1st Corinthians 13:1,2,8,13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity(love). (KJV)-
Compare Verse 13 from the English Standard Version “But now we still have faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love”.
This whole chapter is a contrast between God’s kind of love and the gifts of the Spirit. Paul shows the temporariness of the gifts and the eternalness of love, to elevate the position of love. Now he states that faith, hope, and love will abide throughout eternity, but the greatest of these three is God’s kind of love.
Some people have taken statements like this one in 1st Corinthians 13:13, and rejected faith and hope, or at least attributed them to immature Christians. That is not so. Without faith it is impossible to please God as Hebrews 11:6 says: “But without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”, and our faith is linked to our hope. These are powerful forces that will still be in operation through- out eternity. But God’s kind of love is even greater.
Paul is making this comparison because no one who is thinking clearly would discard faith and hope. They would understand that he was not putting them down but lifting love up. Likewise, Paul is not discrediting the gifts of the Spirit, but is stressing that operating the gifts of the Spirit in love is superior to operating them carnally.
Glory to God!
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