1 Corinthians 13

The most important thing is to love

1 If I do not love, I am nothing. I may be able to speak different languages that people use. I may be able to speak languages that angels use. But that is worth nothing unless I love. It is only like someone who is making a loud noise. It is only like someone who is hitting a loud bell. 2 I may be able to speak messages from God. I may know all the facts and I may understand all the secret things. I may believe God enough so that I could move mountains. But I am nothing if I do not love. 3 I may give all the things that I have to poor people. I may even let other people burn my body so that I die. But that is worth nothing if I do not love.

4 If I love, I will be patient. I will be kind. I will not want to be like other people so much that I get angry with them. I will not tell people how good I am. I will not think that I am better than other people. 5 If I love, I will always be polite. I will think about what other people want. I will not think only about what I myself want. I will not get angry quickly. And I will not always be remembering the wrong things that other people have done to me. 6 If I love, I will not be happy about bad things. But instead, I will be happy about things that are right and true. 7 If I really love people, I will never stop loving them. It will not matter what happens. Whatever things may happen, I will still continue to love. If I love, then, during all things, I will still continue to believe. If I love, then, during all things, I will still continue to hope for good things. If I love then, during all things, I will still continue to be patient and strong.

8 If I love, that will never come to an end. But it is different for all those gifts that God has given to us. The time will come when we do not need them any longer. People will stop telling messages from God. They will stop speaking in special languages. The many things that people know will finish. 9 Now, at this time, we know only a small part of everything that is true. And we can tell other people only a small part of the messages that come from God. 10 Now, we have only a part of what God wants to give to us. But the time will come when he will give everything to us completely. Then we will not have only a part any longer.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child thinks. I understood only what a child understands. But now that I am a man, I have stopped being like a child. 12 Now we see things as if we were looking at them in a dark mirror. What we see is not clear. But the time will come when we will see everything clearly. Now we know some things, but then we will understand all things. God knows us and he understands us completely. And we will understand like that too, then.

13 So, there are three things that continue. We continue to believe God. We continue to hope for good things. We continue to love. But the greatest of these things is love.