This verse is part of a larger passage in which the apostle Paul is describing the importance of love in the Christian life. In this passage, Paul contrasts the temporary and imperfect nature of many spiritual gifts and abilities with the enduring and transformative power of love.
The first part of the verse, "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love," identifies three important virtues that are central to the Christian life. Faith refers to our trust in God, hope refers to our confident expectation of God's promises, and love refers to our selfless, sacrificial love for others. These three virtues are often seen as the foundation of the Christian life, and they are all interconnected, with love being the ultimate expression and culmination of both faith and hope.
The second part of the verse, "But the greatest of these is love," emphasizes the supreme importance of love in the Christian life. According to Paul, love is not just an important virtue, but the greatest of all virtues, surpassing even faith and hope in its significance. This is because love is not just an emotion or feeling, but an active choice to put the needs and interests of others ahead of our own. Love is the ultimate expression of the Christian life, as it reflects the very nature of God, who is love.
- The verse emphasizes the importance of love in the Christian life. Love is not just one of many virtues that we should strive to cultivate, but rather the most important and essential virtue of all. This is because love is what enables us to truly reflect the nature of God, who is love, and to live out the Gospel in our daily lives.
- It highlights the interconnected nature of faith, hope, and love. While love is the greatest of these virtues, it is not separate from faith and hope, but rather builds upon them. Faith gives us the foundation to believe in the promises of God, hope gives us the confidence to trust in those promises, and love gives us the motivation to live out those promises in our daily lives.
- It also reminds us that these three virtues are enduring and will remain even when other things in our lives fade away. This is an important reminder that the things we often place the most value on - such as wealth, power, and status - are temporary and will ultimately fade away, but the virtues of faith, hope, and love will endure forever.
Overall, 1 Corinthians 13:13 is a powerful reminder of the importance of faith, hope, and love in the Christian life, and of the central role that love plays in our relationship with God and others. It encourages us to cultivate these virtues in our own lives, to put love at the center of all that we do, and to recognize the transformative power of love in our own lives and in the world around us.
1 Corinthians 13:13. Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.