Chapter 13 famously concludes with —
(1Co 13:13 ESV) 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
What few notice is that this famous triad appears elsewhere in the New Testament —
(1Th 1:2-3 ESV) We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1Th 5:8 ESV) 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
And less obviously in such passages as —
(Rom 5:1-5 ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Gal 5:5-6 ESV) 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
(Eph 4:1-6 ESV) I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Col 1:3-5b ESV) We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
It’s clear that this is no mere rhetorical flourish! These three words stand at the very heart of Paul’s theology, coursing from his earliest to his later epistles. In fact, many commentators conclude that the three words were the core of Paul’s preaching (and I agree). Continue reading