Monday, February 12, 2024

A Closer Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

A Closer Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Every year, from February 1st to February 14th, we probably read 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 more often than usual.  The Scripture passage is well-known as The Love Chapter.  As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, let's take a closer took at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 14:4-8 (NIV)

A Closer Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient.

Some versions read "love is long-suffering."  It is one thing to be patient, but long suffering implies a deeper meaning. tells us the word "patient" means quietly and steadily persevering, while "long-suffering" means long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation (something that incites, instigates, angers, or irritates).  You see, the word long suffering is much more than just waiting on someone to ask you out on a date or waiting for your husband or wife to apologize for something they've done or not done, probably without ill-will.  Long suffering is a love that reaches beyond the deep pain of intentional hurt and heartache.  A long suffering love will love past the intentional act of hurt aimed directly at you.  If you are thinking that this kind of love is impossible, you might be right, but only impossible without Jesus.  Only He can help us practice a long-suffering love.

Love is kind.  

We are taught that kindness is a character trait and it is.  A person is either kind or not-king, but the kindness in 1 Corinthians 13 is an active kindness.  The Believers Bible Commentary refers to this kindness as an active goodness.  It is something we do, not for ourselves, but in the interest of others.  

Love does not envy.

We usually think of envy as jealousy.  Jealousy is a synonym of envy and I think we have all experienced jealousy at some point.  I also think social media has made envy more powerful.  We compare ourselves to others more often as we scroll past small snapshots of the best moments in the lives of others.  We need to keep jealousy in check, because this Biblical definition of envy-free love means that we not just tolerate the successes of others, but we should be happy for their accomplishments.  We should celebrate the successes of others and avoid giving the enemy a playing field in this area of our lives.

Love does not boast.

Let's piggy-back this section on the heels of the last one.  Just like love does not envy when others are successful, we shouldn't boast about our own successes either.  It's OK to let others know we've achieved something we've worked hard to achieve, but not in such a way that makes us feel better than others.  The definition of the word "boast" means "to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride."  Did you notice the words "excessive" and "pride?"  Let's not be jealous when others are successful, and let's not be excessively prideful over our own accomplishes either.  Let's keep it all in its proper place and if we strive to always life others above ourselves, this is easier to do.

Love is not proud.

There is that "pride" word again.  Some versions say that love is not "puffed up."  As believers, we should already know that nothing have is our own, but gifts from God instead.  We have nothing to be prideful about.  It is by God's grace and mercy alone that we even live and breathe.  There is nothing prideful about love.

Love does not dishonor others.

Love leaves no room for rudeness.  Dishonoring others is the opposite of loving them.  Love is always considerate of others.  

Love is not self-seeking.

As believers, we are children of God.  Our mission here on earth is to tell others about God's plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.  Someone once said, "I'm here to take as many people to Heaven with me as I can."  We should always be seeking ways to benefit others, not ourselves.

Love is not easily angered.

True love is able to suffer through pettiness.  Remember "long-suffering?"  For the benefit, and maybe even the eternity of the offender, we can call on Jesus to help us shorten our fuses and not be easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

This one is a really tough one.  Once someone has wronged us, it is difficult to forget it.  How often do we bring up past offenses?  Truth be told, we all do it and maybe more often than any of us want to admit.  This is a tough one for me personally, but we can put wrongs behind us if we rely on the Holy Spirit to help us.  

Love does not delight in evil.

God is love.  The opposite of love is hate or evil.  Therefore hate and evil are the very core of Satan's character.  We should never ever celebrate evil.  Our culture tells us that in order to love others, we have to also love the sin they are involved in.  Well, we are all sinners.  Jesus showed us how to treat others when he called out their sin, but He told them to sin no more.  We are to love the sinner, but hate the sin.  We are to hate their sin, our sin, all sin.  By calling sin what it is and showing others who Jesus is, we are offering the real love we all need, the same love that Jesus offers.

Love rejoices with the truth.

We are never to delight in evil, but we are to always rejoice in the truth.  The Believer's Bible Commentary had this to say about these last two points.
There is a certain mean streak in human nature which takes pleasure in what is unrighteous, especially if an unrighteous act seems to benefit one’s self. This is not the spirit of love. Love rejoices with every triumph of the truth.  
It is as simple as this.  Satan is the author of confusion, sin, and lies.  God is the author of sound mind, purity, and truth.  We cannot have it both ways.  We must choose one.  Choose wisely.  Choose truth.

Love always protects.

Believers have the resources to protect others against evil.  We have God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit.  We have His Word.  It is our responsibility to protect others and lead them to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Love always trusts.

Love always trusts God, His Word, the Gospel, and truth.  We must be careful to not put our trust in the wrong place.  We cannot trust the lies and snares of the enemy, but we can always trust God and His plan for our lives even when things don't work out like we planned and even when He doesn't answer in the way we hoped He would.

Love always hopes.

Love never gives up.  Love always hopes for things to work out for the best.  As we stated above, love always hopes for the best even when God's plan doesn't line up with our own.  Our hope is in Him, not ourselves.

Love always perseveres.

The definition of the word persevere is "to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly." My eyes concentrated a little longer on the words "maintain a purpose."  Our purpose is to lead others to Jesus.  Love maintains this purpose against all obstacles and discouragement.   

Love never fails.

There is no better way to explain it.  No matter the what, love never fails.  This is a beautiful truth.

There is a whole lot of love language packed into those 5 sweet Bible verses.  I know Valentine's Day is a day set aside for romantic love, but so many people out there have been shown so little love in any of its true forms.  Maybe we can take some extra time this week to think about what real love is and share it with others.

Love Never Fails Wall Art
This "Love Never Fails" wall art is available here.

A Closer Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
A Closer Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

You may also like:

6 Ways to Show Love This Year
6 Ways to Show Love This Year

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add to the conversation! I want to hear from you. :)

Have you ordered my book yet?

Have you ordered my book yet?
Start reading!

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway