1 Corinthians 13 (NKJV) (2024)

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The Greatest Gift

13Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of (A)prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, (B)so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And (C)though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4(D)Love suffers long and is (E)kind; love (F)does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, (G)does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; 6(H)does not rejoice in iniquity, but (I)rejoices in the truth; 7(J)bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9(K)For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is [d]perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For (L)now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then (M)face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:3 NU so I may boast
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:4 arrogant
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:5 keeps no accounts of evil
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:10 complete

Cross references

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : Matt. 7:22; 1 Cor. 12:8–10, 28; 14:1
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : Matt. 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:3 : Matt. 6:1, 2
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:4 : Prov. 10:12; 17:9; 1 Thess. 5:14; [1 Pet. 4:8]
  5. 1 Corinthians 13:4 : Eph. 4:32
  6. 1 Corinthians 13:4 : Gal. 5:26
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:5 : 1 Cor. 10:24; Phil. 2:4
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:6 : Ps. 10:3; Rom. 1:32
  9. 1 Corinthians 13:6 : 2 John 4; 3 John 3
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:7 : Rom. 15:1; Gal. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:24
  11. 1 Corinthians 13:9 : 1 Cor. 8:2; 13:12
  12. 1 Corinthians 13:12 : [2 Cor. 3:18; 5:7]; Phil. 3:12; James 1:23
  13. 1 Corinthians 13:12 : Gen. 32:30; Num. 12:8; Matt. 18:10; [1 John 3:2]
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13If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).

3Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c]in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circ*mstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

9For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).

10But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.

12For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [e]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [f]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [g]fully and clearly known and understood [[h]by God].

13And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Alexander Souter, Pocket Lexicon.
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:2 G. Abbott-Smith, Manual Greek Lexicon.
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:3 Some ancient manuscripts so read.
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:8 G. Abbott-Smith, Manual Greek Lexicon.
  5. 1 Corinthians 13:12 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  6. 1 Corinthians 13:12 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:12 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:12 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Holy Bible.
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13If I speak in the tongues[a](A) of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy(B) and can fathom all mysteries(C) and all knowledge,(D) and if I have a faith(E) that can move mountains,(F) but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor(G) and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b](H) but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient,(I) love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.(J) 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,(K) it is not easily angered,(L) it keeps no record of wrongs.(M) 6Love does not delight in evil(N) but rejoices with the truth.(O) 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.(P)

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies,(Q) they will cease; where there are tongues,(R) they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part(S) and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes,(T) what is in part disappears. 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 put the ways of childhood(U) behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;(V) then we shall see face to face.(W) Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.(X)

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.(Y) But the greatest of these is love.(Z)

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Or languages
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 Some manuscripts body to the flames

Cross references

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 : ver 8; S Mk 16:17
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : ver 8; S Eph 4:11; S Ac 11:27
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : 1Co 14:2
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : S 2Co 8:7
  5. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : 1Co 12:9
  6. 1 Corinthians 13:2 : Mt 17:20; 21:21
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:3 : Lk 19:8; S Ac 2:45
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:3 : Da 3:28
  9. 1 Corinthians 13:4 : 1Th 5:14
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:4 : 1Co 5:2
  11. 1 Corinthians 13:5 : S 1Co 10:24
  12. 1 Corinthians 13:5 : S Mt 5:22
  13. 1 Corinthians 13:5 : Job 14:16, 17; Pr 10:12; 17:9; 1Pe 4:8
  14. 1 Corinthians 13:6 : 2Th 2:12
  15. 1 Corinthians 13:6 : 2Jn 4; 3Jn 3, 4
  16. 1 Corinthians 13:7 : ver 8, 13
  17. 1 Corinthians 13:8 : ver 2
  18. 1 Corinthians 13:8 : ver 1
  19. 1 Corinthians 13:9 : ver 12; S 1Co 8:2
  20. 1 Corinthians 13:10 : Php 3:12
  21. 1 Corinthians 13:11 : Ps 131:2
  22. 1 Corinthians 13:12 : Job 26:14; 36:26
  23. 1 Corinthians 13:12 : Ge 32:30; Job 19:26; 1Jn 3:2
  24. 1 Corinthians 13:12 : 1Co 8:3; Gal 4:9
  25. 1 Corinthians 13:13 : Ro 5:2-5; Gal 5:5, 6; Eph 4:2-5; Col 1:4, 5; 1Th 1:3; 5:8; Heb 6:10-12
  26. 1 Corinthians 13:13 : Mt 22:37-40; 1Co 16:14; Gal 5:6; 1Jn 4:7-12, 16
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