Faith, Hope, Love

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:13

This is a favorite Bible verse for many people. But many do not give much thought as to what a passage like this means in context. They just want it to mean whatever they want. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at this verse and see how we are to understand it.

What Do These Terms Mean?

  • Faith is the obedient trust and confidence in the Lord – it is the assurance and conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1); comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17); we cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6); we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1); true faith is not just belief, it includes obedience (James 2:24, 26)
  • Hope is more than a desire/wish, it is the expectation of good – we are saved by hope (Romans 8:24); Christians have a “living hope” through Christ (1 Peter 1:3-4); our hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18-20); it is something we can articulate and defend (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 3:12); even if our lives on earth never improve, we have hope of something better (1 Corinthians 15:19)
  • Love (agape) is putting God and others ahead of ourselves – this chapter helps define what love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-7); God is love (1 John 4:8); we are to love others (1 John 4:7); loving God means we will obey Him (1 John 5:3); many people like to talk about love, but we are to love more than just in word (1 John 3:18)

Why Do These Three Abide?

  • Remember the context about miraculous spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14) – these would one day cease (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) when the word of God was fully revealed (Jude 3); after the word was fully revealed, these three would remain
  • Faith is based upon the word of God (Romans 10:17) – even if we do not witness a miracle or receive direct revelation from God, we can still have faith (John 20:30-31; 17:20-21)
  • Hope is tied to our faith (Hebrews 11:1) – based on what the Scriptures teach (Romans 15:4)
  • Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8) – it will always be necessary to love God and others

Why is Love the Greatest?

  • Love will endure longer than faith and hope – faith will become sight (1 John 3:2); hope will be realized (1 Peter 1:13); love will remain in heaven
  • Love is the reason why we do what we do in service to God (John 14:15) – demons believe (James 2:19), but they do not obey because they do not love God; some may think their hope is based upon them earning God’s favor (Luke 18:9-14), but they love “little” (Luke 7:40-47); love leads us to obey God (1 John 5:3) and does not see His commandments as burdensome (cf. Genesis 29:20)


  • The Corinthians focused on spiritual gifts – no longer necessary or given since the New Testament is complete; focus on these three qualities
  • Faith – live by faith; believe in the Lord and obey Him
  • Hope – look forward to the reward in heaven; keep pressing on to the goal
  • Love – the motivation for all that we do (1 Corinthians 16:14), for God and for others

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