” (II:ii). Juliet had it right. Love should not wax and wane; it should be steady and constant, a perpetual light in a dark world.
There is nothing mercurial (subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind) about God’s love. It is not based on whims, feelings, or passing fancies. Love is rock-solid, intent on benefitting the one loved, regardless of the cost. God’s love never fails, and it never ends.
REFLECT: When I meet with engaged couples for premarital coaching I always want them to share with each other their limit on what is forgivable and not forgivable in marriage. Some say that adultery is their “point of no return” and don’t know if they could forgive the offense. Everybody has a “point of no return” in relationships. What’s yours? How do you justify “Love never ends…” with your answer?
REFLECT: What one thing have you learned, changed, or has been challenged personally during this series in 1 Corinthians 13 ?
Adapted from: www.gotquestions.org