1 Corinthians 13:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
And if I shall dole out all my goods in food, and if I deliver up my body that I may be burned, but have not love, I profit nothing.

World English Bible
If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.

Young's Literal Translation
and if I give away to feed others all my goods, and if I give up my body that I may be burned, and have not love, I am profited nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor - This is a proof that charity, in our sense of the word, is not what the apostle means; for surely almsgiving can go no farther than to give up all that a man possesses in order to relieve the wants of others. The word ψωμιζω, which we translate to feed the poor, signifies to divide into morsels, and put into the mouth; which implies carefulness and tenderness in applying the bounty thus freely given.

And though I give my body to be burned - Ἱνα καυθησομαι· Mr. Wakefield renders this clause thus:

1. And though I give up my body so as to have cause of boasting: in vindication of which he, first, refers to Daniel 3:28; Acts 15:26; Romans 8:32; Philippians 1:20.

2. He says that there is no such word as καυθησωμαι.

3. That καυχησωμαι, that I may boast, is the reading of the Ethiopic and Coptic, and he might have added of the Codex Alexandrinus; several Greek and Latin MSS. referred to by St. Jerome; of Ephraim; and of St. Jerome himself, who translates the passage thus: Si tradidero corpus meum ut glorier: i.e. "If I deliver up my body that I may glory, or have cause of boasting."

4. He adds that burning, though a common punishment in after times, was not prevalent when this epistle was written.

Some of the foreign critics, particularly Schulzius, translate it thus: Si traderem corpus, ut mihi stigma inureretur: "If I should deliver up my body to receive a stigma with a hot iron;" which may mean, If I should, in order to redeem another, willingly give up myself to slavery, and receive the mark of my owner, by having my flesh stamped with a hot iron, and have not love, as before specified, it profits me nothing. This gives a good sense; but will the passage bear it? In the MSS. there are several various readings, which plainly show the original copyists scarcely knew what to make of the word καυθησωμαι, which they found in the text generally. The various readings are, καυθησομαι, which Griesbach seems to prefer; καυθησεται; and καυθῃ; all of which give little variation of meaning. Which should be preferred I can scarcely venture to say. If we take the commonly received word, it states a possible case; a man may be so obstinately wedded to a particular opinion, demonstrably false in itself, as to give up his body to be burned in its defense, as was literally the case with Vanini, who, for his obstinate atheism, was burnt alive at Paris, February 19th, a.d. 1619. In such a cause, his giving his body to be burned certainly profited him nothing.

"We may observe," says Dr. Lightfoot, "in those instances which are compared with charity, and are as good as nothing if charity be absent, that the apostle mentions those which were of the noblest esteem in the Jewish nation; and also that the most precious things that could be named by them were compared with this more precious, and were of no account in comparison of it.

"1. To speak with the tongues of men, among the Jewish interpreters, means, to speak the languages of the seventy nations. To the praise of Mordecai, they say that he understood all those languages; and they require that the fathers of the Sanhedrin should be skilled in many languages that they may not be obliged to hear any thing by an interpreter. Maim. in Sanh., c. 2.

"2. To speak with the tongues of angels, they thought to be not only an excellent gift, but to be possible; and highly extol Jochanan ben Zaccai because he understood them: see the note on 1 Corinthians 13:1.

"3. To know all mysteries and all knowledge was not only prized but affected by them. Of Hillel, the elder, they say he had eighty disciples: thirty who were worthy to have the Holy Spirit dwell upon them, as it did upon Moses; thirty who were worthy that the sun should stop his course for them, as it did for Joshua; and there were twenty between both. The greatest of all was Jonathan ben Uzziel; the least was Jochanan ben Zaccai. He omitted not (i.e. perfectly understood) the Scripture, the Mishna, the Gemara, the idiotisms of the law, and the scribes, traditions, illustrations, comparisons, equalities, gematries, parables, etc.

"4. The moving or rooting up of mountains, which among them signified the removing of the greatest difficulties, especially from the sacred text, they considered also a high and glorious attainment: see the note on Matthew 21:21. And of his salvation, who had it, they could not have formed the slightest doubt. But the apostle says, a man might have and enjoy all those gifts, etc., and be nothing in himself, and be nothing profited by them."

The reader will consider that the charity or love, concerning which the apostle speaks, is that which is described from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, inclusive: it is not left to the conjectures of men to find it out. What the apostle means is generally allowed to be true religion; but if he had not described it, this true religion would have been as various as the parties are who suppose they have it. Let the reader also observe that, not only the things which are in the highest repute among the Jews, but the things which are in the highest repute among Christians and Gentiles are those which the apostle shows to be of no use, if the love hereafter described be wanting. And yet, who can suppose that the man already described can be destitute of true religion, as he must be under an especial influence of God; else, how,

1st, could he speak all the languages of men? for this was allowed to be one of the extraordinary gifts of God's Spirit.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

though I bestow.

Matthew 6:1-4 Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven...

Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Luke 18:22,28 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said to him, Yet lack you one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor...

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor...

Luke 21:3,4 And he said, Of a truth I say to you, that this poor widow has cast in more than they all...

John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Philippians 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will...

though I give.

Daniel 3:16-28 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter...

Matthew 7:22,23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils...

John 13:37 Peter said to him, Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for your sake.

John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean you to weep and to break my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only...

Philippians 1:20,21 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always...

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.


Isaiah 57:12 I will declare your righteousness, and your works; for they shall not profit you.

Jeremiah 7:8 Behold, you trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is...

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats...

James 2:14-17 What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him...

What Lasts
'Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three....'--1 COR. xiii. 8, 13. We discern the run of the Apostle's thought best by thus omitting the intervening verses and connecting these two. The part omitted is but a buttress of what has been stated in the former of our two verses; and when we thus unite them there is disclosed plainly the Apostle's intention
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Now, and Then
There are some things which we count very precious now, which will soon be of no value to us whatever. There are some things that we know or think we know, and we pride ourselves a good deal upon our knowledge; but when we shall become men we shall set no more value upon that knowledge than a child does upon his toys when he grows up to be a man. Our spiritual manhood in heaven will discard many things which we now count precious, as a full grown man discards the treasures of his childhood. And there
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Charity and Loneliness.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.-I COR. xiii. 13. The possession of this Divine Charity often necessitates walking in a lonely path. Not merely in opposition and persecution, but alone in it, and here, again, Jesus, who was the personification of Divine lore, stands out as our great example. He was emphatically alone, and of the people there was none with Him. Even the disciples whom He had drawn nearest to Him, and to whom He had tried
Catherine Booth—Godliness

Revival in the Home
Thousands of years ago, in the most beautiful Garden the world has ever known, lived a man and a woman. Formed in the likeness of their Creator, they lived solely to reveal Him to His creation and to each other and thus to glorify Him every moment of the day. Humbly they accepted the position of a creature with the Creator--that of complete submission and yieldedness to His will. Because they always submitted their wills to His, because they lived for Him and not for themselves, they were also completely
Roy Hession and Revel Hession—The Calvary Road

Cross References
Daniel 3:28
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

Matthew 6:2
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

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