Love is greater than the gifts (13:1-13)
The Corinthians were impressed with people who exercised the more spectacular gifts. Paul reminds them that no matter what gifts they have - tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, faith - if they lack love they are not merely unimportant, they are nothing (13:1-2). People may be so generous with their goods and money that in the end they themselves become poor. They may be so faithful to their duty that they sacrifice their lives. But without love they have gained nothing (3).
Paul then describes some of the qualities of love. Chief of these is that it thinks of others, not of self. Love is patient, kind, humble, forgiving, self-controlled and always thoughtful of the feelings of others. It is not boastful, bad mannered, resentful or irritable (4-5). At the same time it upholds God's standards of righteousness, always rejoicing in what is true and never in what is wrong. It is trusting and persevering, and always looks positively to the ultimate fulfilment of God's purposes (6-7).
The various gifts are temporary and imperfect, for they are limited to life in the present world. But love is permanent, and endures into the age to come (8-10). The gifts Christians exercise are likened to the changing abilities and capacities in the life of a growing child, but love is likened to the maturity of adulthood (11). In the present world Christians have only a limited understanding of eternal things. Their view of the age to come is unclear. When face to face with Christ they will know these things clearly, just as God knows them clearly (12). The important issue for Christians is not the display of their spiritual gifts, but the exercise of faith, hope, and above all, love (13).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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