For the final three weeks of this semester, we’ll be starting a discussion on Christian virtues. During these weeks, we’ll be asking questions like: What does it mean to be a virtuous person? How does being virtuous relate to following Christ? and How does virtue help me actually live in a modern world like today. This week, we’ll be looking at the first of the theological virtues: charity, also known as caritas, or Christian love.
What is one of the craziest/silliest things you ever did for love?
1 Corinthians 13; John 15:12-13
- What does it meant to love someone/something?
Read 1 Corinthians 13.
- In your own words, what is the main message of this passage?
- How is the definition of love laid out here different than how our culture often defines love?
- Do you see this sort of love exemplified in the Christian community? If yes, where? If no, what do you see instead?
Read John 15:12-13.
- How does Christ’s definition of love relate to the one spelled out above?
- Both of these passages use the Greco-Christian term agape as their word for love. This word was unique in the Greek world. This term was latter translated to Latin as caritas, and is translated into English as charity or Christian love. How is the concept of “Christian love” or “agape love” different from other types of love?
- Wow would you describe the relationship between love and actions in these passages? How are they related? How are they distinct?
Diving Deeper: Love As ThE FOUNT OF VIRTUE
Read the following quote by Lisa Fullam:
“Virtues are good habits of character that are conducive to human flourishing, individually and communally, and out of those good habits we tend by and large to do morally right actions, and thereby become better, more virtuous people overall. Vices, by contrast, are traits of character that are harmful to us and to our communities, and they tend to be manifested in wrong acts, by which our character gets worse overall. As we grow in virtue, doing right actions becomes easier and feels more natural to us, because the virtue has become more deeply rooted in our character.”
- How do you understand the concept of virtue and vice? Do you think this concept is a helpful way to approach the moral dilemmas of life?
- Christian theologians have long talked about love as the “fount” of the other virtues. Thinking back to the discussion of 1 Corinthians 13. Do you agree with this? Why/ why not?
- How would a “agape-first” approach to contemporary ethical issues change how we approach them?
Love, the Sum of All Virtue by Jonathan Edwards