Not only do we learn God's standard of love, how we are to love one another, from the famous love passage of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but more importantly we get a clear picture of who God is for 1 John 4:8 declares, "God is love." He is not merely loving. He Himself is the very definition of love.
Precept Austin observed, "Paul begins with two positive aspects of love: love is patient, love is kind. The first is passive—not retaliating. The second is active—bestowing benefits. This twofold opening statement stands as a daily challenge to every Christian!"
Kenneth Wuest describes God's Agape Love saying:
"Agape is a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the object loved...(it) speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in the object loved, an apprehension of its preciousness."
Photo courtesy of My Crazy-Beautiful Life (Click pic for a printable version)
After the two "Love is..." these verses feature seven "Love is not's."
Love is Not…
6. Easily Angered
7. Recorder of wrongs
If you are memorizing 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, a easier way to memorize these verses would be to write your verse out, in list form like I did here. This could easily fit on a 3 x 5 card. Then as you are practicing reciting these memory verses, you can have your handy 3 x 5 card to reference in case you get stuck or just to check that you didn't leave out one of the seven "Love is not's"
Some things I learned this week from Precept Austin about these characteristics of love:
Precept Austin describes patient saying,"This is manifesting a state of emotional calm or quietness in the face of provocation, misfortune or unfavorable circumstances. Love never says, “I’ve had enough.” It suffers indefinitely. It is long suffering and continues in spite of conduct likely to quench it
An early church father, Chrysostom said that the word patient is: "used of the man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself but will never do it."
LOVE IS KIND
Matthew Henry paints a picture of kindness this way:
"It is bountiful; it is courteous and obliging. The law of kindness is in her lips; her heart is large, and her hand open. She is ready to show favours and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities of doing good, but searches for them. This is her general character. She is patient under injuries, and apt and inclined to do all the good offices in her power. And under these two generals all the particulars of the character may be reduced."
IT DOES NOT ENVY
Some amazing observations on envy here! Envy is not merely wishing you had what someone else has. It is so much more than that.
David Guzik asked,
Is envy a small sin? Envy murdered Abel (Genesis 4:3-8). Envy enslaved Joseph (Genesis 37:11, 28). Envy put Jesus on the cross: For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy (Matthew 27:18).
Barclay distinguishes between two kinds of envy...
There are two kinds of envy. The one covets the possessions of other people; and such envy is very difficult to avoid because it is a very human thing. The other is worse—it grudges the very fact that others should have what it has not; it does not so much want things for itself as wish that others had not got them. Meanness of soul can sink no further than that. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)
MacArthur focusing on the second kind of envy notices...
The second sort of jealousy is more than selfish; it is desiring evil for someone else. It is jealousy on the deepest, most corrupt, and destructive level. That is the jealousy Solomon uncovered in the woman who pretended to be a child’s mother. When her own infant son died, she secretly exchanged him for the baby of a friend who was staying with her. The true mother discovered what had happened and, when their dispute was taken before the king, he ordered the baby to be cut in half, a half to be given to each woman. The true mother pleaded for the baby to be spared, even if it meant losing possession of him. The false mother, however, would rather have had the baby killed than for the true mother to have him (1 Kings 3:16-27). (MacArthur, J: 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch)
On the other hand Lenski says of love
"Instead of being envious, love is satisfied with its own portion and glad of another’s greater portion."
IT DOES NOT BOAST
MacArthur points out...
Bragging is the other side of jealousy. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has. Bragging is trying to make others jealous of what we have. Jealousy puts others down; bragging builds us up. It is ironic that, as much as most of us dislike bragging in others, we are so inclined to brag ourselves... C. S. Lewis called bragging the “utmost evil.” It is the epitome of pride, which is the root sin of all sins. Bragging puts ourselves first. Everyone else, including God, must therefore be of less importance to us. It is impossible to build ourselves up without putting others down. When we brag, we can be “up” only if others are down. (MacArthur, J: 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch)
IS NOT PROUD
Hodge explains that arrogance...is the root of boasting. Anyone who has a high opinion of himself is apt to be boastful and to desire praise. Love, on the other hand, is modest and humble—modest because humble.
Lenski explains what's behind boastful bragging...Behind boastful bragging there lies conceit, an overestimation of one’s own importance, abilities, or achievements. Hence the next step: “is not puffed up.” From envy to boasting, from boasting to puffing oneself up is a natural sequence in the psychology of love-lessness. He that exalteth himself shall be abased; he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Thus in this case the positive virtue is Christian humility and lowliness of mind.
IS NOT RUDE
When pride puffs up the heart, unseemly bearing and conduct naturally follow. Tactlessness forgets its own place and fails to accord to others their proper dues of respect, honor, or consideration. Love is forgetful of self and thoughtful toward others. (Lenski, R. C. H. The interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second epistle to the Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN.: Augsburg Publishing House)
IS NOT SELF-SEEKING
Alan Redpath strikes a painful chord to most of us who have married for any length of time writing that...
The secret of every discord in Christian homes, communities and churches is that we seek our own way and our own glory.
Paul addressed this same issue in his letter to Philippi...
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (see notes Philippians 2:3; 2:4; 2:5)
IS NOT EASILY ANGERED
Ray Pritchard shared...
I know that some people excuse their bad temper by saying, "Sure, I lose my temper a lot, but it's all over in a few minutes." So is a nuclear bomb. A great deal of damage can be done in a very short time. Even small temper "bombs" can leave behind a lot of hurt, especially when they explode on a regular basis. Your temper is a sign of what is in your heart. A bad temper is a symptom of a terrible disease within the soul. It is an escaping bubble that reveals a fetid pit within.
Cole writes that selfless love...does not have a hair-trigger temper.
DOES NOT KEEP A RECORD OF WRONGS
This is more than just remembering wrongs done to you. Precept Austin says it "means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. The idea is to put together with one’s mind or to occupy oneself with reckonings (in this case of wrongs done to oneself). Love never takes (or keeps) an inventory or an accounting of the wrongs done"means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. The idea is to put together with one’s mind or to occupy oneself with reckonings (in this case of wrongs done to oneself). Love never takes (or keeps) an inventory or an accounting of the wrongs done."
"Love keeps no account book for the entry of wrongs on the debit side which are eventually to be balanced on the credit side with payments received when satisfaction is obtained for these wrongs. Love forgets to charge any wrong done to itself. It is neither enraged at the moment, nor does it hold a grudge in vindictiveness afterward"
Question for you: What do you find most amazing about God's love?
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