covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent
.1 ¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], 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.
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Have not charity Ability and action are not the way. It is to know
and to seek His character of love 1jo0408.
So a person can speak in tongues and be "nothing." Compare these three
verses to mt0721ff.
1 - Charity From agape, which is love based on principle rather than emotions, love which recognizes value in the person loved. See the word in jn1510, 1jn0409, 1jo0204.
2 - Prophecy A gift which is less sensational than tongues speaking discussed in the previous chapter. See 12:31 quoted at the left.
2 - Mysteries From musteria also mt1311, ro1125. Our mental abilities have become weakened is0609, jn1237, 2co0404.
2 - Have not charity Lucifer, even as Satan, has some of these gifts but uses them to destroy rather than to bless.
¶ 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.
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Suffereth long Or "is patient." A precious gift in a world of anger
and selfishness. It is especially important when being mistreated or persecuted
7 - Beareth all things We need to take a forgiving attitude without waiting for them to say they are sorry. See ep0432.
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.
- Through a glass darkly "in a mirror dimly" NASB. Technology of
mirrors in Paul's time was poor. Compare the partial knowledge of Job jb4203.
"the reflection seeming to the eye to be behind the mirror, so that we
see it through the mirror. Ancient mirrors were made of polished brass
or other metals. The contrast is between the inadequate knowledge of an
object gained by seeing it reflected in a dim mirror (such as ancient mirrors
were), compared with the perfect idea we have of it by seeing itself directly."
12 - But then When all is perfect, v10.
12 - Face to face Not simply by speaking "mouth to mouth." nu1208, ge3230.
12 - Know ... known In the Greek, fully know, fully known. 1co0803, ga0409. We need not worry about being able to recognize individual people in heaven.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity [love], these three; but the greatest
of these is charity.
ch.14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
- Abideth Carries the idea of permanence.
Faith, hope, charity Our relationships in heaven may be described as trust, expectation, and love.