1 Corinthians 13:13 is a famous Bible verse that is often quoted in discussions about love, faith, and hope. It reads:
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (KJV)
This verse is part of a larger passage in 1 Corinthians 13, which is often referred to as the “love chapter” because it describes the importance of love in the Christian life.
At first glance, this verse may seem straightforward – it lists faith, hope, and charity (or love) as three important aspects of the Christian life. But what does it mean for charity to be the greatest of these?
In order to understand the meaning of this verse, it is helpful to look at the context in which it was written. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth to address some of the issues they were facing. One of these issues was a lack of love and unity within the church. Paul wrote this chapter to emphasize the importance of love in the Christian life, and to encourage the Corinthians to pursue love in all that they did.
The word translated as “charity” in the King James Version is the Greek word “agape”, which is often used in the New Testament to describe the kind of love that God has for humanity. This is a selfless, sacrificial love that seeks the good of others above oneself.
So when Paul says that the greatest of these is charity, he is saying that love is the most important of the three qualities he has listed. This is because love is the foundation for all that we do as Christians. Without love, our faith and hope are empty and meaningless.
In fact, Paul goes on to say in the next verse (1 Corinthians 13:14) that “love never fails”. Faith and hope may falter or fade, but love is a constant, enduring quality that will always remain.
This is a powerful message for Christians to remember. It can be easy to get caught up in the intellectual or theological aspects of our faith, or to focus solely on achieving certain goals or outcomes. But if we do not have love at the center of all that we do, then we have missed the point.
Furthermore, this verse reminds us that love is not just a feeling or emotion – it is a choice that we must make daily. We must choose to love others, even when it is difficult or inconvenient. We must choose to put their needs ahead of our own, just as God has done for us.
In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 13:13 is a powerful reminder of the importance of love in the Christian life. Faith and hope are important, but love is the greatest of all. As we seek to live out our faith, may we always remember to prioritize love and to let it guide our thoughts, words, and actions.