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Here’s my summary of what John Piper said in this podcast: Steward the gift of introversion. Be a Bible translator or a writer to benefit others.

John Piper, “How Do Introverts Guard Against Selfishness?” Ask Pastor John (Dec 3, 2018)

What a blessing for a missionary to have the gift of evangelism or the gift of teaching, but Paul reminds us that there is an even “better way” (1 Cor. 12:31). The most important quality for a missionary is love. If missionaries don’t have love, all their evangelism and teaching is “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Perhaps their knowledge of apologetics and of theology is deep and profound, but without love, they are “nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Yes, there is even deep sacrifice which is not accompanied by love (1 Cor. 13:3).

Thomas R. Schreiner, “The Best ‘Gift’ for Missions” (Nov 8, 2018)

If you aren’t sure what your spiritual gifts are, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you give yourself to other believers in the church, you will inevitably be using your gifts.

Thomas Schreiner, “How (Not) to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts,” The Gospel Coalition (Jul 5, 2018)

John Piper, “4-Minute Clip: We Are Not All Missionaries,” Desiring God (Jun 21, 2017)

“‘Faith, hope, love’ remains, these three…”: The Best Spiritual Gifts /

Νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα

So now ‘faith, hope, love’ remains, these three…

—1 Corinthians 13:13

Consider how “faith, hope, love” are set apart in 1 Corinthians 13:13:

  • They group as “these three,” though they’re in a context in which “faith” and “hope” are not discussed.
  • The verb is singular, not plural (“remains,” not “remain”).1
  • There is no conjunction separating the three (“faith, hope, love,” not “faith, hope and love”).

The emphasis of this verse is “love.” Paul shows that it is supreme with the beautiful language of 1 Corinthians 13. Why do faith and hope go with love here? “Faith, hope, love” does not make sense as a conclusion unless the three were an established unit in Paul’s teaching to the Corinthian believers.2 The grammar says as much.

“Faith, hope, love,” is a category of gifts that is “better” (12:30) than all the spiritual gifts mentioned in this section (chapters 12–14). This triad, or triplet, is a set of gifts for all believers. Paul contrasts them with other gifts which the Spirit gives individually, like prophesy, tongues and knowledge (12:11). The other gifts are also given temporarily, but the three “remains” into Christian maturity (13:8–13).

Paul puts the three on a pedestal, so to speak. Love is among these better gifts, and is the “best.” Love is what makes every other spiritual gift good to build up others in the church (chapter 14). Love is what makes us most like God, whom we are coming to know fully (13:12). To lift love beyond compare, Paul puts it in the good company of these universal and abiding gifts of the Spirit, “faith, hope, love.”

  1. Sometimes plural Greek nouns that are neuter take singular verbs, but these three nouns are feminine. The adjective “three” is neuter and could govern the verb. Commentators and translations differ. The other points stand.

  2. Paul could have given this previous teaching when he was with the Corinthians (Acts 18:1–11) or in a previous letter (1 Cor. 5:9). “Faith, hope, love” was present in Paul’s other teachings, from early (1 Thess. 1:3) to late (Col. 1:4–5).