A LACK OF LOVE?
I have a confession to make. I’ve been tiffed at my husband before. There are times when we just don’t get along that well and don’t exactly live out a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. Shocker I know!
Ever taken mental note when a comment has come across as negative or rude or unloving? Rather than communicate, do you ever just keep tally? His offenses pile up like bricks – one by one building a wall and separating wife from husband emotionally.
I have been with my man long enough (over 20 years) and been through enough ups and downs to learn many lessons. I have built and torn down many a proverbial brick wall. So whenever those emotions creep in, I have the experience that equips me to recognize when I’m failing and when I’m earning that gold star. That’s part of why I write at Truly Devoted to Him. If all the
crap stuff 😉 I’ve gone through can help you avoid making the same mistakes, heck yeah! That’s a win.
Obviously, emotional disconnection is a huge red flag and something that needs to be dealt with. Once when this happened I started a new audiobook to try to get myself back on the right course. God (of course) used it to put me in my place (which was the right course!). Everything Gary Chapman said in The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted was speaking directly to me, like he was my personal counselor sitting on the boring gray sofa across from me with a box of tissues ready for deployment.
And then he read 1 Corinthians 13:4. You know, the description of love that the preachers seem to read at all. the. weddings. Love is patient. Love is kind. Know the rest? I’ve needed (several) refreshers. 😉 Let’s dive into 1 Corinthians 13 and look at living out biblical love.
FYI there is a free Bible study checklist you can download and use to get more out of your study or follow along with mine. Be sure and grab it!
We always start with understanding the context! 1 Corinthians was written by Paul to the church of Corinth. The church of Corinth was one of the first christian church bodies established by Paul in a thriving, successful city. Although a wealthy community, Corinth was also known as a vile, filthy place filled with cult rituals like public prostitution, violent sacrifices, and immorality.
Paul was a traveling missionary and obviously didn’t stay with the christians that he ministered to in Corinth. Therefore, Paul checked in on this young church filled with brand new believers several times, via personal visits and letters. 1 Corinthians 13 is Paul teaching them the very important way of love, as their morals and ethics could be found lacking.
The Way of Love
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not loved, I gain nothing.
Check out my post on studying the Bible on your own for what the different colors stand for and where I get that info. Verses can almost always fit into more than one category so if you start highlighting according to the Good Morning Girls categories know that your highlights aren’t going to be identical to mine. The purpose of breaking sentences down into highlighted categories is to get you to really sink into each word and phrase and to analyze the scripture and what topic its covering.
- Verse 1= blessings (spiritual gifts); love; hypocrisy
- Verse 2= prophecy; wisdom; faith; love; hypocrisy
- Verse 3= obedience; love; hypocrisy
Observations & Applications
The first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 seem to get cut from the wedding ceremonies. Still, this was Paul explaining the importance of love to the people of Corinth. “Listen,” he seems to say, “you can be successful and wealthy and do all the right things, but it has got to be based in love. Otherwise, it’s all pointless.” Love is the application, the command to keep, the timeless principle. So now let’s look at what love really is…
4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or 5rude. It does not insist on its own way; is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
- Verse 4= love; sin
- Verse 5= sin
- Verse 6= sin; wisdom
- Verse 7= obedience/faith
Observations & Applications
Wow – those are some heavy definitions! Living out 1 Corinthians 13 love is…HARD! Patience isn’t something that we naturally like to do. It involves empathy, sharing the emotions of someone else. It involves grace, which is giving to someone who might not deserve it.
Love doesn’t envy. What is a necessary component of envy? Comparison. And we all know comparison is trap of lies. And we all know that the enemy is the biggest liar! My heart breaks when a woman is unhappy in her marriage and calls it quits because someone else would be better for her.
Other words for envy would be discontent, bitter, resentful, and jealousy. Sound like the kind of wife you want to be? Sound like the kind of husband you want to have? Me neither! Biblical love does not envy. It is generous, serving, good, noble, kind – all opposites of envious.
Love isn’t rude. The book of James teaches on the power of the tongue. The words that come from our mouths reflect our hearts. There is much power in the tongue – our words, our tone. They can build up or tear down.
Reread the gray highlighted section (end of verse 4 through beginning of verse 6). Love doesn’t envy. It doesn’t boast. It’s not arrogant or rude. It doesn’t throw a fit for its own way or hold things against its love. It’s not irritable. We can shake our heads yes to all of this – we get it!
But then verse 7 hits. Love bears all things. Love endures all things. Endure? That takes dedication and strength. The definition is to suffer patiently. Yowza.
That doesn’t sound like the pleasant fuzzy feeling that we’ve all grown up watching Disney princesses find. What gives? The NLT says verse 7 like this:
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.1 Corinthians 13:7 (New Living Translation)
This verse gives four characteristics of love, or does it? Faith is the hope for that unseen. Never losing faith and always being hopeful are synonymous. If enduring means suffering patiently doesn’t that sound an awful lot like never giving up? 😉 Never give up. Never lose hope. Aw, there’s the fuzzies.
Command to keep
Paul is teaching us the way of love as he taught the early church all those years ago. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said this:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:34-40
Like we said earlier, love is a pretty timeless principle. 🙂
A Promise from God
Ok, this is where I wanted to get! What promise from God is hidden in this overwhelmingly convicting passage about living out a biblical love towards others? Let’s look.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- Verse 8= love; prophecy; blessings (spiritual gifts); wisdom
- Verse 9= wisdom; prophecy
- Verse 10= Jesus is coming back!; death
- Verse 11= teaching
- Verse 12= relationship; God; relationship
- Verse 13= faith; love; obedience; love
PROMISE FROM GOD
Living out the Bible’s version of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 can be overwhelming. We can feel defeated just reading all the requirements and very quickly condemn ourselves. But look at verses 9 and 10! “For we know in part…” (9) and “When the perfect comes…” (10) is an encouraging reminder that we are not perfect and cannot obtain perfection. Yes we should thrive towards living out 1 Corinthians 13 love but we will not always get it right. This kind of Christ-like love is only possible when God helps us set aside our natural inclinations towards self.
What is this perfect coming? Christ!
Christ came as man and lived a perfect life. He sacrificed and gave his life on the cross to cover our sins. When God looks at us, Christ’s perfection is a vellum in front of us. The partial, all the temporary things here on this Earth, will pass away and we will be able to live in His perfection. We will fully know. We will live with perfection face to face and be enveloped in the (only) perfect love!! Eeeeeek!!!
Uphold faith, hope, and love. My NLT notes say it this way –
Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message; hope is the attitude and focus; love is action.NLT Life Application Study Bible
Keep believing His word. Keep clinging to your relationship with Him. Keep living out this patient, kind, enduring love with selfless action. Ohh, so good!!
Keep on keepin’ on friend!
Pin for later!
- Bible Teaching From James 1; Building Endurance, Wisdom, and Following the Word
- Romans 8 Commentary – The Spirit of Life, Verses 1-11
- Guidance for the Growing Believer; A Bible Study of 2 Peter
- A Quick Bible Study Through James 2; Teaching About Favoritism & An Active Faith
- T.H.I.N.K. Think About Your Words; Wisdom on Taming the Tongue From James 3