Friday, April 14, 2006

Faith, Hope, and Charity- Part 1

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, 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 charity, 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 charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity 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. Charity 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, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. - 1Corinthians 13

Paul writes to the church at Corinth, expressing the necessity of faith, hope, and charity. Among these three virtues, the greatest is charity. In today's world, "charity" is defined as a donation to some organization or cause (such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army). But here in 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing...

So what is "charity"? Let's look at the Scripture's definition:

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. -Colossians 3:14

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: -Timothy 1:5

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:5-7

So far, we note that charity is one of the greatest virtues a Christian can have. Charity itself is our godly love to fellow man; it is the brotherly kindness and compassion we show to others.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth. -2 Thessalonians 1:3

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. - 1 Peter 4: 8-9

Charity can be defined Biblically as "hospitality" or "brotherly kindness" towards "others". We are commanded to be forgiving, compassionate, understanding, and kind towards fellow believers and "strangers."

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church.... - 3 John 5:6

Charity is a specific kind of love. Throughout the Scriptures the word "charity" is defined as the love we bestow on one another. Charity is not the love we bestow on God, but a specific love we must show to men. Charity is a hard virtue to perform... how many times do we argue, hold a grudge, lose our tempers, and do all sorts of unkind things to one another? How often do we ignored strangers we see in church? By ourselves we can not hope to maintain charity and the "bond of perfectness", but with the aid of our Lord and Savior we can grow each day in this Christian virtue.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. -Ephesians 4: 15-16


  • Thanks for the encouraging passages and words. It's a good reminder for all of us on this Good Friday. Last, happy Easter as we celebrate the resurrection.
    Sola Deo Gloria!

    By Blogger Mercy Now, at 12:29 PM  

  • Great post!

    Charity/hospitality is also "feeding" the souls of those who are hungry, not just feeding their bodies.

    Great post once again and Happy Easter, man! :)

    By Blogger Matt A., at 3:24 PM  

  • Superb post. I especially liked how you turned to scipture to define charity.

    Have a blessed Easter,

    By Blogger Wholesome Works, at 10:28 PM  

  • I could be mistaken, I don't have my Strong's handy, but I believe the Greek word used in 1st Cor. 13 is agape.

    Agape is the kind of love God shows for us.

    By Blogger Rabenstrange, at 1:49 AM  

  • Great post!

    Happy Easter!!

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 10:48 AM  

  • Wonderful explanation and choice of scriptures! Happy Easter!

    By Blogger Elizabeth Ellen Moore, at 12:25 PM  

  • Hey Zach,
    Not that you don't have enough to read already, but Jonathan Edwards wrote a book called Charity and Its' Fruits. Long read but a Great book. He covered this very topic.
    Great post!

    By Anonymous Aunt Diane, at 9:36 PM  

  • Thanks, Aunt Diane. I'll have to see if I can find it and read it. :)

    By Blogger MVB, at 11:20 PM  

  • Hey Zach!
    I'm going to Journalism!!

    By Anonymous Vevy, at 11:15 PM  

  • AWESOME!!! :) Can't wait to meet you!

    By Blogger MVB, at 11:20 PM  

  • Great post, Zach! But I'm with Rabenstrange in that the better translation is "love", not "charity"...

    Good post all the same, though! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:51 PM  

  • Check out a really cool new Pro-LIFE website for this generation –
    For everyone born after Jan 22,1973- this is your place in the pro-life movement. Read what others feel about abortion and connect with other like-minded pro-life people in your area. Really cool Gear there also, free art downloads, crazy pro-abort quotes, and plenty of research info for papers. Also located on My Space, make it a friend if you have a My Space page:

    Check it out at -

    By Anonymous Life Dynamics, Inc, at 10:49 AM  

  • Hey MVB, I think you should update! And I think you should enter the contest on my blog - when you have the time, of course! :-)

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 8:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home