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The Gift of Love


If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 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. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

He now proves that prophecy, and other gifts of that nature, are done away, 798798     “Seront un iour abolis;” — “Will one day be done away.” because they are conferred upon us to help our infirmity. Now our imperfection will one day have an end. Hence the use, even of those gifts, will, at the same time, be discontinued, for it were absurd that they should remain and be of no use. They will, therefore, perish. This subject he pursues to the end of the chapter.

9. We know in part This passage is misinterpreted by most persons, as if it meant that our knowledge, and in like manner our prophecy, is not yet perfect, but that we are daily making progress in them. Paul’s meaning, however, is — that it is owing to our imperfection that we at present have knowledge and prophecy. Hence the phrase in part means — “Because we are not yet perfect.” Knowledge and prophecy, therefore, have place among us so long as that imperfection cleaves to us, to which they are helps. It is true, indeed, that we ought to make progress during our whole life, and that everything that we have is merely begun. Let us observe, however, what Paul designs to prove — that the gifts in question are but temporary. Now he proves this from the circumstance, that the advantage of them is only for a time — so long as we aim at the mark by making progress every day.

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