1 Corinthians 13:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13, ESV: "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13, KJV: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB: "But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT: "Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13, CSB: "Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love--but the greatest of these is love."

What does 1 Corinthians 13:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Here is yet another infamous verse of Scripture, often quoted, printed, and sung in the modern world. With this phrase, Paul wraps up this section explaining why godly, self-sacrificing love is required to fully express spiritual gifts. He concludes by mentioning love again with two other virtues often listed with it: faith and hope. Together, these three virtues "abide" or "remain." Perhaps Paul means that, as is the case with love, faith and hope will continue into eternity after the need for spiritual gifts has long since passed.

Faith is essential to Christianity. Only by faith in Christ is it possible to come into relationship with God, at all. In a similar way, hope is the Christian conviction that God will keep His promises about the future. Without faith and hope, Christianity does not make sense. They are built in.

Still, Paul insists that love is greater even than these two bedrock virtues. It will abide, in a sense, even after our faith has become sight and our hope in eternity has been fully realized.

Paul's bottom line in this chapter is that, of course, faith and hope are far more important than spiritual gifts and love is greater even than faith and hope. Spiritual gifts are essential for the church to grow, but the Corinthians had put too much emphasis on them as evidence of personal glory or achievement. The gifts must be applied with love, or they become meaningless or even destructive.