For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The church at Corinth was founded by Paul during his second missionary journey. He was assisted in his ministry there by two Jewish believers who were fellow tradesmen. Paul as you recall was a tent maker by trade. Even though he was a Pharisee by education their traditions required they also have a trade skill in order to earn a living when needed. This section of the letter deals with spiritual gifts and the proper use of those gifts. The church at Corinth had been blessed not only with proper teaching from Paul; but also spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit. However the one thing they lacked was a genuine love and compassion for one another. As a result of their lack of love for one another, their services were disrupted with grandstanding and displays of boasting with spiritual gifts.
Many of the believers, were caught up in fleshly behavior as they tried to out perform one another for attention and recognition. They used their spiritual gifts as a means of boasting and puffing themselves up. Paul in his letter is trying to correct the problem by explaining to the congregation that the using of spiritual gifts without love is fruitless and goes against the will of God. Moreover, love is the greatest spiritual gift of all. Paul is instructing the Corinthian believers to abide in faith, hope and most of all love. Love for one another and love for the lost. Because the fulfillment of faith and hope is perfect love through Christ Jesus our Lord. Today in our fallen world we do not know perfect love first hand, rather we see glimpses of it in the life of Jesus. In addition, through the study of God’s word we can gain further understanding of God’s love as we grow in Christ. However, when we see Jesus face to face we will have complete understanding and we will have perfect love as we spend eternity with our Lord and Savior.