Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

Chapter 13

All gifts, 1, 2, however excellent, are worth nothing without charity, 3. The praises thereof, 4-12, and preferment before hope and faith, 13.

1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have charity, I have become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but do not have charity, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have charity, it profits me nothing.

4 Charity is patient and is kind. Charity does not envy. Charity does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, 5 Does not behave itself unseemly, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, 6 Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Charity never fails. But if there are prophecies, they shall fail. If there are languages, they shall cease. If there is knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am also known. 13 But now faith, hope, and charity endure—these three. But the greatest of these is charity.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13

Notes

[v.1] - "charity" - See comment for verse 13b.

[v.12] - "but then face to face" - Reference, Matthew 5:8; Revelation 22:4.

[v.13a] - "But now faith, hope, and charity endure" - Many things will perish, but faith, hope, and love are three things that will endure, that is, they will last; they will continue in the same state without perishing; they will remain; they will abide.

[v.13b] - "But the greatest of these is charity" - Charity—Greek: agape (ag-ah'-pay); Latin: caritas (kah-rih-tahs). Definition: In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. This is rooted in what Jesus gave as the greatest commandment: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40.

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