13 1 He showeth that there are gifts so excellent, which in God’s sight are not corrupt, if Charity be away: 4 and therefore he digresseth unto the commendation of it.

Though [a]I speak with the tongues of men and [b]Angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a [c]tinkling cymbal.

And though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had all [d]faith, so that I could remove (A)mountains, and had not love, I were nothing.

And though I feed the poor with all my goods, and though I give my body, that I be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

[e]Love [f]suffereth long: it is bountiful: love envieth not: love doth not boast itself: it is not puffed up:

It doth [g]no uncomely thing: it seeketh not her own thing: it is not provoked to anger: it thinketh no evil:

It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but [h]rejoiceth in the truth:

It suffereth all things: it believeth all things: it hopeth all things: it endureth all things.

[i]Love doth never fall away, though that prophesyings be abolished, or the tongues cease, or [j]knowledge vanish away.

[k]For we know in [l]part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect, is come, then that which is in part shall be abolished.

11 [m]When I was a child, I spake 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 [n]For [o]now we see through a glass darkly: but then shall we see face to face. Now I know in part: but then shall I know even as I am known.

13 [p]And now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three: but the chiefest of these is love.


  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 He reasoneth first of Charity, the excellency whereof he first showeth by this, that without it, all other gifts are as nothing before God which thing he proveth partly by an induction, and partly also by an argument taken of the end, wherefor those gifts are given. For to what purpose are those gifts, but to God’s glory, and the profit of the Church, as is before proved? so that those gifts, without Charity, have no right use.
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:1 A very earnest kind of amplifying a matter, as if he said, If there were any tongues of Angels, and I had them, and did not use them to the benefit of my neighbor, it were nothing else but a vain and prattling type of babbling.
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:1 That giveth a rude and no certain sound.
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:2 By faith, he meaneth the gift of doing miracles, and not that faith which justified, which cannot be void of Charity as the other may.
  5. 1 Corinthians 13:4 He describeth the force and nature of charity, partly by a comparison of contraries, and partly by the effects of itself: whereby the Corinthians may understand, both how profitable it is in the Church, and how necessary and also how far they are from it: and therefore how vainly and without cause they are proud.
  6. 1 Corinthians 13:4 Word for word deferreth wrath.
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:5 It is not contumelious.
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:6 Rejoice that righteousness in the righteous. For the Hebrews mean by truth, righteousness.
  9. 1 Corinthians 13:8 Again he commendeth the excellency of charity, in that that it shall never be abolished in the Saints, whereas the other gifts which are necessary for the building up of the Church, so long as we live here, shall have no place in the world to come.
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:8 The way to get knowledge by prophesying.
  11. 1 Corinthians 13:9 The reason: Because we are now in the state, that we have need to learn daily, and therefore we have need of those helps, to wit, of the gift of tongues, and knowledge, and also of those that teach them. But to what purpose serve they then, when we have obtained and gotten the full knowledge of God, which serve now but for them which are imperfect, and go by degrees to perfection?
  12. 1 Corinthians 13:9 We learn imperfectly.
  13. 1 Corinthians 13:11 He setteth forth that that he said, by an excellent similitude, comparing this life to our infancy or childhood, wherein we stagger and stammer rather than speak, and think and understand but childish things, and therefore have need of such things as may form and frame our tongue and mind: But when we become men, to what purpose should we desire that stammering, those childish toys, and such like things, whereby our childhood is framed by little and little?
  14. 1 Corinthians 13:12 The applying of the similitude of our childhood to this present life, wherein we darkly behold heavenly things, according to the small measure of light which is given us, through the understanding of tongues, and hearing the teachers and ministers of the Church: of our man’s age and strength, to that heavenly and eternal life, wherein when we behold God himself present, and are lightened with his full and perfect light, to what purpose should we desire the voice of man, and those worldly things which are most imperfect? But yet then, shall all the Saints be knit both with God, and between themselves with most fervent love, and therefore charity shall not be abolished, but perfected, although it shall not be showeth forth and entertained by such manner of duties as peculiarly and only belong to the infirmity of this life.
  15. 1 Corinthians 13:12 All this must be understood by comparison.
  16. 1 Corinthians 13:13 The conclusion: As if the Apostle should say, Such therefore shall be our condition then: but now we have three things, and they remain sure if we be Christ’s as without which true religion cannot consist, to wit, faith, hope, and charity. And among these, charity is the chiefest, because it ceaseth not in the life to come as the rest do, but is perfected and accomplished. For seeing that faith and hope tend to things which are promised, and are to come, when we have presently gotten them, to what purpose should we have faith and hope? but yet there at length shall we truly and perfectly love both God, and one another.