I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understanding all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains – but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned – but if I have no love, this does me no good.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish of irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the Truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience will never fail.
Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.
When I was a child, my speech, feelings and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am a man, I have no more use of childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete – as complete as God’s knowledge of me.
Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 1-13.
And so it goes.