Paul leaves us a precious gem in his first letter to the new believers in Thessalonica. Paul's other letters share insight into this three-fold gem, and there, as we will see later, he goes deeper into the activity connected to this triad of grace.

In the apostle Paul's letters, he says a lot concerning the various aspects of faith, hope, and love. Of course, the most prominent and best known is that found in the letter to Corinth. Paul writes:

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

This final statement follows Paul's lengthy and beautiful description and definition of love.

The Holy Spirit sums up the meaning of faith quite well in the letter we know as Hebrews:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Hope finds many expressions in scripture, both in defining what hope is and in pointing to the benefits of hope. God is “the God of Hope” (Romans 15:13). Paul also describes hope as a great motivator: “[T]he plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops” (1 Corinthians 9:10).

Paul connects faith, hope, and love as a triad of activity rather than just a set of defined ideals.
One passage, however, defines the interrelationship between faith, hope, and love. In this passage, Paul connects faith, hope, and love as a triad of activity rather than just a set of defined ideals. We work as a result of our faith, love motivates our labor, and the culmination of these is an unfailing hope in Jesus and the Father. Listen to what Paul says to affirm the brothers and sisters in Thessalonica:

We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father... (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).

How beautifully these three words speak to the fullness of our Christian walk! They remind us that our discipleship is no fragmented set of endeavors, no set of laws to fulfill, and no heavy burden to bear. Rather, life in Jesus is an invigorating union of trust-producing, heart-fulfilling and hope-supported power. If the whole of the Law and the Prophets is summed up in loving God and man (Matthew 22:27-40), then the whole path to doing so is summed up in lives filled with faith, love, and hope. Love may well be the “greatest of these,” but it does not stand alone!