“In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul does not deal with love as an abstract idea. Instead, in concrete ways, he shows how love should be expressed. He explains how love acts or behaves” (Steve Williams, The More Excellent Way, p. 2). “Agape is something that can be seen only as it acts” (Nelson M. Smith, What is This Thing Called Love?, p. 18). We continue from last week looking at…
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
9. Love “thinks no evil” (NKJV). It “taketh no account of evil” (ASV). It “keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV). It “holds no grudges” (McCord). It is not “resentful” (ESV).
The original word (logizomai), translated “thinks” by the NKJV, is an accounting term. It refers to adding up debts in a ledger so to not forget. Arndt-Gingrich’s lexicon says of the word “reckon, calculate, take into account… put on someone’s account, charge to someone.”
Sometimes, especially when angry, people bring up things from the past. They bring up things which have been, supposedly, forgiven.
Love doesn’t so behave. It doesn’t bury the hatchet so shallowly that it can easily be retrieved. It doesn’t mark the spot to where it was buried just in case one in the future might want to dig it up and use it. “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:8 ESV).
10. Love “does not rejoice in iniquity” (NKJV).
Some people enjoy hearing about sinful behavior. There are those who “have pleasure” (Romans 1:32 KJV), “delight” (Proverbs 2:14 KJV, NKJV), and are “pleased” (Psalm 50:18 NASB) with wickedness and those who practice such. Some are entertained and even humored by sinful stories and jokes (cf. Ephesians 5:3-4).
Others love to hear for a different reason. They do not rejoice in the sin itself. They do rejoice in the sinner’s shortcoming. They think it makes them better than others (cf. Galatians 5:26-6:1, 3-4). Remember one does not become a saint by another’s sins.
11. Love “rejoices in the truth” (NKJV). Good men value the truth (Proverbs 23:23). They meditate on what is: true, noble (honorable NASB, ESV), just (right NASB), pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 NKJV). They love to hear about others doing what is good and living in accordance with truth (2 John 4; 3 John 4).
12. Love “bears all things” (NKJV). It “always protects” (NIV). It “throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person” (McCord).
Here is what various sources say about the original word (Stego). Arndt-Gingrich indicates the word means, “to cover to keep confidential.” Thayer says, “to cover, to protect by covering.” Vine’s writes, “primarily ‘to protect or preserve by covering,’ hence means ‘to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, to hold out against, and so to endure, bear, forbear.'” Adam Clark commented “perhaps it would be better taken in the sense of ‘contain,’ keep it as a vessel does liquor (liquid – B.H.). Love conceals everything that should be concealed. Love betrays no secrets.”
In other words, “Instead of trying to broadcast all the dirt and filth we know about other people through gossip, let us speak of others the best we can. Let us quietly work to help others correct their faults” (The More Excellent Way, p. 37-38). We shouldn’t get joy out of embarrassing others.
“A talebearer reveals secrets. But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13 KJV). “Debate your cause with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another”(Proverbs 25:9 NKJV cf. Matthews 18:15-19). Granted there are times disclosure should take place: (a) When legally such is demanded (Leviticus 5:1; Deuteronomy 13:6-8; Proverbs 29:24; Romans 13:1-ff); (b) When love for humanity demands it (Matthew 7:12); (c) When such is motivated by a desire to save a soul (Matthew 18:15-ff; 1 Corinthians 1:11; 11:18). However, we should not be known as malicious gossips.
We should be able to confide in one another concerning weaknesses and sins and pray for one another (James 5:16). Does this describe us? Many are afraid to seek help, because whatever they say gets broadcasted through the church, and even the city. This should not be.
13. Love “believes all things” (NKJV).
This does not mean we’re to be gullible, or blind our eyes to the plain evidence; However, it does mean that we are not to jump to conclusions. Steve Williams commented, “This does not mean that we should refuse to believe strong evidence about the misconduct by other people, but in doubtful cases where one is uncertain, love gives another the benefit of the doubt and prefers to err on the side of generosity” (The More Excellent Way, p. 38). We should not be hasty to believe everything people say about another (1 Timothy 5:22).
This also has to do with attitude. Robert Dodson commented, “love looks for the best in others and gives the benefit of the doubt” (Brown Trail class notes). J.W. McGarvey remarked, “love takes the kindest view of man’s actions and circumstances. It puts the best construction on conduct” (Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, p. 130). Too many are quick to impugn the worst possible motives for a man’s actions. Example: The preacher didn’t shake their hand Sunday, so they reason he avoided them on purpose, not liking them.
14. Love “hopes all things” (NKJV).
Love hopes the best for others. It wants others to have a bright future. It is optimistic in its outlook, believing in the power of God. David Lipscomb commented, “love worketh for all, even the worst, hoping they will repent” (Gospel Advocate Commentary on 1 Corinthians, p. 199). Love sees potential and tries to bring out the best in others. Love never forgets that with God “all things are possible” (Matthews 19:26).
15: Love “endures all things” (NKJV). It “always perseveres” (NIV).
The original word (hupomeno) is defined by Thayer to mean “to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee.” Love is not flighty. It is not fair-weathered. It doesn’t jump ship in stormy weather.
Endurance is needed in a number of areas of life: (1) In the Christian life, endurance is needed (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9; Revelation 2:10). (2) In our friendships, we need endurance (Proverbs 17:17; 27:10; Matthews 7:12). Note: this does not mean sticking with these trying to lead you into sin (Proverbs 1:10-15); But it does mean not being fair-weathered. (3) In marriage, we need endurance “for better or worse, richer or poorer, health or sickness.” Song of Solomon 8:7 reads, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it…”