Friday, February 15, 2013

The Greatest of These

1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The Apostle tells us that in the world of faith, three things remain
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Charity
Not that there is nothing else for in the world of secularism. There remained still
  • Virtue
  • Honor
  • Chivalry
  • Knowledge and etc.

In the world of religion there yet remained things such as
  • Dedication
  • Loyalty
  • Leadership and etc.

Paul did not suggest that these things no longer existed. He simply contrasted them to these three and these stand out far beyond the others.

Faith, hope and charity so excel the others as to leave them as nothing.

But of the three, one excels them all. Charity was the word selected by the King James Version translators and not the word love. It seems right to at least consider that they saw in this text something unique, something set apart from the common idea. Indeed, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, this word is a unique form of the root Agape not previously seen in Greek writing prior to Paul's use of it in 1 Corinthians 8:1. It is a unique word. It is the sort of love that one has for the church for which Christ died.

Charity, love directed toward that thing Christ loves, is unquestionably the greatest quality a man may have.
  • Virtue may be earned by cruel acts done in the name of the state
  • Honor may be defended in a bloody dual to death
  • Knowledge too often puffs up the possessor

  • Faith sees the unseen
  • Hope reaches passed the earthly for the eternal and
  • Charity blends faith and hope into a quality that benefits the people of God right now

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