The Idea in Brief
The relationship between faith, hope, and love appears in correspondence to the three crowns of rewards mentioned in the New Testament. If this correspondence, or alignment, is correct, then specific nuances appear that discriminate the meaning between faith and hope.
There are three crowns of reward found in the New Testament: --the Crown of Righteousness; the Crown of Life; and the Crown of Glory. These three crowns appear in alignment with faith, hope, and love, respectively, and therefore specific nuances of meaning appear to discriminate one from the other.
The Crown of Righteousness
The Crown of Righteousness appears in the context of faith:
2 Tim 4:7-10 (NASB)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 9 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica...
The idea is keeping faith, which looks for the coming of the Lord. In contrast, Demas appears in this context as someone who has lost faith.
As the examples of Hebrews 11:1-40 illustrate, faith is God-ward. That is, the faith described in Hebrews 11:1-40 is directed toward God through the Promised made by God. So the Word of God is the means by which one exercises faith.
True Bible knowledge and true prophesy come from faith in the Word of God. That is, one gains understanding of the Word of God through faith: for example, the Word is God is by divine inspiration; therefore the Lord will illuminate His word for understanding -- compare Daniel Chapter 9, where the angel Gabriel answers Daniel's prayers for insight with 2 Tim 2:7.
Therefore, in the context of 1 Cor 13:1-13, such faith in the Word of God may result in unparalleled insights -- for example, speaking all mysteries and all knowledge of the Word of God in not just the tongues of men, but of angels as well. Such faith can move mountains; and if we understand "mountains" in the wider context of the Word of God to include the idea of human government, then such faith can overcome great human power.
The Crown of Life
The Crown of Life appears in the context of hope: that is, hope appears in the context of suffering.
Jam 1:12 (NASB)
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Rev 2:10 (NASB)
10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The idea is perseverance. While this idea does not exclude "faith" (cf. Heb 11:35-38), the idea is greater - that is, hope is the testing of faith through intense suffering.
When the Apostle Paul took his vow and then decided to travel to Jerusalem to proclaim the gospel to the Jews (Acts 18:18 and Acts 19:21), he anticipated great suffering. Notwithstanding his willingness to sacrifice his own body to save his own countryman (Rom 9:1-5), Paul's actions caused great distress to his fellow Christian believers. The believers in Ephesus cried on the beach with Paul, fearing they would never see his face again (Acts 20:36-38). Other believers in Caesarea begged him not to go into Jerusalem.
Acts 21:13 (NASB)
13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul's hope in suffering was more strong than his love with and between other believers, who included Jews (his fellow countrymen who had already had believed in Jesus).
After Paul's arrest in Jerusalem and subsequent arrival to Rome, he wrote his epistle to the Philippians. Paul wrote that "according to my earnest expectation and hope" (Phil 1:20) Christ would be exalted in his body in life or death, yet his personal preference was to be with Christ. However, Paul realized that his suffering was the means of greater hope for believers (ref. 2 Cor 1:6), and therefore, he told the Philippians that "to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake" (Phil 1:24).
While Paul did nothing "wrong" in exercising his faith to suffer and was willing to die in Jerusalem, Paul's hope in suffering now was subservient to his love with and between other believers.
The Crown of Glory
Finally, the Crown of Glory appears in the context of love.
The Apostle Peter described this reward for those who exercised their spiritual gift voluntarily and with eagerness versus any motive from compulsion or sordid gain.
1 Pet 5:1-4 (NASB)
1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
There are two examples of those who exercised their spiritual gift under compulsion which includes "lording over those allotted to your charge." The first is Diotephenes, whom the Apostle John described as an autocrat (2 Jn 1:9-10). The other is Archippus, who appeared to shirk from his spiritual gift (compare Col 4:17 with Philemon 1:2.) That is, Archippus appeared to be related to Philemon, who was the leader of the church in Colossae. Archippus therefore appeared to have some pastoral role in this church, for which he was exercising his spiritual gift voluntarily and with eagerness.
The Apostle Paul mentioned to the Corinthians that it was not the compulsive exercise of the spiritual gift, but the voluntary exercise of the spiritual gift that resulted in reward.
1 Cor 9:15-17 (NASB)
15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
Ones spiritual gift is special stewardship, which aligns with the ten minas (Matt 25:14-30) or the ten talents (Luke 19:11-27). Some of the slaves were eager, and produced much fruit; others were compulsive, and hid their spiritual gift. The result was reward or the lack of reward.
Faith and hope are Godward, and they may function independent of direct love toward other Christians. Examples of such great faith without love include: deep insight into the Word of God with no ensuing edification for others; personal experience with God through untranslated tongues that otherwise mean nothing to anyone; proclamation of the Word of God to move great masses of people ("moving mountains"), but at the one-on-one level you are autocratic and compulsive. Examples of great hope without love include the willingness to sacrifice ones self for the gospel (as was the case of Paul going to Jerusalem) notwithstanding the intense grief caused to fellow believers. These exercises of faith and hope are not "wrong" per se, and to some degree may even result in the Crown of Righteousness and the Crown of Life, respectively; but in tandem with love, they become greater, and therefore there is the Crown of Glory.
The Crown of Glory is the exercise of ones spiritual gift voluntarily and with eagerness to edify others. (Thus while faith and hope appear more Godward, love would be more man-ward.) In this regard, the exercise of ones spiritual gift is not affected by compulsion, autocratic power, self-aggrandizement, or greediness for money. In this particular respect, the Crown of Glory is asymmetrical, because this reward does not come for being the first, but for being the last.
In summary, if the Crown of Righteousness is heavenly reward cum laude, and the Crown of Life is heavenly reward magna cum laude; then the Crown of Glory would be heavenly reward summa cum laude. This latter reward is for those who place edification of others first, and therefore they are "last" in the temporal sense. In the eternal sense, however, those with the Crown of Glory will have special distinction as the "first."