1Cor 13:13 (KJV)
13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
This verse is a very popular and instructive verse that contains much practical information for us all. I would like us to take two days to look at this verse and try to “dig up” some of the riches within them. For this morning, I would like us to look at the phrase “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three”.
To understand what we are being taught by this phrase, it is really important that we understand its context. In 1 Cor 13: we find the Apostle Paul addressing the spiritual gifts that were given to the local churches before the completion of God’s Word… prophecies, tongues and knowledge (vs 8-9).
All three of these gifts were directly related to the revealing of God’s Word to mankind. The gifts of prophecies and knowledge were used to reveal His Word, whereas the gift of tongues was used to accredit the Word that was being newly revealed to man. We are told that when the disclosure of God’s perfect Word was brought to completion, so too, the method of disclosure (knowledge and prophecy vs 10).
Also we are told that the gift of tongues would end when the Word was fully accredited and the recipients of the gift of tongues would physically die. (We can see this principle in the phrase “whether there be tongues, they will cease” (vs 9). In this phrase the term “will cease” is the Greek verb form that means “to cease in and of themselves”. In other words, once the Word of God was complete, and proven to be genuine, there would be no longer a need for the gift to be passed on to another generation and therefore, it would gradually “die off in and of itself” as the recipients of the gift passed away.
All of this context is very important to our study of verse 13, because when our text makes the statement “And now abideth”, it is saying that the gifts of faith, hope and charity would continue on past Paul’s day. This is in direct comparison to the gifts of knowledge, prophecies and tongues which were to cease very quickly following the completion of the Bible in approx. 100 AD.
Paul is assuring us that even though the revelation/accreditation gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues would cease soon after the 1st century, we had nothing to fear, the Lord would still be working our midst. This would be proven by the continuing graces of faith, hope and charity (love) being given to man. And this is why we are told that “love never fails” in comparison to the gifts that would “fail” and “cease” shortly after the death of Paul (vs 8).
Folks, as we enter our day of service, when we find ourselves trusting Him (faith), looking to the future with assurance in His coming promises (hope) or giving of ourselves for Him and others from a heart of adoration (love)… let’s keep in mind these are all proofs that He is still working in our midst, enabling us to continue to serve Him and fulfill His divine calling for our lives.
May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.
For those who desire a more in depth study of the ending of these three gifts mentioned in our study please refer to my 3-part Valentine’s day series on 1 Cor 13:…. This series posts can be found here…
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