Faith In First Corinthians, Chapter 13, The Way of Love & It’s Attributes; Part 1:Volume 5, Number 51
Created Date: February 2, 2023
Posted Date: February 2, 2023
While watching an NFL football game on TV recently the cameras focused on the words “Be Love” printed on the back of helmets worn by some players. This seemed a bit contradictory in several ways. I looked up the meaning of this slogan on the Internet and found an article that postulates the “Be Love” moniker worn by NFL players to be “virtue signaling,” which is often defined as an action that shows care towards a cause without making a difference. I won’t pass judgement on the motive/s of the players displaying this slogan but thought about “virtue signaling” in general and it sounds like a description of the way of mankind in general. In reality, everyone who is not a true believer in the Gospel of Christ as revealed to Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 41 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
, is incapable of meeting the criteria for love as set forth in chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians. Yes, there are many unbelievers who show outward signs of the love described, but only God knows their hearts and motives, Hebrews 4:1212 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
. On the other hand, true believers can come to know the Love of God and by growing in His Word can reciprocate love for God and others.
The 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians is known as the “Love Chapter” or “The Way of Love.” It is often quoted in whole or part at weddings. Believers know that Almighty God is Love, 1 John 4:88 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
and His expression of love to mankind is His Son, Romans 8:3939 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
b. He loved us even when we were in our sins and expressed it through His Son Who made possible eternal life to all who believe, Romans 5:88 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
; Ephesians 2:4 - 54 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
. True believers can come to love as Paul prayed: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:17 - 1917 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
. And believers can say with Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:2020 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The word “faith” occurs twice in 1 Corinthians 13, the first weighs the gifts of prophecy, knowledge and faith against love: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:22 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
. Unfortunately, there are some who identify as Christians and profess faith but fail to demonstrate the love described in this chapter. The next verse teaches how outward appearances can be deceiving: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:33 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Also, unfortunately even for true believers it’s difficult to either love or like some people. Let’s consider the Greek words translated charity, i.e., love in the New Testament (NT). The word “charity” in 1 Corinthians 13: 2 in the King James Version (KJV) is the Greek “agape” (G26), which is a noun, the name of a thing. It occurs 116 times in the NT and is translated “love” 86 times, “charity” 27 times, “dear” once, “charitably” once, and “feast of charity” once. It’s found in every NT book except Mark, Acts and James and occurs most frequently in 1st John at 18 and second most frequently in 1st Corinthians at 14. Notably, it occurs 12 times both in the 4th chapter of 1st John and in the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians.
The verb form of “Love” is the Greek “agapa’o” (G25) found 142 times in the NT where it is translated “love” 135 times and “beloved” 7 times and occurs in every NT book except Acts, Philippians, 1st Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Jude. The adjective form is “Agapetos” (G27), occurring 62 times in the NT, translated “beloved” 47 times, “dearly beloved” 9 times, “well beloved” 3 times and “dear” 3 times. It is not found in the books of John, Galatians, 2nd Thessalonians, Titus, 2nd John or Revelation. There is another Greek word in the NT translated love that will be covered in a subsequent study.
Love is the opposite of selfishness; it is the Nature of God; Christ can be substituted for the word charity/love in the following passage and believers are to conform to it. 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 84 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
describes 16 qualities or elements of love to which I’ve supplied the Greek word from which each is translated, then in Parenthesis the number of the Greek word as assigned by Strong * followed by the definition thereof:
1) “Charity, i.e., Love sufferth long,” “suffereth long” is from the Greek makrothumeō (G3114) found 10 times in the NT, translated elsewhere as “longsuffering or patient.”
2) “is kind,” is the Greek chrēsteuomai (G5541) found only here in the NT defined as “to show oneself as useful, benevolent, kind.”
3) “envieth not” is from zeloo (G2206) 12 times in the NT, defined as the “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”
4) “vaunteth not itself,” is from perpereuomai (G4068) found only here in the NT and the Greek “ou” (G3756), this phrase meaning that “love does not boast about oneself.”
5) “is not puffed up,” from phusioō (G5448) 7 times in the NT, meaning “not to be puffed up or made proud.”
6) “Doth not behave itself unseemly,” these 3 words translate the Greek aschēmoneō (G807) found only 3 times in the NT, all in 1 Corinthians, meaning “to act unbecoming.”
7) “seeketh not her own,” seeketh is from zēteō (G2212) and her own is from heautou (G1438) the phrase meaning that love does not seek or desire for himself/herself.
8) “is not easily provoked,” provoked is from paroxunō (G3947) found only twice in the NT, here in verse 5 and in Acts 17:1616 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
where it is translated “stirred” in the phrase that Paul’s spirit was “stirred” when he saw the whole city was given to idolatry. It means to “sharpen alongside, that is (figuratively) to exasperate; easily provoke, stir.”
9) “thinketh no evil,” “evil” is from kakos (G2556) occurring 51 times in the NT, meaning “base, wrong, wicked, etc.”
10) “rejoiceth not in iniquity,” “iniquity” is from adikia (G93) 25 occasions in NT, meaning “injustice, moral wrongfulness, unjust, unrighteous, wrong.”
11) “but rejoiceth in the truth,” truth is from alētheia (G225) 104 occasions in NT, defined as “what is true in any matter under consideration.”
12) “Beareth all things,” “beareth” is from stegō (G4722) 4 times in the NT where it is also translated “suffer” and “forbear” meaning “to roof over, to cover with silence (endure patiently), etc. All things is from pas (G3956) 1238 times meaning “all, any, every, the whole, always, etc.”
13) “Believeth all things,” believeth is from pistyoo’o (G4100) 248 times, meaning “to have faith, etc.” “All things,” same as above.
14) “Hopeth all things,” “hopeth” is from elpizo (G1679) 31 times meaning “to expect or confide, trust.) “All things,” same as above.
15) “Endureth all things,” endureth is from hupomenō (G5278) 17 times meaning “to stay under (behind), that is, remains, figuratively to undergo, that is, bear, have fortitude, persevere, etc.” “All things,” same as above.
16) “Charity never faileth,” “never” is oudepote (G3763) 16 times meaning “not even at any time, that is, never at all, etc.” “Faileth” is ekpiptō (G1601) 13 times meaning “to drop away; specifically, be driven out of one’s course, etc.”
Paul exhorts believers to love: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:1 - 71 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
. “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:1414 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
To be continued.
* Every Hebrew and Greek word in the original manuscripts of the Bible were assigned a number by James Strong, copyrighted in 1890 and published in 1894 and are used to facilitate and compare their understanding.