The church in Corinth was experiencing division and confusion, a problem that lay in absence of agape love. Paul writes this magnificent song of Christian love to humble the church and show us what really matters to God. Without Christ-like love, we are but noisy nuisances, our gifts are useless, and we gain nothing in the giving of our lives.
Love in the Local Church
Here we have one of the most familiar chapters in the New Testament. It appears so frequently on wedding bulletins, we may be tempted to believe it was penned for that purpose. It is only when we read it in the context of the surrounding chapters that we can understand and apply it correctly. The apostle was addressing a church that was vibrant but chaotic. As they tried to cover their division and confusion by an over-emphasis on the spectacular gifts, Paul shows them a better way.
This chapter presents a particular challenge to any outwardly successful church because its preoccupations may not be the same as God’s priorities.