Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13:13

Introduction to Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Bible, a cornerstone of Christian belief, encompasses a variety of books, each imparting its own message and purpose. It addresses a wide range of themes, offering guidance to believers in their spiritual journey and everyday life. In this discussion, we delve into one of the most cherished and frequently cited verses from the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13:13 from the New International Version (NIV), which states:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13:13


The First Epistle to the Corinthians, more commonly known as 1 Corinthians, is one of the letters written by the Apostle Paul. Believed to have been penned around 53-54 AD, it addresses various issues in the early Christian church in Corinth. This church, like many early Christian communities, was navigating its faith amidst a diverse and often challenging socio-cultural environment.

1 Corinthians is rich in teachings about Christian living, church order, and spiritual gifts. It emphasizes the importance of unity, love, and the proper use of spiritual gifts in the church. The 13th chapter, where this verse is located, is often referred to as the “Love Chapter” and is renowned for its eloquent and profound description of Christian love.

Verse Analysis

1 Corinthians 13:13 culminates the discourse on love by emphasizing three cardinal virtues: faith, hope, and love. The verse begins by highlighting that among all virtues, these three remain essential.

Faith” in this context refers to trust and belief in God and His promises. It is the foundation of a Christian’s relationship with God.

Hope” points to a confident expectation of what God has promised, particularly regarding salvation and the future God has prepared for believers.

“Love,” as elaborated in the preceding verses of the chapter, is described as patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, and always persevering. Paul elevates love as the greatest virtue, surpassing even faith and hope.

The theological significance of this verse lies in its assertion that love is the highest and most enduring of Christian virtues. While faith and hope are vital, love is paramount because it reflects the character of God and is central to Christian living.


Different Christian denominations universally acknowledge the importance of this verse, though interpretations may vary. Most agree that love, as described in this chapter, is a divine attribute reflected in human actions. It is seen as an essential part of Christian ethics, transcending and encompassing all other virtues.

The verse complements other Biblical teachings on the nature of God as love (1 John 4:8), the importance of love in spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12), and the primacy of love in Christian ethics (Matthew 22:37-40).

Application in Daily Life

For believers, this verse serves as a call to prioritize love in their daily lives. This means expressing patience, kindness, and selflessness in interactions with others, mirroring the love of God.

In practical terms, it encourages believers to build relationships based on this divine love, extending it to all aspects of life, including family, community, and even enemies.

For personal spiritual growth, it reminds believers to cultivate a heart of love, reflecting God’s love in their actions and attitudes.


In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 13:13 succinctly captures the essence of Christian moral and ethical teaching, highlighting the supremacy of love among all virtues. It’s not just a call to understand the nature of divine love but to embody it in every aspect of life. This verse serves as a timeless reminder of the core values of Christianity, guiding believers in their spiritual walk and daily interactions. The enduring message of this verse inspires continuous study and practical application of the Bible’s teachings, enriching personal faith and positively impacting the world.

5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13:13

What Are the Three Virtues Mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13?

The three virtues mentioned are faith, hope, and love. Faith refers to a strong belief in God and His promises, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and love is the deepest form of Christian compassion and care, as elaborated in the earlier verses of the chapter.

Why Is Love Considered the Greatest Among These Virtues?

Love is considered the greatest because it is the most enduring and all-encompassing virtue. While faith and hope are crucial for a Christian’s personal relationship with God, love extends beyond the individual to encompass how one interacts with others. Love reflects God’s nature and is the foundation of all Christian commandments.

Does This Verse Suggest That Faith and Hope Are Less Important Than Love?

Not exactly. The verse does not diminish the importance of faith and hope but rather places love in a position of highest honor among these virtues. Faith and hope are essential for a believer’s spiritual journey, but love is the attribute that should be most evident in a Christian’s life, as it directly impacts how one treats others.

Can This Verse Be Applied in a Secular Context, Outside of Religion?

Absolutely. The principles of love, faith, and hope are universal and can be appreciated and practiced in various contexts, including secular ones. The call to love others selflessly and foster positive relationships is relevant in all areas of life, regardless of religious belief.

How Can One Cultivate These Virtues in Their Life?

Cultivating these virtues involves both personal reflection and active practice. Spending time in prayer and meditation can help in understanding and internalizing these virtues. Practicing acts of kindness, being patient with others, maintaining a hopeful outlook, and actively choosing to trust in difficult times can help in developing these qualities.

Is the Love Mentioned in This Verse Different From Romantic Love?

Yes, the love referred to here is agape love, which is a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. It’s different from romantic love (eros) or friendship love (philia) as it focuses on selfless acts towards others, including those outside one’s immediate circle of friends and family.

How Do the Themes Expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:13 Relate to or Find Echoes in Other Verses and Passages in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 13:13 is a foundational verse in the New Testament that highlights the enduring virtues of faith, hope, and love, with an emphasis on the supremacy of love. This verse encapsulates the essential qualities that should characterize the Christian life. Let’s explore this verse and its relation to other parts of the Bible:

Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Relation: This passage in Galatians aligns with the virtues in 1 Corinthians 13:13, particularly emphasizing love as a key fruit of the Spirit, indicative of a life led by the Spirit.

Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Relation: Hebrews 11:1 provides a definition of faith, resonating with the virtue of faith in 1 Corinthians 13:13, as a foundational aspect of the Christian experience.

Romans 5:2-5 – “Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God… And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Relation: Romans 5 links the concepts of faith, hope, and love, showing how they interact and support each other in the believer’s life, similar to the triad presented in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Relation: Jesus’ commandment to love one another in John underscores the primacy of love as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13, identifying it as the key mark of a disciple.

1 Peter 1:22 – “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
Relation: Peter’s exhortation to love emphasizes the depth and sincerity of love that should exist among believers, echoing the importance of love as the greatest virtue in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

1 Corinthians 13:13 presents a powerful conclusion to the “Love Chapter” by emphasizing that faith, hope, and love are enduring virtues, with love being the greatest. This verse, along with its related scriptures, underscores the central role of love in the Christian faith, not only as an emotion but as a guiding principle for actions and relationships. The interconnectedness of faith, hope, and love is fundamental to Christian living, with love as the pinnacle of Christian virtues.

A Prayer Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:13

As we turn our hearts and minds to prayer, let us reflect on the profound message of 1 Corinthians 13:13. This verse reminds us of the enduring virtues of faith, hope, and love, with love being the greatest. In this prayer, we seek to embrace these virtues in our lives, drawing closer to the essence of what it means to live a life rooted in Christ’s teachings. May this prayer help us internalize these divine qualities and express them in our daily interactions.

Our Prayer Inspired by Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13:13

Heavenly Father,

We come before You with humble hearts, seeking Your guidance to live out the truths of Your Word. In the light of 1 Corinthians 13:13, we recognize the invaluable gifts of faith, hope, and love that You have bestowed upon us.

Lord, strengthen our faith. May it be the bedrock of our relationship with You, unwavering and steadfast. Help us trust in Your promises and Your plan, even when the path is unclear, and our human understanding falls short.

Infuse our spirits with hope, O God. In a world where despair can easily take root, let Your hope shine like a beacon in our hearts. May this hope be our anchor in both calm and stormy seas, reminding us of Your love and the future You have prepared for us.

Above all, teach us to love as You love. Pour into our hearts the love that is patient, kind, and selfless. Help us to love not just in words, but in actions and in truth. May this divine love radiate from us, touching the lives of those we encounter, bridging divides, healing wounds, and reflecting Your grace.

We ask that these virtues of faith, hope, and love be more than just words to us. Let them be the very essence of our lives, guiding our thoughts, our actions, and our words. In our journey with You and with one another, may love remain the greatest, the guiding light in all we do.

We thank You, Lord, for Your endless love and grace. Help us to grow in these virtues, that we may be true ambassadors of Your kingdom, living testimonies of Your love.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray,


Share on