What does “love never fails” mean? 


By BibleAsk Team

Love Never Fails – 1 Corinthians 13 

The apostle Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthian Church, wrote, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Genuine love never fails, and it does not wither like a flower (James 1:11; 1 Peter 1:24). When a flower has given its scent, beauty, and served its purpose, the elements of the air cause it to fall off the plant. But not so with love.  The Bible declares, that in days of trouble and hardship, as well as when all things are lovely and beautiful, love remains the same, giving its perfume of faith and hope.   

Love never fails because when it is compared with all the qualities of character, it is the one that the Bible uses to describe the very nature of God (1 John 4:7, 8, 16). This is why Paul stated that above all the gifts of the Spirit, love is the greatest. As a way of life, love is more powerful and fulfilling than the possession and exercise of the various gifts of the Spirit listed in chapter 12 (1 Corinthians 12:31).  

For example, the gift of prophecy was given by God for leading the church through the ages (Psalms 77:20; Hosea 12:13; Revelation 12:17; 19:10). When the need for this leading will no longer exist and when believers will reach their eternal home—prophecies will end. Similarly, the gift of tongues, which was a useful gift in the early church to spread the gospel to the world breaking the barriers of language, eventually it will no longer be required, so this gift will also end.  

“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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).  

The gifts of knowledge and prophecy provide only partial fulfilment of the resources of divine knowledge. This partial knowledge will seem so small in comparison to the exceeding brightness of the eternal world, as the light of a candle loses its significance when compared with the great light of the sun. Thus, Paul shows the superiority of love over the various spiritual gifts. 

Love never fails because it is the very foundation of law, and the law of God is eternal (Psalms 119:160; Matthew 5:17, 18; Luke 16:17).  Love for God and man (the summary of the law) is the ultimate expression of harmony with the divine will (Matthew 22:37–40). Love practiced in the life of the Christian is the great test of the genuineness of one’s faith (Isaiah 58:6–8; Matthew 25:34–40). To be a believer is to be like Christ, who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Christians act with charity without selfishness because God’s love is in their hearts. 

Because love never fails every believer may be assured that there can be no experience in life for which love does not have an answer; love can be always trusted to solve every problem.  Self-denying love produces unity among the believers, and this will show the world that God did send His Son into the world to save mankind (John 13:39).  

Sharing love is God’s chosen method for His people to testify to the good news of salvation (John 17:21, 23). Such love that reveals no wish to be proud but is devoted to selfless work for others, is an argument that nonbelievers cannot deny. Thus, love is demonstrated to be the greatest way of preaching the gospel and advancing the kingdom of God.  

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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