New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 speak with the tongues. Paul has just noted that there was “a more excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31) to manifest Christ than by manifesting one’s spiritual gifts. Then he first deprecates the gifts of tongues, probably because this gift was being particularly misused in the Corinthian church.
13:1 charity. It is well known that this word “charity” (Greek agape) is often translated “love” in the King James Version (more than three times as much as “charity,” in fact). In view of the almost universal misuse of the English word “love” today—generally denoting either romantic love or erotic love or possibly just a happy feeling (e.g., “I love a parade!”), it would probably be better to retain the Old English concept of “charity,” meaning a generous and unselfish concern for others. This meaning is very close to the true meaning of agape and its correlative verb forms. That is certainly the message of this famous so-called “love chapter.”
13:3 feed the poor. Thus, giving to the poor, in itself, is not “charity” as defined in this chapter. Without true Christian charity, I both “am nothing” (I Corinthians 13:2), and “have nothing.”