Faith, Hope, and Love: the Famous Bible Verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith Hope and Love
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For practicing Christians, the importance of faith, hope, and love as virtues has long been celebrated. These qualities are discussed individually at several point in Biblical scriptures, and for the Catholic church, these three virtues are considered the three theological virtues—the values that define mankind's relationship with God Himself. 

In the New Testament book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul mentions the three virtues together, then goes on to identify love as the most important of the three (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The key verse is part of a longer discourse sent by Paul to the Corinthians, aimed at explaining to them how to better worship God, but because this verse makes the case for the supremacy of love over all other virtues, it is very often selected, along with other key passages from the surrounding verses, to include in modern Christian wedding services

Here is the context of 1 Corinthians 13:13 within the surrounding verses of 1 Corinthians: 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy."

For devout Christians, it is important to understand that the virtue of love of God comes within the context of all three theological virtues. Love in this context is interpreted as a love for God, without which love for fellow human beings is impossible. 

Faith Is a Prerequisite

There's no doubt that each of these virtues—faith, hope and love—has great value.

In fact, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that, "...without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (NKJV) So, without faith, we couldn't come to believe in God or walk in obedience to him.

The Value of Hope

Hope keeps us moving forward. No individual can imagine life without hope. Hope fuels us to face impossible challenges. Hope is the expectation that we will obtain what we desire. Hope is a special gift from God given to us in grace to combat the day-to-day monotony and difficult circumstances. Hope encourages us to keep running the race until we reach the finish line.

The Greatness of Love

We couldn't live our lives without faith or hope: without faith we cannot know the God of love; without hope we would not endure in our faith until we meet Mim face to face. But in spite of the importance of faith and hope, love is even more crucial.

Why is love the greatest? Because without love, Christians believe there can be no redemption. In Biblical scriptures we learn that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us—a supreme act of sacrificial love.

 Thus, love is the virtue upon which all of Christian faith and hope now stand.

Variations in Popular Bible Translations

The phrasing for 1 Corinthians 13:13 may vary slightly in different Bible translations. 

(New International Version)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

(English Standard Version)
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(New Living Translation)
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 

(New King James Version)
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(King James Version)
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

(New American Standard Bible)
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(NASB)

 

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Fairchild, Mary. "Faith, Hope, and Love: the Famous Bible Verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13." ThoughtCo, Jan. 4, 2018, thoughtco.com/faith-hope-and-love-bible-verse-701339. Fairchild, Mary. (2018, January 4). Faith, Hope, and Love: the Famous Bible Verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/faith-hope-and-love-bible-verse-701339 Fairchild, Mary. "Faith, Hope, and Love: the Famous Bible Verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/faith-hope-and-love-bible-verse-701339 (accessed January 18, 2018).