1 Corinthians 13

The Word Made Fresh

1Even if I could speak the languages of mortals and angels, if I don’t have love I’m nothing more than a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. 2And if I have the gift of prophesy and can understand mysteries and command all kinds of knowledge, and if I have such faith as to be able to move mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away everything I own and surrender my body to be burned, but don’t have love, I have accomplished nothing.

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or arrogant or rude. 5Love doesn’t insist on its own way, and is never irritable or resentful. 6It doesn’t applaud evildoing, but instead applauds truth telling. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

8Love never fails. Prophesies will come to an end; tongues will be silenced; knowledge will pass away. 9After all, we only partially know things, and we can only prophesy in part, 10but when that which is complete comes, the incomplete things will pass away.

11When I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult I left those childish things behind. 12We only see things dimly now, as though we were looking in a mirror, but the time is coming when we shall see face to face. We only partially know things now, but then we will know as completely as we are known. 13But these three things – faith, hope, and love – dwell together, and the greatest of these is love.


1-13: Faith, hope, and love are often referred to as the theological or spiritual virtues, which, added to the four “cardinal” virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and courage from classical literature comprise the so-called “seven catholic virtues,” referred to in the writings of some of the earliest leaders of the Church (the so-called “Church Fathers”). Other than that observation I can add nothing to this most beautiful presentation.


Love is the hallmark of the Christian life. It’s easy to hate. Anybody can hate. But to love means to be willing to lay aside our own desires and hopes for a time so that we can strive for the wellbeing of others. If everyone lived like that, what a wonderful world it would be.