The Way of Love

‘Madonna in Gloria’ (part) – Antoniazzo Romano – WikiArt

One of the oldest and most beautiful poem about love is found in the New Testament. This is a very human and touching piece, for both its modernity and universality. It was co-written 2000 years ago by Sosthenes and Paul. Paul, born Saul of Tarsus (5 – 64/65 AD), was one of Jesus’ apostles, who disseminated his teachings and founded some of the first Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe. The poem is excerpted from the book ‘1 Corinthians 13’, and is presented here in the ‘World English Bible’ translation. This soaring piece presents all the qualities found in love. Some of its verses became famous over the years. The quote “Through a glass darkly”, (not appearing in this translation) inspired the title of a film by Ingmar Bergman and many other artworks in fields as diverse as poetry, plays, novels, songs, essays or television series. Many other verses of the poems were also quoted in similar works. Behind its apparent simplicity, I find the poem to have a profound meaning that confers it the quality of a prayer. I hope you will enjoy


If I speak with the languages of men and of angels,
but don’t have love, I have become
sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know
all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but don’t have love, I am nothing.

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.

Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy.
Love doesn’t brag, is not proud,
doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,
doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked,
takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in
unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies,
they will be done away with.
Where there are various languages,
they will cease.
Where there is knowledge,
it will be done away with.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
but when that which is complete has come,
then that which is partial will be done away with.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I felt as a child, I thought as a child.
Now that I have become an adult,
I have put away childish things.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, [through a glass darkly]
but then face to face.
Now I know in part,
but then I will know fully,
even as I was also fully known.

But now faith, hope,
and love remain — these three.
The greatest of these is love.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (World English Bible)



Poem by Sosthenes and Paul the Apostle (1st century AD)

Painting by Antoniazzo Romano (1430-1510)



1 Corinthians 13 (Wikipedia)
Paul the Apostle (Wikipedia)
Bible Gateway
Antoniazzo Romano (Wikipedia)