Poem of the Week # 1: I Corinthians 13

Yup, it is one of the most over quoted passages of the Bible. And yes, you’ll get plenty of people trying to put it in context of the Bible and say it isn’t quite as fuzzy and happy as it first seems. But skip past that, and just enjoy one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve ever come across.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind;
Love envieth not;
Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
Seeketh not her own,
Is not easily provoked,
Thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.



Filed under Poem of the Week

6 responses to “Poem of the Week # 1: I Corinthians 13

  1. Pingback: The Obama Inauguration Speech Drinking Game « Crafty Odysseus

  2. Joe

    Against my better instincts, I like it 😉

    KJV I presume?

  3. zentimo

    King James, I believe, found this version with its unusual layout in a random corner of the internet.

    Although the King James Bible I have on my shelf substitutes “love” for “charity” throughout, which lessens the impact somewhat…

    Apparently in the context of the Bible, it isn’t quite so lovely…it’s actually some kind of a lecture on the ungodly ways of a particular tribe. Taken on its own though, it is pretty irresistible…

  4. Joe

    That’s the odd thing about the epistles (not the only odd thing I’m sure) – written as specific advice to specific communities on specific matters, they are now taken in the most general way. Blindness to context, regrettably, characterises the predominant readings of the Bible.

  5. zentimo

    True dat. Devil citing scripture and all that jazz. Perhaps even Corinthians shouldn’t be bandied about in that people like me do? Shame if that’s true; it’s so very pretty.

  6. Joe

    I say: take what you can get, but (as Noam Chomsky put it) “without illusions”.

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