1 Corinthians, Chapter 13
© Copyright 2002 Darroll Evans, all rights reserved

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news is that true love is available to us.

The bad news is that YOU cannot get there from here.

Jesus must come to you in order for you to start.

Paul’s discussion of the "more excellent way" begins by contrasting the way of God’s love to all human endeavors.

What follows is not a description of our love for each other or even our love for God.

It is God’s love for us!

Any attempt to superimpose what follows onto mankind outside of God is done so due to extreme spiritual stupidity.

The reality is that due to our fallen condition, we are unable to love in the manner described in this chapter.

Unless god intervenes love is impossible for mankind.

We speak of love in words that too often describe lust.

Our words and our actions are often in conflict.

Take a glance at verse 8a---Love never fails!

Take it to the bank!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8a Charity never faileth:

This does not describe the love we have for one another.

It describes perfect love.

Perfect love can only come from a source.

The only perfect source is God, the father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In Salvation, we are witnessing the love of a perfect One being showered on those that are imperfect.

May I point out something that may not be obvious?

The translation of verse 8a is incomplete!

The definite article [the] that appears in the Greek is not present in the English.

The verse should be translated, "The Love never at any time fails!"

The use of "The" indicates something very special.

Only God’s love for mankind qualifies.

Although it is not taught in most Christian circles, God is Love and Love (God) never fails!

Many Christians believe that the puny, limited human will can and does overcome God’s omnipotent will.

Romans 5:8---But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV)

Companion verses are:

Rev 21:4 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Isaiah 25:8); there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain

Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death forever (1 Cor 15:54), and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces (Rev 21:4).

Ps 145:9 The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

2 Cor 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Eph 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him.

Col 1:19-20
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

1 Timothy 1:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

1 Tim 2:6 [Christ Jesus] who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

James 2:13b Mercy triumphs over judgment.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I Jn 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.


I Jn 4:14 the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Those plus many others are the result of God’s love never failing!

He sent the Son of His love, Christ Jesus to seek and to save the lost!

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

How many of “us” were lost?

Isa 53:6 (Romans 3:23) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

No matter where you are now, God loves you and Christ died for you.

The key to opening the door to the benefits of His love to acknowledging Christ as Lord!

1 Corinthians 13:8b-10
8b but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

In due time, we will get back to the essentials of relationship.

That is an important part of God’s plan. 

Whether there are prophecies, they shall fail. 

Does that mean the Christ is not returning?

All we have to base that belief on is prophecy.

Whether there are tongues, they shall cease. 

Does that mean that all human languages have been done away with? 

If so, how do you understand what I am writing?

Whether there is knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

Does that mean that you are now incapable of understanding that a red traffic light means stop?

When it comes to understanding this Scripture, many have done their best to avoid the obvious or use what common sense God has given them.

Eventually the temporary things will be invalidated.

But, they have not at this point been invalidated.

Prophecies have not failed.

Tongues and/or languages have not ceased.

Knowledge has not vanished.

Those that use this section to discredit the charismatic movement are using a bogus argument.

“When that which is perfect is come” has caused a few theories born of ignorance.

Some still believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the “perfect” spoken of here. 

The story goes that when the KJV was printed all the tongues would cease.

Others thought that when the Bible was agreed upon in the 300’s AD, all that “stuff” would vanish.

The problems come from a mistranslation in the KJV.

The NIV is not much better.

1 Corinthians 13:10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. (NIV)

“Perfect” or “Perfection” (Gr. teleion-teleion) speaks of completion.

Many teach that the “perfect” is the King James Bible. 

Such a conclusion is totally without biblical foundation!

Those whop teach that do so to discount the offices of the Apostle and Prophet and to also discount the gifts of the Spirit within the next chapter of 1st Corinthians. 

However, if that false teaching is true, the offices of the Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher must also be discounted as no longer valid. 

Those who espouse that false teaching do not understand the harm they do to the Bible text by teaching a false context.

The Perfect is Christ Jesus who was presented, in the Resurrection, as the perfect man, the second Adam.  

Personal translation:  “But, when completion comes, the incomplete shall be cease to be relevant.”

When will that be?

That will happen when God is all in all!

1 Corinthians 13:11-13
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

This section has for a long time been used as a put-down of speaking in tongues, and things Pentecostal/Charismatic.

I may hurt you ego, but regardless of the educational degrees held by any individual, those that use this in that manner are abusing scripture and are biblically ignorant.

While Paul said that he left childish things behind, in the very next chapter Paul said, "I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all" (1 Corinthians 14:18/NASB).

All Christians do not do all things.

There are various gifts.

One is not greater or lesser, they just have different functions.

We may disagree as to what "tongues" is, but there is a gift of "tongues."

And, it has not disappeared from the Church.

In verse 13 of chapter 13, Paul mentions 3 things he held precious in his Christian walk.

The three were faith, hope and love.

The greatest of the three is love.

God is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8a)!

Do you believe that?

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