2And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
3Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing.
4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it--it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.
6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.
8Love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away it will lose its value and be superseded by truth.
9For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
10But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
12For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God.
13And so faith, hope, love abide; faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Cor. 13, The Amplified Bible, Zondervan)
It almost seems presumptuous to make any of my own comments to follow one of the most often quoted and beloved passages of Scripture. I do enjoy reading passages in different versions or translations of the Bible from time to time just to get a new perspective or to "hear" something I may have missed in a familiar version.
Can we even imagine what it would be like to stand before the Lord on judgment day and hear Him say "you were a noisy gong and clanging symbol! Yes, you talked a lot about spiritual things, but you were so heavenly minded, you were no earthly good! Why didn't you share my love?"
And what about all those spiritual gifts we have, like prophesy (teaching), knowledge, faith? Elsewhere in the Bible a warning is given: "to whom much is given, much is required." (Luke 12:48)
Certainly we are called to do good works, like giving to the poor and needy. What is our attitude behind our giving? Do we serve to make ourselves feel better or look good, or because we truly love?
The rest of the verses tell us what love should look like. Are we patient and kind when the line is long at the grocery store? Or when that guy pulls out in front of us in traffic? (or do we "display ourselves haughtily"?)
And when was the last time we paid no attention when we wrongly suffered?
Are we rejoicing (publicly) with the truth or are we often afraid to be known as "one of them"?
How about this one: Are we willing and ready to believe the best of every person, or do we judge them far too quickly on limited information we might think we have?
Do we hold steadfast when life throws us a curveball, because we know that when we are full of God's love, we are able to endure without weakening?
Someday our spiritual gifts that were meant to be used in this life will all pass away. Everything we thought was of such great value will be superseded and replaced with truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth! Everything we know and everything we are is, for now, incomplete and imperfect. All of that will vanish someday and we will see things clearly! We will know and fully understand! And here's the part I really like and hold on to: "even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God." (Amp)
Our relationship with God will remain. Our eternal salvation will remain. Our love for God and man will remain. But of the three, love is the greatest!
HOW'S YOUR LOVE LIFE?