School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Theological Studies (MTS)


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

Vincent Smiles

Subject Categories

Biblical Studies | Catholic Studies | Religion


In this paper, I discuss the role and characteristics of Love in 1 Corinthians 13. Before going into detailed treatment of this topic, I sought to clarify why Paul writes this letter, and the coherent unity of the letter. I also recognize that it is necessary to clarify the term ‘Love’ in the context of First Corinthians. It is equally important to discern the thematic weight and the position of chapter 13 in the context of the whole epistle. I utilize the structural criticism which considers the chapter in question as the central part of the ‘sandwiched’ construction between chapters 12 and 14. Chapter 12 outlines the principal importance of the various gifts: while chapter 14 articulates the phenomenon of tongues and the relationship to transmitting the Word into the world. In considering the central theme of the paper, I seek to explore the indispensable role of ‘Love’ among other essential Spiritual gifts; without Love, Faith and Hope and Good works are of empty significance. My inquiry into this topic led me to the inevitable analyzing and discussing the characteristics of Love. It is interesting to note that there is a structural, internal technique utilized by Paul. It can be deduced that he used a particular system of combining two positives, eight negatives, and then five more favorable terms to do justice to the concept of Love. In the final part of the exposition, I concentrate on expounding the eternal nature of Love and its surpassing quality compared to other gifts of the Spirit. After analyzing the role and nature of Love in the central section of my analysis, I mention the position of 1 Corinthians 13 in the Church’s current life, especially in Pope Francis’s teachings. Specifically, it is my purpose to shed light upon the concept of Love from a modern Christian literary/theological point of view. Ultimately, I was able to develop a basis of New Testament understanding and find important resonance within the primary theme and internal thought of 1 Cor. 13 and two recent Apostolic documents: Amoris Laetitia and Fratelli Tutti.



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