Why is Love Greater?

A very common verse lists faith, hope, and love, and declares the superiority of love. That easily makes sense given the significance of love, but exactly in what ways is it greater? Looking at the context, we can see at least one interesting possibility.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Taken out of context, this is a powerful statement of the importance of love. That’s appropriate, considering it comes at the end of the “love” chapter in 1 Corinthians. But look at the rest of chapter 13. The familiar portions at the beginning talk about love, but then Paul shifts to something else before our passage in question.

The last statement about love states its eternity, and he contrasts that against the temporary nature of those thing mentioned at the beginning of the chapter such as prophecy, tongues and knowledge. Building on that, he discusses more about the difference between now and eternity in such things as how one reasons, and how we see.

After this, Paul comes to our verse. Now consider it in the context of the previous ones, which point to eternity in heaven. What role do faith, hope, and love play there?

Well, we won’t need faith anymore because we will be in the very presence of God, seeing things clearly, face to face. And we won’t need hope, because all our hopes will be fulfilled, all waiting finished.

But love is different. We will be in the very center of love, for God is love. Rather than no longer being needed, we will see it manifested fully.

Just think, that’s a part of heaven that we can participate in today, right now!

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