Corinthians 13 – “It is not the object discovered that matters, but the light that falls on it.”

The OED on the etymology and usage of ‘charity’:

Two early types of this word appear in English: (1) cariteð , -teþ , (2) charité ; these are adoptions respectively of Old Northern French caritedh , -tet(þ) , (later, and modern Picard carité ), and the somewhat later central Old French charité (earlier charitet ); which correspond to Provençal caritat , Spanish caridad , Italian carità , semi-popular adaptations of Latin cāritāt-em in its theological sense. In truly popular use Latin cāritāt-em had already become, through popular Latin *cartāt-em , Provençal cartat , Old Northern French kierté , Old French chierté , modern French cherté . But this had the general Latin senses of ‘dearness (high price), fondness, affection’, as well as those belonging specially to New Testament and Christian use; subsequently, to indicate the latter more distinctly, the Latin word, familiar in the language of the church, passed anew into popular use, and undergoing (from its later date) less phonetic change, gave caritat , caritet , charitet , charité . Mixture of the two forms gave the type cherité , and, in English at least, the two words were not kept altogether distinct in use. See cherte n.The Greek word for ‘love’ in the New Testament (occasionally also in the Septuagint) is ἀγάπη , from root of verb ἀγαπᾶν ‘to treat with affectionate regard’, ‘to love’; in the Vulgate, ἀγάπη is sometimes rendered by dilectio (noun of action < diligere to esteem highly, love), but most frequently by caritas , ‘dearness, love founded on esteem’ (never by amor ). Wyclif and the Rhemish version regularly rendered the Vulgate dilectio by ‘love’, caritas by ‘charity’. But the 16th cent. English versions from Tyndale to 1611, while rendering ἀγάπη sometimes ‘love’, sometimes ‘charity’, did not follow the dilectio and caritas of the Vulgate, but used ‘love’ more often (about 86 times), confining ‘charity’ to 26 passages in the Pauline and certain of the Catholic Epistles (not in 1 John), and the Apocalypse, where the sense is specifically 1c below. In the Revised Version 1881, ‘love’ has been substituted in all these instances, so that it now stands as the uniform rendering of ἀγάπη, to the elimination of the distinction of dilectio and caritas introduced by the Vulgate, and of ‘love’ and ‘charity’ of the 16th cent. versions.

“charity, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2021. Web. 15 June 2021.

Note the etymology of ‘love’:

Cognate with Old Frisian luve love, Old Saxon luƀa love, inclination, Old High German luba love, inclination (also in the compound muotluba , mōtluba love), and also with Gothic (weak feminine) -lubō (in brōþru-lubō brotherly love) < the same Germanic base as Old Saxon luƀig willing, pious, Old English lufen hope, Gothic lubains hope, and probably also lof n. (and hence love v.2); these are probably all formed on the zero-grade of an Indo-European base, other ablaut grades of which are also widely represented in Germanic languages. Compare (from the e-grade) lief adj. and the derived verb forms Old English lēofian to be or become dear, Middle Dutch lieven to be dear (to), to please (Dutch †lieven , superseded by liefhebben to love, to cherish, lit. ‘to have dear’), Old High German liobōn , liuben to make agreeable or dear, to be agreeable or dear, to desire, to do (someone) good (Middle High German lieben to make agreeable or dear, to be or become agreeable or dear, to be pleasing (to), to show kindness (to), German lieben to love, to be fond of), and also Middle Dutch liefde agreeableness, affection, friendship (Dutch liefde love), Middle Dutch lieve agreeableness, affection, friendship, love, Old High German liubī , also liuba the pleasure that one experiences for or through something, agreeableness, fondness, kindliness, goodwill (Middle High German liebe , in the same range of senses, German Liebe love); the o-grade of the same base is probably shown by leave n.1belief n.believe v.Outside Germanic the same Indo-European base is probably shown by classical Latin lubet (also libet ) it is pleasing, lubīdō (also libīdō ) desire, Old Church Slavonic ljubiti to love, ljubŭ dear, ljuby (genitive ljubŭve ) love, Old Russian ljubiti to love (Russian ljubit′ ), ljub′′ dear (Russian ljub ), ljuby (genitive ljub′′ve ) love (Russian ljubov′ ), Sanskrit lubh- to be confused, (later) to feel avid desire, to allure, lobha (noun) desire, greed. (For a very different account of the relationships among the various Germanic words, based on the hypothesis that leaf n.1 is also related, see F. Kluge Etymologisches Wörterbuch (ed. 24, 2002) at liebLaubLobglauben, etc.) In Old English usually a strong feminine (lufu ); however, a weak feminine form (lufe ) is also attested.

“love, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2021. Web. 15 June 2021.

Now compare different translations of Corinthians 13, one of the most famous passages in the Bible:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, 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, 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, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Corinthians 13 The King James Bible

Though I spake with the tongues of men and angels, and yet had no love, I were even as sounding brass: and as a tinkling cymbal. And though I could prophesy, and understood all secrets, and all knowledge: yee, if I had all faith so that I could move mountains out of their places, and yet had no love, I were nothing. And though I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and though I gave my body even that I burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is courteous. Love envieth not. Love doth not frowardly, swelleth not, dealeth not dishonestly, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh not evil rejoiceth not in iniquity: but rejoiceth in the truth, suffereth all things, believeth all things hopeth all things, endureth in all things. Though that prophesying fail, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge vanish away: yet love falleth never away. For our knowledge is unperfect, and our prophesying is unperfect: but when that which is perfect is come: then that which is unperfect shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I imagined as a child: but as soon as I was a man I put away childishness. Now we see in a glass even in a dark speaking: but then shall we see face to face. Now I know unperfectly: but then shall I know even as I am known. Now abideth faith, hope, and love, even these three: but the chief of these is love.

Corinthians 13 The Tyndale Bible (the first text in the selection)

THough I spake with the tunges of men and angels, and yet had not lo∣ue, I were euen as sowndinge brasse, or as a tynklinge Cymball. * And though I coulde prophecy, & vnderstode all secretes, and all knowlege, and had all faith▪ so * that I coulde moue moūtaynes out of their pla∣ces, and yet had not loue, I were nothinge. And though I bestowed all my goodes to fede ye poore, and though I gaue my body euen that I burned, and yet haue not loue, it profiteth me nothinge. Loue is pacient & curteous, loue envyeth not, loue doth not frowardly, is not puft vp, dealeth not dishonestly, * seketh not hir awne, is not prouoked vnto anger, thynketh not euell, reioyseth not ouer iniquyt•, but re∣ioyseth in the trueth, beareth all thinges, be∣leueth all thinges, hopeth all thinges, suf∣freth all thinges. [ B] Though prophecienges fayle, or tunges ceasse, or knowlege perishe, yet loue falleth neuer awaye. For oure knowlege is vnpar∣fecte, and oure prophecienge is vnparfecte. But whā that which is perfecte, commeth, then shal the vnparfecte be done awaye. Whan I was a childe, I spake as a childe, I vnderstode as a childe, I ymagined as a childe. But as soone as I was a man, I put awaye childishnes. Now we se thorow a glasse in a darke speakynge, but thē shal we se face to face. Now I knowe vnperfectly: but thē shal I knowe euē as I am knowne. Now abydeth faith, hope, loue, these thre: but the greatest of these is loue.

Corinthians 13 The Coverdale Bible

THough I speake with the tonges of men and of angels: and haue no loue. [unspec A] I am as soundynge brasse: or as a tynck∣lynge cymball. And * though I coulde prophesy, and vnderstande all secretes, and all knowledge: yee ☞ yf I haue all fayth▪ so y I could moue moūtaynes out of their places, and yet haue no loue, I am nothyng And though I bestowe al my goodes to fede the poore, and though I giue my body euen that I burne, and yet haue no loue, it profy¦teth me nothynge. Loue suffreth long, and is curteous. Loue [unspec B] enuyeth not. Loue doth not frowardly, swel¦leth not, dealeth not dishonestly * seketh not her owne, is not prouoked to anger, thīketh no euyl, reioyseth not in iniquitie: but reioy∣seth in the trueth, suffreth all thynges: bele∣ueth all thynges, hopeth all thynges, endu∣reth al thynges. Though that prophesyin∣ges fayle, other tonges cease, or knowledge vanysshe awaye, yet loue falleth neuer a∣waye. [unspec C] For ☞ our knowledge is vnperfect, and our prophesyinge is vnperfecte. But when that which is {per}fect is come, then that which is vnperfecte, shalbe done awaye. When I was a chylde, I spake as a chylde, I vnder∣stode as a chylde, I ymagyned as a chylde. But assone as I was a man, I put awaye chyldishnes. Nowe we se in a glasse, euen in a darcke speakyng: but then shall we se face to face. Nowe I know vnperfectly: but then shal I knowe euen as I am knowen. Now abydeth fayth, hope, and loue, euē these thre: but the ☞ chefe of these is loue.

Corinthians 13 The Great Bible (the third text in the selection)

THogh I speake with the tongues of men anda Angels, and haue not loue, I am (as) sounding brasse, or a tinkling cymbal. And thogh I had the (gift) of prophecie, and knewe all secretes and all knowledge, yea, if hadb all faith, so that I colde remoue *mountaines and had not loue, I were no∣thing. And thogh I fede the poore with all my goods, and thogh I giue my bodie, that I be burned, and haue not loue, it profiteth me nothing. Loue suffreth long: it is bountiful: loue en∣uieth not: loue doeth not boast it self: it is not puffed vp:* It disdaineth not: it seketh not her owne things: it is not prouoked to anger: it thin∣keth not euil: It reioyceth not in iniquitie, but reioyceth in the trueth. It Suffreth all things: it beleuethc all things: it hopeth all things: it endurethd all things. Loue doeth neuer fall away, thogh that pro phecyings be abolished, or the tōgues cease or knowledge vanish away. Fore we knowef in parte, and we“ prophe∣cie in parte. But when that which is perfite, is come, then that which is in parte, shalbe abolished. When I was a childe, I spake as a childe, I vnderstode as a childe, I thoght as a childe: but when I became a mā, I put away childish things. For now we seg through a glasse darkely: but thē (shal we se) face to face. Now I know in parte: but then shall knowe euen as I am“ knowen. And now abideth faith, hope (and) loue, (e∣uen) these thre: but theh chiefest of these (is) loue.

Corinthians 13 The Geneva Bible (the fourth text in the selection)

THough I speake with the tongues of men and of (a) Angels,* and haue not loue, I am [as] soundyng brasse, or [as] a tincklyng Cimball: And * though I coulde prophesie, and vnderstoode all secretes, and all knowledge: Yea, ☞ if I had all fayth, * so that I coulde moue moun∣taynes out of their places, and haue not loue, I were nothyng. And though I bestowe all my goodes to feede the poore, and though I geue my body that I burned, and haue not loue, it profiteth me nothyng. [unspec B] 4 Loue suffreth long, and is curteous: Loue enuieth not, loue doth not fro∣wardely, swelleth not, Dealeth not dishonestlie, * seeketh not her owne, is not prouoked to anger, thynketh none euyll, Reioyceth not in iniquitie: but reioy∣ceth in the trueth: Suffreth all thynges, beleueth all thynges, hopeth all thynges, endureth all thynges. Though ye prophesiynges fayle, other tongues ceasse, or knowledge vanishe away, [yet] loue falleth neuer away. ☞For our knowledge is vnperfect, [unspec C] and our prophesiyng is vnperfect: But when that which is perfect, is come, then that which is vnperfect shal∣be done away. When I was a chylde, I spake as a childe, I vnderstode as a childe, I ima∣gined as a chylde: But assoone as I was a man, I put away chyldishnesse. Nowe we see in a (b) glasse, euen in a darke speakyng: but then [shall we see] face to face. Nowe I knowe vnper∣fectly: but then shall I knowe euen as I am knowen. Nowe abydeth fayth, hope, and loue, these three, but the chiefe of these is loue.

Corinthians 13 The Bishops Bible (the eighth text in the selection)

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