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1 Corinthians 13

13
The way of perfection — love
1-11And the way I will show you is the way of perfection. I may have knowledge, but it is still fragmentary, I read as it were on a mirror the reflections which I cannot yet quite make out. I prophesy partially, not fully and perfectly, and so is it with other gifts of the kind, tongues and healing and so on. These are, as it were, but the infancy of the Spirit, its first faint babblings and lispings, but love is full, complete, perfect. Here and now it is the all-inclusive, towards which all these other gifts point, and when love is fully come, there will be an end of these partial utterances of the Spirit. Therefore love is above all things necessary. What are all these other gifts without it? What is the speaking with tongues, the utterances of men or angels, without it? Merely a repetition of the old religions with the clashing of cymbals and beating of gongs. And what does it avail to prophesy, to have an intellect which can grapple with all mysteries and knowledge, and to have so powerful a faith as to be able to work miracles with it, if love is not the crown, the aim, the end of it all? It is all worthless. And to give away all your possessions without love, and to embrace martyrdom and the stake without love — how empty, how vain and worthless! For love includes all that is good — all patience, kindness, tolerance, forbearance, faith and hope; and love is antidote to all evil, all jealousy, and boasting, all ugliness, selfishness, ill-temper, evil thinking. Love can never take any pleasure in these things, the joy of love comes from truth. And so it shall come to pass that all other things will change, pass, and be no more, but love will remain. All that is partial, imperfect, incomplete must have an end, but love will never fail. 12In that perfect day of love we shall see face to face, we shall know then as now we are known, 13and though now we see faith, hope and love, these three, abiding with us, the greatest of them is love.
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The Excellence of Love
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not #I.e. a profound thoughtfulness and unselfish concern for other believers regardless of their circumstances or station in life.love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. 2And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. 3If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body #Early mss read so that I may boast, i.e. as a martyr.to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
8Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. 10But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. 11When 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 did away with childish things. 12For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. 13And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.