What a challenging letter Paul wrote to Corinth. It is essential we keep it all in context. Some of the early chapters show there was considerable disharmony among the believers there yet chapter 13 ends, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”. This is a verse to be remembered. There are three things that were to abide, while other things would not, they “will pass away” (verse 10) such as tongues which will cease (verse 8).

First century Christians had no Bibles; the gospels were only just being written and copied for circulation. Early church records show the Psalms were especially valued and some memorized them all and could go around reciting them. We do not have to memorize things today, and we are the poorer for this. What fills our minds and hearts today?

Now consider the three things Paul said would not pass away! They are essential, and if they are lacking then our way of life in serving Christ is doomed. The world lacks them; they have little faith and live for the here and now.

Let us focus our thoughts on the future. There is an important thing we may not realize. There will come a time when faith and hope will not abide because they will no longer apply. Faith is needed in that which is unseen (1 Peter 1:8,9). Faith will be turned to sight and hope will be realized, the future will have become the present! So love will be the guiding principle for those blessed to be in God’s kingdom – truly “the greatest of these is love”. May it rule in our hearts more and more each day.

A final note: Psalm 136 tells us no less than 26 times that God’s “steadfast love endures for forever” so “give thanks to the God of heaven” with all your heart.