1 Corinthians hits on many themes and topics throughout the letter. This makes it an invaluable handbook for the modern church as many of its lessons are still applicable to today. Paul begins by discussing the divisions within the church and then lays out instruction on several areas that are causing the divisions.
While 1 Corinthians 13 as often used on its own – at weddings in particular – its worth noting that it occurs within the section on public worship. This should give better context as to what Paul means when he speaks on love.
1 Corinthians 1-4: Divisions within the church
1 Corinthians 5-6: Immorality within the church
1 Corinthians 5: Lax church discipline
1 Corinthians 6: Lawsuits among believers
1 Corinthians 6: Sexual immorality
1 Corinthians 7: Instructions on marriage
1 Corinthians 8-10: Instructions on questionable practices
1 Corinthians 11-14: Proper public worship
1 Corinthians 11: Propriety in worship
1 Corinthians 12-14: Spiritual gifts
1 Corinthians 13: Spiritual gifts must be used with love
1 Corinthians 14: Proper use of spiritual gifts in public
1 Corinthians 15: Instructions on the resurrection
1 Corinthians 16: Conclusion