As the great line of one of John Denver’s songs puts it, “If love never lasts forever, then what’s forever for?” What is eternity for? For agape and nothing else. Eternalize anything else and you spoil it. Even the natural loves eventually spoil. Affection becomes cloying. Eros becomes a drug requiring ever-increasing doses of perversions to ward off the boredom. Even friendship finds rocks to founder on, for though its sea is immense, it has shores.
Paul announces the absolute exception when he tells us in three simple but astonishing and revolutionary words: “Agape never ends.” “Luv” ends, but love never ends. “I shall love you forever” usually means about two months. A billion promises, and only agape’s are not broken. As C. S. Lewis says in The Four Loves, eros makes promises but agape keeps them.
Do you agree with the quote above? Why or why not? How is Agapes eternal nature different than the other forms of love?
What does this text mean for the christian's future?
13:8 contains the often quoted phrase, Love never fails. But when we read the original text it is, love never ends. How does this change your perspective of the gift?
What are the practical implications of love never ending? How does this reorient your christian priorities and endeavors?
It seems Paul has in mind the eternal endurance of love in contrast to the temporal nature of spiritual gifts. What three gifts does Paul reference in 13:8? Why would he choose these three for the Corinthian church? Compare 1 Cor 12:8 to understand the third of these gifts.