If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them, and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn't love others, I would simply be making a noise. If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would it do? Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love. If I gave everything I have to the poor people, and I were burned alive for preaching the gospel, but didn't love others, it would be of no value whatever.
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth winds its way. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground and defending him.
All the special gifts and powers from God will some day come to an end, but love goes on for ever. Someday prophecy, and speaking in unknown languages, and special knowledge — these gifts will disappear.
Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the inspired preaching of those most gifted is still so poor. But when we have made her perfect and complete, then the need for these inadequate special gifts will come to an end, and they will disappear.
It's like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away childish things.
In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in the poor Mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees in the my heart right now.
There are three things that remain — faith, hope and love — and the greatest of these is love.