The necessity of love is shown, 1Co 13:1 - 3. The nature and properties,
1Co 13:4 - 7. The duration of it, 1Co 13:8 - 13
1 Though I speak with all the tongues - Which are upon earth,
and with the eloquence of an angel. And have not love - The love of God,
and of all mankind for his sake, I am no better before God than the sounding
instruments of brass, used in the worship of some of the heathen gods.
Or a tinkling cymbal - This was made of two pieces of hollow brass, which,
being struck together, made a tinkling, but very little variety of sound.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy - Of foretelling future
events. And understand all the mysteries - Both of God's word and providence.
And all knowledge - Of things divine and human, that ever any mortal attained
to. And though I have the highest degree of miracle working faith, and
have not this love, I am nothing.
3 And though I - Deliberately, piece by piece. Give all my goods
to feed the poor, yea, though I deliver up my body to be burned - Rather
than I would renounce my religion. And have not the love - Hereafter described.
It profiteth me nothing - Without this, whatever I speak, whatever I have,
whatever I know, whatever I do, whatever I suffer, is nothing.
4 The love of God, and of our neighbour for God's sake, is patient
toward, all men. It, suffers all the weakness, ignorance, errors, and infirmities
of the children of God; all the malice and wickedness of the children of
the world: and all this, not only for a time, but to the end. And in every
step toward overcoming evil with good, it is kind, soft, mild, benign.
It inspires the sufferer at once with the most amiable sweetness, and the
most fervent and tender affection. Love acteth not rashly - Does not hastily
condemn any one; never passes a severe sentence on a slight or sudden view
of things. Nor does it ever act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or
precipitate manner. Is not puffed up - Yea, humbles the soul to the dust.
5 It doth not behave indecently - Is not rude, or willingly offensive,
to any. It renders to all their due - Suitable to time, person, and all
other circumstances. Seeketh not her own - Ease, pleasure, honour, or temporal
advantage. Nay, sometimes the lover of mankind seeketh not, in some sense,
even his own spiritual advantage; does not think of himself, so long as
a zeal for the glory of God and the souls of men swallows him up. But,
though he is all on fire for these ends, yet he is not provoked to sharpness
or unkindness toward any one. Outward provocations indeed will frequently
occur; but he triumphs over all. Love thinketh no evil - Indeed it cannot
but see and hear evil things, and know that they are so; but it does not
willingly think evil of any; neither infer evil where it does not appear.
It tears up, root and branch, all imagining of what we have not proof.
It casts out all jealousies, all evil surmises, all readiness to believe
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity - Yea, weeps at either the sin or
folly of even an enemy; takes no pleasure in hearing or in repeating it,
but desires it may be forgotten for ever. But rejoiceth in the truth -
Bringing forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart and life. Good in general
is its glory and joy, wherever diffused in all the world.
7 Love covereth all things - Whatever evil the lover of mankind
sees, hears, or knows of any one, he mentions it to none; it never goes
out of his lips, unless where absolute duty constrains to speak. Believeth
all things - Puts the most favourable construction on everything, and is
ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one character.
And when it can no longer believe well, it hopes whatever may excuse or
extenuate the fault which cannot be denied. Where it cannot even excuse,
it hopes God will at length give repentance unto life. Meantime it endureth
all things - Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men can
inflict. He can not only do, but likewise suffer, all things, through Christ
who strengtheneth him.
8 Love never faileth - It accompanies to, and adorns us in, eternity;
it prepares us for, and constitutes, heaven. But whether there be prophecies,
they shall fail - When all things are fulfilled, and God is all in all.
Whether there be tongues, they shall cease - One language shall prevail
among all the inhabitants of heaven, and the low and imperfect languages
of earth be forgotten. The knowledge likewise which we now so eagerly pursue,
shall then vanish away - As starlight is lost in that of the midday sun,
so our present knowledge in the light of eternity.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part - The wisest of
men have here but short, narrow, imperfect conceptions, even of the things
round about them, and much more of the deep things of God. And even the
prophecies which men deliver from God are far from taking in the whole
of future events, or of that wisdom and knowledge of God which is treasured
up in the scripture revelation.
10 But when that which is perfect is come - At death and in the
last day. That which is in part shall vanish away - Both that poor, low,
imperfect, glimmering light, which is all the knowledge we now can attain
to; and these slow and unsatisfactory methods of attaining, as well as
of imparting it to others.
11 In our present state we are mere infants in point of knowledge,
compared to what we shall be hereafter. I put away childish things - Of
my own accord, willingly, without trouble.
12 Now we see - Even the things that surround us. But by means
of a glass - Or mirror, which reflects only their imperfect forms, in a
dim, faint, obscure manner; so that our thoughts about them are puzzling
and intricate, and everything is a kind of riddle to us. But then - We
shall see, not a faint reflection, but the objects themselves. Face to
face - Distinctly. Now I know in part - Even when God himself reveals things
to me, great part of them is still kept under the veil. But then I shall
know even as also I am known - In a clear, full, comprehensive manner;
in some measure like God, who penetrates the centre of every object, and
sees at one glance through my soul and all things.
13 Faith, hope, love - Are the sum of perfection on earth; love
alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.