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Love: The Bottom Line (1 Corinthians 12,13)

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The Withdrawal Of The Gifts





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1 Corinthians 13

The supremacy of love
If I speak with all the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become like sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
   4 Love suffers long, and is kind. Love envies not. It is not arrogant or rude, is not puffed up, 5 does not behave itself inappropriately, is not self seeking, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil done, 6 rejoices not in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth; 7 carries all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
   8 Love never fails; but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away. Whether there be speaking in foreign languages, this shall cease. Whether there be the gift of knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I am a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know fully, even as also I have been fully known. 13 But now abides faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


13:1 Speaking with tongues is therefore not a guarantee of salvation.

13:4 Love here is personified as a person. We should ‘be’ love; love is the foremost characteristic, the essence, of the Christian life.

13:6 Rejoices not in unrighteousness- Much ‘entertainment’ invites us to do just this; to enjoy viewing and hearing unrighteous things and take pleasure from them, although we are not literally doing those things. We are not to rejoice in sinful things but to focus our minds upon spiritual things.

13:8 Paul here prophesies that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit would pass away. They will be given again when Jesus returns (Heb. 6:5).