The Excellence of Love
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing.
3 If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.
5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.
6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].
7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete].
10 But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away.
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 did away with childish things.
12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].
13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (AMP)
- 1 Corinthians 13:1 i.e. a profound thoughtfulness and unselfish concern for other believers regardless of their circumstances or station in life.
- 1 Corinthians 13:3 Early mss read so that I may boast, i.e. as a martyr.