Bible Study · Faith

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 The Greatest of These is Love

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NLT) “11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

(NKJV) “11 When 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. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

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

In verse 11 Paul tells us that as we grow and learn we need to put away our childish behaviors and act like adults. We need to take what we have learned and put it into practice rather than trying to continue in our own childlike ways.

In verse 12 he tells us that in this world we are seeing things imperfectly, distorted. Soon to come we will see everything perfectly. With perfect clarity. All the knowledge we have now is incomplete but eventually we will know everything completely.

In my study Bible there is an awesome study note that I would like to share with you in regards to verse 13. It says:

The virtues of faith, hope and love are necessary in this age; but in the age to come faith will give way to sight (2 Cor. 5:7), and hope will turn into experience (Rom 8:24). Love alone is eternal, for God is love (1 John 4:8). *

That is why I believe that God puts so much emphasis on love. It is the one eternal virtue in this world. That is why, I believe, he considers it the greatest out of the three.

Here is my summary of what Paul is saying in these three verses.

  1. We need to grow up and stop acting childish about the stuff going on around us and in the church. We need to step up and be obedient to what the word of God says to do rather than throwing a childish hissy fit to get our own ways.  (my opinion)
  2. We need to realize that everything we see in this world is viewed through partial vision. We are not seeing things perfectly at this time. However, one day we will have perfect clarity.
  3. We need Faith and Hope in this life but the only one of the three that will last even beyond this life is Love.


This finishes up the final verses of 1 Corinthians 13. I hope you have enjoyed doing this with me. Next week I will write up a summary of this study to hit some of the highlights again along with links to each of the posts in case you would like to go back and read them.


*Taken from the Spirit Filled Life Bible (1998 edition).

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