Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:8
“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8
Now that Paul has completed his picture of what love truly is, he now moves on to the permanence of this true love. And he begins by saying that love never fails. The idea in the Greek is that it will never come to an end; it will never pass away. In fact. the very essence of God is love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8. God is love. John also said here that if we do not love, then we cannot know God, for He is love. And because God is eternal, love is eternal. “Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2 The phrase “from everlasting to everlasting” is saying from eternity past to eternity future. So, love has always been and will always be because God has always been and always will be.
Now, in contrast to love, prophesies will fail. Whether the word implies predicting future events or teaching the truth of Christianity that God has given to us, they shall all be done away with. Though the accurate prophecies and gifted teachings are useful today, they will be of no use in the eternal kingdom of God. And the same can be said for the gift of tongues. They have a good use today, for example Acts 2 and the day of Pentecost. However, as with tongues, they will also cease. And the last thing he brings up is knowledge. There are some who believe this refers to human knowledge of the arts, sciences and all human knowledge in this world. And there is some credibility in this interpretation. However, since the first two attributes mentioned are spiritual gifts, I tend to think this refers to the gift of knowledge found earlier in this epistle. “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;” 1 Corinthians 12:7-8. This gift refers to knowledge of the scriptures as well as knowledge of the things of this age. Both of these were given by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals to aid in our going into all the world to spread the good news. However, once we enter the eternal realm there will be no use for these either.
He then completes this idea with the following. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10. What we know, we only know in part. What we have now is but little knowledge even of earthly, and much less of heavenly things. Even the prophets have been able to share only a small amount of what is to come. But when He returns, and we enter the heavenly realm the partial knowledge goes away. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Even though much of what we experience in this life will go away, such as prophesy, tongues, earthly knowledge, and the other spiritual gifts, love will remain forever. It will become perfect and will never go away. This is what we have to look forward to upon His return. Perfect love with an eternal existence. What could be better and more beautiful?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.