Faith, Hope & Love

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Puritan Board Sophomore
'And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.' (1 Corinthians 13:13)

In 'For the Love of God:Vol 2,' the reading from D.A. Carson this morning said,'It may be that the reason love is the greatest of these three cardinal Christian virtues is that love is the only one that God exercises. Elsewhere the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8); It never says that God is faith or that God is hope.'

A couple of questions if you don't mind:
Why is love the greatest?
Will faith & hope be in heaven?

I'm aware that to many the Biblical definitions of Hebrews 11 & Romans 8 would suggest that only love will remain, yet I'm interested to hear why people would hold to the view that all three will remain.


he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think faith will be in heaven, because there won't be things unseen. And since our blessed hope is Christ, that will be delivered as well.


Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think faith will be in heaven, because there won't be things unseen. And since our blessed hope is Christ, that will be delivered as well.

This is pretty much the same thoughts that came to my mind as well.


Puritan Board Graduate
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
The context of this passage is that concerning the ignorance of the Christians in the church at Corinth regarding the relationship between gifts and graces. Paul reminds them that they can have extraordinary, phenomenal gifts and yet be destitute of love and thus be lost in their sins (vss. 1-3).
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” ( 1 John 4:8)

Paul states at the end of the chapter in verse 13 that “love is the greatest”. Why is love the greatest? Because love never fails. Love will accompany you all the way into the eternal state. Not so with all the flashy phenomenal gifts that they were desiring.

1 Corinthians 13: 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Verse eight contains a triad __ prophecy, tongues, and knowledge __ which are contrasted with another triad in verse thirteen __ faith, hope, and love. The second triad consists of things that remain, whereas the first triad consists of things that cease, fail, or vanish away.

With what are faith, hope, and love contrasted? They are contrasted with prophecy, tongues, and knowledge. It should be apparent that if we make both of these triads continue throughout this present age until Christ returns then the apostle’s intended contrast is destroyed!

Paul says that love never fails [εκπιπτω ] the word means to fall down from or out of. So the meaning is that Love will never fall from its exalted position.
• But prophecies (the extraordinary gift) shall be καταργεω “reduced to inactivity”.
• Tongues shall παυω “stop, cease, leave off”. Compare the use of the word in Heb. 10:2 and in 1Pet 4:1.
• Knowledge likewise shall be καταργεω “reduced to inactivity”. In this context just what knowledge is Paul talking about? Not spiritual and divine knowledge in general for surely there will be such knowledge hereafter in heaven as well as now on earth, and vastly more … knowledge of God, Christ, and spiritual things shall not vanish away but shall gloriously increase. By the phrase ‘knowledge shall pass away’ is meant a particular miraculous gift (see 1Cor 12:8) that was in operation in the Church of God in those days.
This knowledge was a Revelatory gift, i.e. it involved revealing directly to the possessor of the gift the mind and will of God. This is evidenced by its association with prophecy and tongues.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

Paul says that we know, literally “we are presently knowing” εκ μερους “out of that which is partial” or “out of a portion of the whole.” Knowledge and prophecy were then coming forth in the period of Partial Revelation as contrasted with Completed Revelation as is seen in the following verses.

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

“But” says Paul by way of contrast “when comes that which is perfect …” . This phrase το τελειον that which is perfect is pivotal to the interpretation of the passage. The two Greek words are Neuter in gender and should be rendered the perfect thing. Whatever Paul had in mind when he wrote το τελειον it was, in its grammatical identity something neuter. If he had in mind Christ he would no doubt have written the masculine o τελειος He who is perfect . If what he was referring to was Christ’s return he would have written the feminine η τελεια as in the feminine τη παρουσια “the coming of our Lord” (1Thess 5:23). Whatever Paul did have in mind he alludes to it with the neuter το τελειον that perfect thing.

So what is that perfect thing? The meaning of το τελειον is that which is brought to its end; finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect.

Again the question comes: what is that perfect, that completed thing that the apostle was pointing to? It must be something apposite and juxtaposed to that which is partial mentioned in the previous verse. That, as we saw, is Revelatory, and since the category of the partial is Revelation then the category of the complete must be Revelation.

That Perfect Thing is the completed, inscripturated Revelation; the finished Word of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as ... Paul here, by way of illustration, administers a rebuke to the Corinthians. They have been behaving childishly in regard to the Extraordinary Gifts in general and Speaking in Tongues in particular. He illustrates this by saying that when he was a child he spoke, understood, and thought as a child, i.e. childlishly!

When however, “he became γεγονα [perfect tense] a man ” ανηρ that is, he completely entered manhood, he remained a man and did not return to childhood. He put away childish things. So too he is telling the Corinthians that the Church would one day reach Revelatory maturity and never return to childhood again.

It is a sign of spiritual childishness to want to go back to the time of the Church’s childishness. The time of the church’s childishness was the time of the extraordinary phenomenal gifts!

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Paul gives explanation here saying “For” or “Because” “we see now, at this present time, by means of a mirror [εσοπτρον _ a piece of highly polished metal ] dimly { αινιγματι literally, in an enigma, indistinctly}…

Paul’s point is that in their day the Corinthians, along with all other believers, had an uncompleted Bible; a partially polished metal shield in which they could dimly behold themselves. James had already taken up the imagery of a mirror in reference to the Word of God saying in chapter One and verse Twenty-three of his epistle “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror εσοπτρον.
Paul again takes up this same imagery, although he employs a synonym of εσοπτρον in his second epistle to this same Corinthian church saying:

14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

So here in (13:12) Paul is showing them that in this era of partially completed revelation they see things dimly; they know things out of a part of an as yet uncompleted whole. But he points this out in order to bring out the contrast. This partiality and dimness have continued up to their present time, but….

Contrast relative to Time

“but then …” When? When that perfect thing i.e. the completed Scriptures have come. The Corinthians were seeing in their Hebrew bibles dimly, but then face to face

Contrast relative to Quality

“face to face” How? Clearly as contrasted with dimly.
This phrase “face to face” has been popularly interpreted to mean the beholding God by the saints in glory. But the phrase as used in Scripture never refers to that glorious event. Rather the biblical usage consistently refers to the clear propositional revelation of the Word of God as contrasted with the less clear revelation of visions and dreams.

Numbers 12:6 Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?"

See also __ Exodus 33:9-11, 18-23; Deuteronomy 5:1-4
Thus Paul tells the Corinthians that then, when that perfect, completed thing has come their knowing shall no longer be dim but shall possess the precision that comes from the clear propositional revelation of God’s Word inscripturated and preserved to the Church to the end of the age.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Even though the phenomenal gifts of prophecy (direct revelation from God), tongues (languages known without being learned), and knowledge (intelligence never acquired by study) would not continue to abide in the Church throughout this age, and at the end of the age faith becomes sight (2Cor 5:6-7) and hope becomes fulfillment (Rom 8:22-25), nevertheless Love continues throughout eternity.
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