1 Corinthians 13:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV: Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:8, ESV: Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:8, KJV: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:8, NASB: Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with.

1 Corinthians 13:8, NLT: Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

1 Corinthians 13:8, CSB: Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

What does 1 Corinthians 13:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul ends his description of God's kind of love, using the Greek term agape. This is an unselfish, sacrificial, active love, different from romantic or brotherly love, which use the terms eros and phileo, respectively. Wrapping up this section, Paul introduces a statement that may make believers feel it is truly impossible to love as God does, after all: Love never fails.

However, the truth of this statement does not mean no human can ever love as Christ does. It is true that believers will sometimes fail to love. When we do choose to love in this selfless, sacrificing way, love will not fail to be effective. One person's choice to love, selflessly, never fails to build up the church in a powerful way.

The other way in which love never fails is that love is eternal. Selfless love will continue in the Lord and in His people forever. It is absolutely the way we will live in relationship with each other in eternity. Examples of selfless love in the present are glimpses of the normal state of things in eternity.

This is not true of the spiritual gifts, Paul says. The gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge will all pass away. By this, Paul means that eventually these gifts will not be needed.

Some Christians believe that the time for these specific three gifts has mostly come to an end already, that they were intended by God to help establish the church and show that the message of the gospel was from Him. All Christians understand that at the end of time, when we live with God in person (Revelation 21:1–5), there will be no need for these gifts. They exist only in human history for a limited time and purpose.

God's love, though, and our reflection of it to each other, will go on endlessly.