1 Corinthians 13:3
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 profits me nothing.
The Jews, according to Maimomides, reckoned eight degrees of charity in almsgiving. The first was, to give, but with reluctance or regret. The second was, to give cheerfully, but not in proportion the need of the recipient. The third was, to give proportionately to the need, but not without solicitation and entreaty on the part of the poor. The fourth was, to give unsought and unsolicited, but putting the gift into the hand of the receiver, and that even in the presence of others, exciting in him the painful feeling of shame. The fifth was, to give in such a way that the beneficiary should know his benefactor without being known of him, as those did who folded money in the corners of their cloaks that the poor as they passed might take it unperceived. The sixth was, to give knowing the objects of the giver's bounty, but remaining unknown to them, after the manner of these who conveyed their alms by some secret agency to the dwellings of the indigent, making it impossible for them to ascertain the source of their relief. The seventh was, to give both unknowing and unknown, like those benevolent persons who deposited their gifts privately in a place prepared for that purpose in the temple and in every synagogue as you are supposed to do in the alms-boxes at the door, from which the most respectable poor families were regularly supplied without ostentation or observation. The eighth and most meritorious of all was, to anticipate charity by preventing poverty, to help the worthy brother by satisfying the claims of his creditors, assisting him to redeem some forfeited portion of his inheritance, furnishing him remunerative employment, or putting him in the way of obtaining it, so that he should be able to secure an honest livelihood without the hard necessity of holding out an empty hand to the rich. These were the eight steps in their golden stairway of charity, but the highest of them does not rise to the level of the Pauline platform; for a man might give all his goods to feed the poor, and yet have no charity; and wanting this, his utmost alms, showered from the top of the ideal stairs, shall profit him nothing.
(J. Cross, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.