The Greatest of These is Love (2)
The Greatest of These is Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal
Without love, Paul insists, no quality, however spectacular, whether it is an endowment of spiritual gifts or religious zeal, is of any value (13:1–3). This includes being able to speak in the tongues of men and of angels. Unless this spectacular ability to speak in known and unknown languages, earthly and heavenly, is accompanied by selfless, self-sacrificial love, it is worth no more than the boom of a gong or the clang of a cymbal (13:1). Gongs and cymbals were used in pagan worship, and so Paul may be saying that without love, tongues are no better than pagan worship.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
The same applies to the gift of prophecy and to understanding all mysteries, and all knowledge as well as the gifts of faith that can move mountains (a common proverbial phrase used to describe a faith that overcomes great difficulties and accomplishes amazing things) (13:2)
13:3 If the apostle gave all his goods to feed the poor, or even gave his body to be burned, these valiant acts would not profit him unless they were done in a spirit of love. If he were merely trying to attract attention to himself and seek a name for himself, then his display of virtue would be valueless.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant