Read: 1 Corinthians 13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three. (v. 13)
Theologians use the fancy word perichoresis to describe how the three persons of the Trinity relate to each other. A common definition of that complex word is, “A doctrine of reciprocal inherence.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t say things are “reciprocally inherent” very often. Or ever. The etymology of reciprocal in Greek means “going around.” Many modern interpreters simply say that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit dance with each other.
In a similar way, faith, hope, and love are caught up in a dance with each other. (If dancing makes you uncomfortable, you may stick with reciprocal inherence.) We know from 1 Corinthians 13 that faith, hope, and love abide as distinctive qualities of the Christian life. I doubt that it’s possible to have faith without hope, and love without faith or hope doesn’t seem like love at all.
Want to have a little fun with your Bible? Look up 1 Thessalonians 1:3. And Galatians 5:5-6. Now go to Hebrews 6:10-12. Finally, turn to 1 Peter 1:21-22. Do you see it? Faith, hope, and love dance with each other in each of these passages. That’s a lot of reciprocal inherence! Paul goes so far as to call the hope the Thessalonians display steadfast, an adjective used throughout the Old Testament (see Psalm 118) to describe the love of God. The dance goes on! —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, meditate on faith, hope, and God’s steadfast love.
About the Author
Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.