When we think of love, biblically, we often think of the passage in 1 Corinthians 13, the passage of love. It’s often read at weddings or as a piece of poetry, displaying the beauty of love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Today, when we read this passage, we simply see it or perceive it as a paragraph listing the attributes and characteristics of love, but there is much more to it.
The author of this passage, and the book of Corinthians, is none other than our boy Paul. We fail to see that this passage is pretty much rebuking the Corinthians for their improper use of love in the church. The church in Corinth was being impatient, unkind, envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, insistent on its own way, easily irritable and resentful,and rejoiced in wrong doing and suppressed the truth.
So Paul jumps in and says “look guys… You got all of this backwards, this is not love. Love is this, which you aren’t. Love is not this, which you are…etc.” He goes on saying love bears, believes, hopes and endures all things.
These words are crucial in their original form. The Greek word for bear literal means to cover up people. Its root word meaning roof or house. Correct interpretation leads us to believe that we as believers should be “covering” the wrong doings of people. This does not mean we should hide them away, but that we should deal with wrong doings in a quiet manner, giving godly discipline. “Love bears all things”.
Next “love believes all things”. This Greek word means, to credit or have confidence. When we love properly we are confident that those who are doing wrong have good within them. Even in today’s court system we see “innocent till proven guilty”, this is love! Love believes in the good within people.
Even when there is nothing to believe in “love hopes all things”. The root of this Greek word for hope means, expectation of good. When all else fails, and all the evidence points to guilty, love still hopes for good to arise in people.
Finally “love endures all things”. The Greek word for endure means, to remain, not to flee, to persevere. Naturally if we are operating in love correctly the world will come against us and hate us, but love keeps bearing, it keeps believing, and it keeps hoping. Love endures all things.
This passage, again, is not Paul listing the attributes and characteristics of love, but rather him correcting the church on their use of love. Every word used to describe love in this passage is a verb, thus love is not mere emotion, but action as well.
This is how the passage must be interpreted today, as correction. This passage should convict every part of your life, and remember, conviction is a very, very good thing. It is the spiritual equivalent to growing pains. But back to the passage.
In light of recent events and laws being passed in the Supreme Court, it is essential that we as the church and as believers apply this passage to our lives. Match yourself up to this standard of love daily. To see if you’re on the right path, replace the word love with your name, and let the growing pains encourage you to a deeper relationship with Christ!
So church, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things, thus fulfilling the standard of love.