Whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love. - 1 John 4:8
LOVE, greater than all gifts – according to 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in languages inspired by God – earthly languages and even the language of angels – but have no love, I am nothing but a booming gong or a noisy kettledrum.
If I have prophetic inspirations, if all mysteries are revealed to me and I possess all knowledge, if faith is given to me in the highest conceivable measure so that I can move mountains – ‘if I possess all these gifts,` but have no love, I am nothing. If I distribute all my possessions to the poor, if I am even willing to sacrifice my life and be burned alive, but have no love, it is of no use to me.
Love is patient, love is kind. It knows no envy, it does not show off, it is not conceited. It does not behave tactlessly, it does not seek its own advantage, it does not lose its temper, it does not bear a grudge against anyone. She does not rejoice when injustice happens, but where truth triumphs, she rejoices with it. She endures everything, in every situation she believes, she always hopes, she withstands everything.
Love never passes away. Prophetic inspirations will cease; speaking in languages ‘inspired by God’` will fall silent; the ‘gift of` knowledge will one day no longer exist. For what we recognise is always only a part of the whole, and the prophetic inspirations we have also reveal only a part of the whole. One day, however, that which is perfect will become visible. Then everything imperfect will come to an end.
When I was a child, I talked like children talk, thought like children think, and judged like children judge. But as an adult I have discarded what is childlike. Now we see everything only as in a mirror and as in mysterious images; but then we will see ‘God’ face to face. When I recognise something now, I only recognise a part of the whole; but then I will know everything as God already knows me now.