1If I speak in human and angelic tongues#An inventory of gifts, arranged in careful gradation: neither tongues (on the lowest rung), nor prophecy, knowledge, or faith, nor even self-sacrifice has value unless informed by love. but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.#8:1; 16:14; Rom 12:9–10; 13:8–10. 2And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.#4:1; 14:2 / 1:5; 8:1–3; 12:8 / Mt 17:20; 21:21; Col 2:3. 3If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.#Mt 6:2.
4#This paragraph is developed by personification and enumeration, defining love by what it does or does not do. The Greek contains fifteen verbs; it is natural to translate many of them by adjectives in English. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,#Eph 4:2 / 1 Cor 4:6, 18; 5:2; 8:1. 5it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,#10:24, 33; Phil 2:4, 21; 1 Thes 5:15. 6it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.#Prv 10:12; 1 Pt 4:8.
8#The final paragraph announces its topic, Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8), then develops the permanence of love in contrast to the charisms (1 Cor 13:9–12), and finally asserts love’s superiority even over the other “theological virtues” (1 Cor 13:13). Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. 9For we know partially and we prophesy partially, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.#2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1 / 2 Tm 2:19; 1 Jn 3:2. 13#In speaking of love, Paul is led by spontaneous association to mention faith and hope as well. They are already a well-known triad (cf. 1 Thes 1:3), three interrelated (cf. 1 Cor 13:7) features of Christian life, more fundamental than any particular charism. The greatest
is love: love is operative even within the other members of the triad (1 Cor 13:7), so that it has a certain primacy among them. Or, if the perspective is temporal, love will remain (cf. “never fails,” 1 Cor 13:8) even when faith has yielded to sight and hope to possession. So faith, hope, love remain, these three;#Col 1:4; 1 Thes 1:3; 5:8. but the greatest of these is love.