Friendly Bible Study from Yearly Meeting 2016

John McCormick prepared a Bible study on a well-known verse for one of the Summer School sessions at Yearly Meeting. The questions for consideration gave several Friends who knew the verse a new perspective on it and on themselves.

It is reproduced below so you can share in Yearly Meeting 2016 wherever you are.


The Scripture

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

New International Version (NIV)

 13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


1 Corinthians 13:1 Or languages

1 Corinthians 13:3 Some manuscripts body to the flames

Holy Bible. New International Version. NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.


The Friendly Bible Study Process


  • Select a facilitator who will be able to guide the group through the process.
  • Begin with a short silence.
  • Someone could read the text to the group.
  • Then, each person spends a short time (up to 10 minutes) re-reading the text (two or three times) and answering the Friendly Bible Study Questions for themselves (- they should write their responses down).
  • When everyone is ready begin with a short silence.
  • Take each question in turn. Go round the group. Each member shares their contribution unless they pass. Remember: each speaks into the safe space of silence that you collectively create. There is no direct discussion – simply share and move on to the next question.
  • Conclude with a short silence. The facilitator brings this to an end by a sign such as thanking the group or with the shaking of hands.

Friendly Bible Study Questions

1. Main point

 What is the author’s main point in this passage?

 2. New Light

What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage?

  1. Truth

Is this passage true to my experience?

  1. Implications

What are the implications of this passage for my life?

  1. Problems

What problems do I have with this passage?

 This approach is based on a booklet by Joanne and Larry Spears called Friendly Bible Study. The text is available at (Accessed 19 July 2006.)

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