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"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [love]" (1 Cor. 13:13).

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love" (1 John 4:8).

The Bible says that God is love. It also says that love is even greater than faith or hope. Well, since God is love, then we need to know what love is—that is, the God-kind of love.

In First Corinthians 13:13, the King James Version of the Bible translates the word "love" as charity. Actually, it is to be regretted that the word "agape" was translated as charity because it doesn't really express the full meaning of the Greek word that is used in this verse.

According to the dictionary, the word "charity" means a benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity. But the actual Greek word that is used here is "agape," which means the love of God. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the word "agape" is translated love instead of charity.

For example, in First John 4:8, the Bible literally says, "God is agape." In other words, God is love. So the word "agape" means the God-kind of love.

What is agape or the love of God? Before I answer that, let me show you something interesting about the love of God. The Bible says that love is greater than either hope or faith (1 Cor. 13:13). Why is God's love greater than hope or faith?

Well, first of all, faith won't work without love. In other words, faith is dependent on love in order to work. Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

You can readily see that love would have to be greater if faith won't work without it. It takes love to make faith work.

And then, second, faith won't work without hope. The New English translation of Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith gives substance to our hopes." You have to hope for something before your faith can give substance to it. So faith is also dependent on hope. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

You see, if you don't hope for anything, your faith can't work because it has no goal or object to believe God for. Therefore, faith can't work without hope. Also, faith is dependent on love in order to work. That's why the Bible says that love is greater than either hope or faith (1 Cor. 13:13).
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [the God-kind of 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 charity [the God-kind of 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 charity [the God-kind of love], it profiteth me nothing.
(1 Cor. 13:1-3)
The Bible says that even if all the gifts of the Spirit manifested through us, without God's love, it wouldn't profit us anything! It would be as nothing at all. Think about that!

If we understood all mysteries and possessed all knowledge and all faith, but we didn't have God's love operating in us and flowing through us, it wouldn't profit us anything! Even giving to the poor and self-sacrifice are nothing unless we are motivated by love.

Nothing you do will profit you unless it's done from the motive of God's love. You can readily see why the God-kind of love is so important and why the Bible says it's greater than faith and hope.

Source: Love: The Way to Victory by Kenneth E. Hagin.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth E. Hagin
Web site: RHEMA
Rev. Hagin served in Christian ministry for nearly 70 years and was known as the "father of the modern faith movement." His teachings and books are filled with vivid stories that show God's power and truth working in his life and the lives of others.

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