Main point summary
Exercising spiritual gifts is worthless without love because love has the crucial quality of seeking the good of others and, while these gifts are only temporary, we will always be called to love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
If I am able to miraculously speak human languages or even angelic ones,
but have not love,
but do so in a way that is not loving towards others,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
my speech is distracting and even unhelpful.
And if I have a prophetic powers,
Also, if I am able to hear from God and share it with others,
and understand all mysteries
and am able to understand all the mysteries that God has kept hidden from us,
and all knowledge,
and have all so-called “knowledge,”
and if I have all faith,
and if I have such powerful trust in God,
b so as to remove mountains,
that I can ask him to move a mountain and he will do it,
but have not love,
but don’t exercise all of these gifts in a way that loves others,
I am nothing.
I am worthless.
c If I give away all I have,
Also, if I am so generous as to give all that I have to the poor,
and d if I deliver up my body to be burned, 1
and am so steadfast in my faith that I continue to confess Jesus even though I am burned for it,
but have not love,
but do these things for myself and not out of love (for others and for God),
I gain nothing.
then I make these sacrifices in vain.
e Love is patient and f kind;
To show why love is crucial, I will show you how love seeks the good of others : it is patient with others, not expecting them to change overnight, and does acts of kindness for others;
love g does not envy or boast;
loving someone means that will not envy them or brag about how you are better than them;
it h is not arrogant or rude.
it means not thinking you are better than others or disrespecting others;
It i does not insist on its own way;
it means not requiring others to bend to your will;
it j is not irritable or resentful; 1
it means not getting angered easily or holding a grudge;
it k does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
it also means not being pleased by unrighteousness;
but l rejoices with the truth.
rather it means being pleased when the truth is believed and practiced.
m Love bears all things,
Here is a mantra for you to take to heart: love is willing to go through hard things when helping others,
believes all things,
believes the best about others,
hopes all things,
is hopeful about others (e.g., that they will continue in sanctification),
e endures all things.
and is long suffering with others.
Love never ends.
We will always be called to love others.
As for prophecies, they will pass away;
But prophecy is going to end;
as for tongues, they will cease;
and tongues are going to go away;
as for knowledge, it will pass away.
and knowledge will also end.
For n we know in part
They will go away because we currently have limited ability to discern knowledge about God
and we prophesy in part,
and we have limited ability to discern God’s words to us and share them with others, i.e., prophecy.
but o when the perfect comes,
However, when Jesus comes we will know perfectly and discern and speak God’s words perfectly;
the partial will pass away.
at this point we will no longer need the gifts of knowledge and prophecy.
When I was a child,
To make a comparison , when I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I used childish speech,
I thought like a child,
and I thought childish thoughts,
I reasoned like a child.
and I reasoned in a childish way.
When I became a man,
But when I grew up to become a man,
I gave up childish ways.
I gave up these childish ways of doing things.
For p now we see in a mirror dimly,
Specifically, with regard to our relationship with God , in this age (before Jesus comes back) our ability to interact with God is limited;
but q then face to face.
but in the new age (which starts when Jesus returns) we will have face to face contact with him.
Now I know in part;
And in this age our knowledge of him is limited;
then I shall know fully,
but in the new age, we will have complete knowledge of him,
even as r I have been fully known.
even as he has complete knowledge of us all along.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
To summarize my point, three things are paramount in the Christian life: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of these is love.
however , love is the greatest of these virtues.
Loveless speaking in tongues is distracting and unhelpful.
Someone who has the gift of prophecy and the gift of faith without love is useless.
When I was a child I did childish things. But when I became a man, I didn’t need these childish things anymore.
Now we have a limited contact with and knowledge of God. But in the next age we will have face-to-face contact and full knowledge.
Spiritual gifts are worthless without love.
A great sacrifice is worth nothing if it is not done in love.
Powerful spiritual gifts and great acts of sacrifice are worthless without love.
Love means doing good to others rather than being selfish.
Loving others means rejoicing when they do right and mourning when they do wrong.
Loving someone means sticking with them through thick and thin, thinking the best about them, and being optimistic.
Love is a set of actions we do for others and includes putting others ahead of ourselves, speaking the truth with people, and bearing with people through challenging times.
Love seeks the good of others (as opposed to gifts which can be wrongly used to only benefit ourselves) and will last forever (as opposed to gifts, which are temporary).
Love lasts forever, but gifts such as prophecy and tongues are for this age only.
Exercising spiritual gifts is worthless without love because while these gifts are only temporary, we will always be called to love.
When Jesus comes back we will no longer need the temporary gifts.
When Jesus comes back, we won’t need prophesy any more.
Knowledge in the gnostic sense. Paul often uses “knowledge” in this sense in 1 Corinthians (see Davids, NIGTC).