Love alone can give value to any service rendered in Christ’s name, and it is therefore the supreme gift of the Spirit, to be coveted and prayed for above all others. Faith trusts and appropriates, hope expects, but love expresses Christ and blesses men.
I Corinthians 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.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I Corinthians 13 Intro- J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 13:1-3 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 13:4-7 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 13:8-13 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – The One Essential for All
With what wonder his amanuensis must have looked up, as the Apostle broke into this exquisite sonnet on love! His radiant spirit had caught a glimpse of the living Savior. Jesus sits for His portrait in these glowing sentences, and of Him every clause is true. Substitute His name for love throughout the chapter, and say whether it is not an exact likeness. With Paul love stands for that strong, sustained, and holy subordination of self for others, which begins in will and act and is afterward suffused by emotion, as a cloud lying in the pathway of the rising sun. But if you want the divine love, you must get it after the manner of the bay which opens its bosom to the incoming tide. God is love, and if you would love, you must abide in Him and He in you. Love is better than miracles, gifts, or philanthropy, I Corinthians 13:1-3. Love is the parent of all that is most delightful in the moral sphere, I Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is the best of all, because it is eternal. All else will perish. Our highest attainments will be as the babblings and playthings of childhood. But when we are in touch with the reality of things, love will be all in all. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Corinthians 13:13—The greatest of these is charity.
What a light must have shone on the apostle’s face as he broke into this exquisite idyll, this perfect poem of love! The change in tone and rhythm must have caused his amanuensis to look suddenly up into his master’s face, and lo! it was as the face of an angel. Why is love greatest?
Because it is the crown of the other two, and includes them.—Faith is the root; hope is the stem; love the perfect flower. You may have faith without hope, and hope without love; but you cannot have love apart from faith and hope.
Because it is likest God.—God’s nature is not specially characterised by faith, because there is no uncertainty with his perfect knowledge; nor by hope, because there is no future to his eternal existence. But God is love; and to love is to resemble Him.
Because it will immeasurably outlast the other two.—Human knowledge, at best but the spellings of babes, will vanish in the perfect light of heaven. Eloquence will seem like the lispings of infancy. Prophecies will have no place, because all the landscape of the future will be revealed. Faith and hope will be lost in realization. Love only is for ever.
Because love brings the purest rapture.—“Where is heaven?” asked a wealthy Christian of his minister. “I will tell you where it is,” was the quick reply “if you will go to the store, and buy £10 worth of provisions and necessaries, and take them to that poor widow on the hillside, who has three of her children sick. She is poor, and a member of the Church. Take a nurse, and some one to cook the food. When you get there, read the twenty-third Psalm, and kneel by her side and pray. Then you will find out where heaven is.” —Our Daily Homily