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Love Matters More Than the Other Gifts

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all the mysteries and have all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give up my body that I may be burned[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. It does not brag. It is not arrogant. It does not behave indecently. It is not selfish. It is not irritable. It does not keep a record of wrongs. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. It bears[c] all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.[d]

Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophetic gifts, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part, 10 but when that which is complete has come, that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see indirectly using a mirror, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I was fully known.

13 So now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Using Spiritual Gifts in Love to Benefit the Church

14 Keep on pursuing love, and eagerly seek spiritual gifts, but especially prophecy. For the person who speaks in a tongue[e] speaks to God, not to people. For no one understands him, but he speaks mysteries in the Spirit. However, the person who prophesies speaks to people things that edify, encourage, and comfort. The one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but I would prefer that you prophesy. For the person who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.

Brothers,[f] if I come to you speaking in tongues, what good will I do you, unless I communicate to you a revelation, or some knowledge, or a prophecy, or some teaching? Even lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as a flute or a harp, if they do not make the notes distinct from one another, how will anyone know what is being played on the flute or harp? If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will get ready for battle? So also with you: Unless you use your tongue to produce intelligible speech, how will anyone know what is being spoken? To be sure, you will be speaking only into the air.

10 There are perhaps ever so many kinds of languages in the world, and not one of them is without meaning. 11 Accordingly, if I do not understand the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and he will be a foreigner to me. 12 So also with you: Since you are eager for spiritual gifts, seek to use them abundantly in a way that will build up the church.

13 That is why a person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding[g] is unfruitful. 15 So what is to be done? I will pray using my spirit, and I will pray also using my understanding. I will sing using my spirit, and I will sing also using my understanding. 16 Otherwise, how will an uninformed person[h] say the “Amen” after you give thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 To be sure, you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking, but be like babies in regard to evil, and be mature in your thinking. 21 It is written in the law, “By different tongues and by foreign lips I will speak to this people, and even so, they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”[i] 22 Therefore, tongues are a sign meant for unbelievers, not believers, whereas prophecy is for believers, not unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together in the same place and all speak in tongues, and uninformed visitors or unbelievers come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24 But if all prophesy and some unbeliever or uninformed visitor comes in, he is reproved by all and judged by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are revealed, and under those circumstances he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring, “God really is among you!”

Specific Directions for Order in the Church

26 So, brothers, what is to be done? When you come together, each one of you[j] has a psalm, or a teaching, or a revelation, or an utterance in a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done in a way that builds people up. 27 If someone speaks in a tongue, limit it to two or at most three (speaking one at a time), and have one person interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, he is to keep silent in the church and keep his speaking between himself and God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others carefully evaluate what was said. 30 But if a revelation comes to another person as he sits there, let the first person become silent. 31 For you all can do your prophesying one at a time, so that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 The spirits of the prophets are also subject to the prophets, 33 for God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints,[k] 34 the[l] women are to keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Instead they are to be subordinate, as also the Law says. 35 If they desire to learn something, let them ask their own men[m] at home, because it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Or are you the ones from whom the word of God has gone out? Or did it come to you alone?

37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual person, let him recognize that the things I write to you are the Lord’s commands.[n] 38 But if anyone disregards them, he should be disregarded.

39 So, brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But let all things be done decently and in good order.

Christ’s Resurrection Is Foundational

15 Brothers, I am going to call your attention to the gospel that I preached to you. You received it, and you took your stand on it. You are also being saved by that gospel that was expressed in the words I preached to you, if you keep your hold on it—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
and that he appeared to Cephas,[o] then to the Twelve.

After that he appeared to over five hundred brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles. Last of all, he appeared also to me, the stillborn child, so to speak. For I am the least of the apostles, and I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted God’s church. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not ineffective. On the contrary, I worked more than all of them (and yet it wasn’t my doing, but it was the grace of God, which was with me, that did it). 11 So whether it is I or they, that is what we preach, and that is what you believed.

12 Now if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is pointless, and your faith is pointless too. 15 Then we are even guilty of giving false testimony about God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise, if it were true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then it also follows that those who fell asleep in Christ perished. 19 If our hope in Christ applies only to this life, we are the most pitiful people of all.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came by a man, the resurrection of the dead also is going to come by a man. 22 For as in Adam they all die, so also in Christ they all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ as the firstfruits and then Christ’s people, at his coming. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has done away with every other ruler and every other authority and power. 25 For he must reign “until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”[p] 26 Death is the last enemy to be done away with. 27 Certainly, “he has put all things in subjection under his feet.”[q] Now when it says that all things have been put in subjection, obviously that does not include the one who subjected all things to him. 28 But when all things have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected[r] to the one who subjected all things to him, in order that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what will those people do who get baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why do they even get baptized for them? 30 Why do we live in danger every hour? 31 Day by day I face death, as surely as I boast about you, brothers,[s] in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with human motives, what good did it do me? If the dead are not raised, then “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”[t] 33 Do not be deceived! “Keeping bad company corrupts good morals.”[u] 34 Use sober judgment, as is right, and do not sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will object, “How can it be that the dead are raised? With what kind of body are they going to come?”

36 You are being foolish. What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that will be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body of the kind he wanted it to have, and to each of the seeds he gives its own body.

39 Flesh is not all the same kind. Instead, people have one kind of flesh, animals have another kind, birds another, and fish yet another. 40 There are also celestial bodies and bodies on earth, but the glory of the celestial bodies differs from that of the bodies on earth. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another in glory.

42 That is the way the resurrection of the dead will be. What is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown as a natural[v] body; it is raised as a spiritual[w] body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living natural being.”[x] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, that which is spiritual is not first; rather, first comes the natural, then the spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord[y] from heaven. 48 As was the man made of dust, so are the people who are made of dust, and as is the heavenly man, so the heavenly people will be. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man made of dust, let us[z] also bear the image of the heavenly man.

The Change to Immortality on the Last Day

50 Now I say this, brothers: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what is perishable is not going to inherit what is imperishable. 51 Look, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 But once this perishable body has put on imperishability, and this mortal body has put on immortality, then what is written will be fulfilled:

Death is swallowed up in victory.[aa]
55 Death, where is your sting?
Grave, where is your victory?[ab] [ac]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Plans for a Collection and Travel Plans

16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, do as I directed the churches in Galatia to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to set something aside in keeping with whatever he gains, saving it up at home, so that when I come, no collections will need to be carried out. When I arrive, those whom you approve will be provided with letters, and I will send these representatives to deliver your gracious gift to Jerusalem. If it is appropriate for me to go also, they will go with me.

I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am going to go through Macedonia. Perhaps I will have an extended stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now in passing. I hope to stay with you for a while, if the Lord permits. But I will stay on in Ephesus until Pentecost, because a door has opened for me, a great opportunity for action, and there are many adversaries.

10 But if Timothy comes, make sure he has no reason to be afraid while he is with you, for he does the work of the Lord, as I do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace so that he may come to me, because I am expecting him, and so are the brothers with me.[ad]

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. It was not at all his desire to go now, but he will when he has an opportunity.

Closing Messages

13 Keep alert. Stand firm in the faith. Demonstrate manly courage. Be strong. 14 Let everything you do be done in love.

15 Brothers, you know Stephanas and his household. You know that they are the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they volunteered for service to the saints. 16 I urge that you also submit to them and to everyone who joins in and works hard. 17 I am glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus came, because they supplied what was lacking on your part, 18 and they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such people.

19 The churches in the province of Asia[ae] greet you. Aquila and Priscilla[af] greet you warmly in the Lord, together with the church that meets in their house. 20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 This greeting is written by me, Paul, with my own hand. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord—let him be under a curse![ag] Marana tha![ah] 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ[ai] be with you. 24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.[aj]


  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Or languages
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 A few witnesses to the text read that I may boast.
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:7 Or keeps silent about
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:7 Or It always endures, always believes, always hopes, always perseveres
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:2 Or language
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:6 When context indicates it, the Greek word for brothers may refer to all fellow believers, male and female.
  7. 1 Corinthians 14:14 Or mind
  8. 1 Corinthians 14:16 Literally someone occupying the position of an uninformed person
  9. 1 Corinthians 14:21 Isaiah 28:11-12
  10. 1 Corinthians 14:26 Some witnesses to the text omit of you.
  11. 1 Corinthians 14:33 Some translations place As in all the churches of the saints at the end of the previous paragraph.
  12. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Some witnesses to the text read your instead of the.
  13. 1 Corinthians 14:35 Or husbands
  14. 1 Corinthians 14:37 Some witnesses to the text read is the Lord’s command.
  15. 1 Corinthians 15:5 Cephas is the Aramaic name for Peter. Both Cephas and Peter mean rock.
  16. 1 Corinthians 15:25 Psalm 110:1
  17. 1 Corinthians 15:27 Psalm 8:6. The Greek word order emphasizes all things.
  18. 1 Corinthians 15:28 Or then the Son will also subject himself
  19. 1 Corinthians 15:31 Some witnesses to the text omit brothers.
  20. 1 Corinthians 15:32 Isaiah 22:13
  21. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Ancient testimony ascribes this quotation sometimes to the playwright Menander (about 344–291 bc) and sometimes to the playwright Euripides (about 480–406 bc), but the relevant plays are no longer extant. Paul may have learned the quotation from popular culture.
  22. 1 Corinthians 15:44 The Greek adjective translated natural comes from the term for soul.
  23. 1 Corinthians 15:44 The Greek adjective translated spiritual comes from the term for the spirit or Spirit.
  24. 1 Corinthians 15:45 Genesis 2:7
  25. 1 Corinthians 15:47 Some witnesses to the text omit the Lord.
  26. 1 Corinthians 15:49 Some witnesses to the text read we will.
  27. 1 Corinthians 15:54 Isaiah 25:8
  28. 1 Corinthians 15:55 Hosea 13:14
  29. 1 Corinthians 15:55 Some witnesses to the text read Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?
  30. 1 Corinthians 16:11 Or him and the brothers with him
  31. 1 Corinthians 16:19 Asia was the name of a Roman province in the western part of present-day Turkey.
  32. 1 Corinthians 16:19 Some witnesses to the text read Prisca.
  33. 1 Corinthians 16:22 Greek Anathema
  34. 1 Corinthians 16:22 The Aramaic phrase Marana tha means Our Lord, come!
  35. 1 Corinthians 16:23 A few witnesses to the text omit Christ.
  36. 1 Corinthians 16:24 A few witnesses to the text omit Amen.