March 25, 2013
Commentary on First Corinthians
By: Tom Lowe
Topic #8: Questions Concerning Christian Worship, 1 Corinthians 11.2-14.40



Lesson 8.4: Primacy of Love
 Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13.1-13

Part 2: Life Without Love, 1 Corinthians 13.4-7
Paul speaks about the characteristics of love; or its joyful impact on the mind and heart.

4 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.


"Charity," in this chapter means "love." These verses provide us with the apostle's teaching on some of the characteristics and consequences of love. The motivation behind his teaching is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who knows precisely what the Corinthian believers need to hear, as well as all Christians throughout the ages. He will both describe and recommend love, in order that we may know whether we have this grace or not; and with the intention that if we discover we do not have it, we will not rest until we have acquired it. It is the most excellent grace, and it has many good characteristics which Paul will describe.



4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Love for God, and for our neighbor (although it may be love for God's sake), is patient, enduring, tolerant and long-suffering toward all men. It is subjected to all the weakness, ignorance, blunders, and infirmities of the children of God; all the hatred, spite, nastiness, and wickedness of the children of the world: and this is how it must be as long as we live in these bodies, and in this world. But in obedience to our Lord, we move through life overcoming evil with good, having love which is kind, soft, mild, and compassionate. The suffering saints of God are motivated by love that is the sweetest, kindest, and the most zealous and caring kind. Love does not act rashly--does not hastily condemn any one; it never passes judgment based upon a partial or sudden view of things. Nor does it ever act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or impulsive manner. Love is not puffed up with false pride--love humbles the soul.

In this passage, the Apostle Paul describes the power and character of love, partly by making a comparison between opposites, and partly by describing the several consequences of love itself. And by all this Paul's hope is that the Corinthians will understand how profitable and necessary love is to the church: and also how far they are from it, and as a result they will realize that they have no reason to be so proud of themselves.

Charity suffereth long,
Love can put up with wickedness, injury, and aggravation, without being filled with anger, resentment, or vengeance. It makes the mind resolute, gives it power over incensed passions, and furnishes it with a patience, which would rather wait and pray for the restoration of a brother than attack his character because he resents his behavior. Love will put up with many insults and indifference from the person it loves, and it will wait patiently and as long as necessary to see the result of such patience.

In this and some of the following verses the apostle, relates the effect and characteristics of the grace of love; and his method is to represent it as a person who possesses it, and in whose heart it is entrenched and holds sway. He says such a person is able to "suffer long," or be "patient." Afflictions may come from the hand of God, which always arises out of love, or from persecutions by men which always arises from a sinful nature; but, for Christ sake, and in imitation of Him; such a loving person is slow to anger and seek revenge when he has been wronged; but instead he exercises self-control, and patience, and puts up with a great deal, and is ready to forgive.

King David said patience is one of God's attributes: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy' (Psalms 103:8; NKJV). I am so glad that He is slow to anger, that He seldom punishes me for being disobedient and forgetful of Him, and when I confess my sins, He always forgives me. He could not be so slow to anger if He was not abounding in mercy; He is the very Father of mercies. Christians should be Christlike, therefore we must desire to love like Him, and have patience with others, because He is patient with us. Peter, though he denied Christ three times was there when Pilate questioned Him and the Roman soldiers flogged and beat Him, but he said, Christ, "when he was reviled, reviled not again" (1 Peter 2:23). Though He could have inflicted any kind of punishment on his persecutors, He chose instead to give us an example so that we would follow in His footsteps; Jesus committed his abusers to Him who is the righteous Judge. Christ is our example, so do not give in to an evil temper, and the danger of avenging ourselves; it is a great advantage in all such cases to be able to refer our cause to God, and to be assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.
The fruit of the Spirit is "long-suffering; "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness" (Gal 5:22; NKJV). We are able to put up with the shortcomings of others and the aggravation they cause us only because we have received the fruit of the Spirit. How could the people of God not be patient with the faults of others, when God has been patient with our faults; although He has every right to disown us? He has gifted us with "long suffering" in order that we may cope with all the troubles and difficulties of life without complaining or regretting; accepting cheerfully every endowment of God's providence, and thus deriving benefit from every occurrence: "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4; NKJV). By patience in our trials, and in the frustration which we encounter, we attempt to gain and keep control over our passions, and to keep them in subjection.

and is kind;
And love "is kind" and generous, and treats all men well, even those who are his enemies, and especially those who are of the family of faith; he is gentle to all men, pleasant and courteous to his brothers and sisters in Christ, and not pessimistic, rude, and bad-tempered; he is undemanding and tolerant of the irritability and superficial demeanor of men; he accommodates himself to their needs, capabilities, customs, and circumstances, in everything he can that is not contrary to the Word of God, the interest of Christ, and his own conscience, and the good of mankind.

The characteristics of love, especially kindness, is similar to the features of "wisdom from above," according to James--"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3.17; NKJV). The wisdom that is from above is "pure"--that is, it's not mingled or mixed; it's undiluted; it's the original. It is that wisdom which comes down from God, and James clearly identifies it: it is "peaceable, gentle, and willing to comply with the requests of others, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."

If "love" was a woman, then she may be described in this way: The law of kindness is in her lips; her heart is large, and her hand open. She is ready to show favors and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities for doing good, but searches for them. This is her general character. She is patient when wronged, and inclined to do all the good within in her power.

charity envieth not;
Love keeps envy in check: It envieth not; it is not jealous of the good which others do, or of their gifts, or of their good qualities, or the honors they receive, or their possessions. If we love our neighbour we will rejoice with him when he is blessed by God or man, instead of being envious of his good-fortune. His happiness and blessings will be an addition to ours, instead of spoiling or decreasing it. This is the appropriate consequence of kindness and goodwill: envy is the effect of animosity and it will not develop naturally within the heart of a Christian. The prosperity of those we love and wish well can never upset us; and the mind which desires to do good to all men can never do wrong to any man.

How miserable is the believer who is made unhappy by the good fortune of another, even though it is something he doesn't have, or it's greater than he enjoys. Cain is an example. Love excludes jealousy, but the Bible contains the documentation of many who suffered from the malady of envy. Rachel envied her sister, because she had children when she herself had none. Joseph's brethren envied him because he had a greater share of his father's affections than they had. Good men may be tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked, when they themselves are experiencing misfortune of some type; but the grace of love, when it is exercised by a child of God, will not allow such a one to envy a brother who may possess superior grace, the more excellent spiritual gifts, the greater degree of usefulness, and success in any spiritual undertaking, and who receive greater honour and respect.

charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Love overcomes pride and vanity; it "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up," is not swollen with self-conceit, does not puff up with its own achievements, nor does it ascribe to itself that honour, or power, or respect, which does not belong to it. It is not disrespectful, or predisposed to look down on others, or walk all over them, or act toward them with contempt and scorn. Those who are animated by the principle of brotherly love will put the interest of others ahead of their own--"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (Rom. 12:10; NKJV). We must have a tender regard for those who are our brothers in the Lord. The Greek word translated "Brotherly love" is "philadelphia." It depicts a love for all members of the local assembly, regardless of their race or financial status. Since the root of all pride and conceit is taken away by the basis of our salvation, which is grace, therefore we must not consider ourselves better than our brother--"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Phil 2:3; NKJV). We need a devalued opinion of our own worth before the Lord, but a greatly inflated opinion of what He can do through a devalued person who is yielded to Him. This is that Christlike spirit of humility which fixes its eyes on the excellence of others and judges them from that standpoint. True love will give us an appreciation for our brethren, and raise their value in our judgment; and this will limit our self-esteem, and prevent the cancer of self-conceit and arrogance. These undesirable qualities can never grow out of tender affection for the brethren.

"True love" stands in opposition to the word rendered "vaunteth itself" in our translation, because love calms the angry passions, instead of raising them. Others take it to mean that love does not act insidiously with any, seek to ensnare them, nor taunt them with unnecessary demands and requirements. It is not headstrong, or stubborn and inflexible, or apt to be irritable and contradictory. Some understand it to denote putting up a front and using flattery, without any regard for truth, or intention to do good. Charity detests all such dishonesty and flattery. Nothing is more malicious, or more likely to thwart the purposes of true love and good will. Paul may be making an indirect rebuke of those at Corinth who used the gift of tongues for the purpose of merely putting on a show.

Some at Corinth were "puffed up" with party zeal; they formed factions to support their favorite teachers--Paul, Apollos, and Peter--which led Paul to write to them:"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other" (1 Cor 4:6; NKJV).Paul wanted to impress upon them the insight that they are not to think of men too highly, especially not exalting one preacher and making him a leader, while seeking to pull down another. In addition to the followers of Paul, Apollos and Peter, there were some who were in favor of the false teachers in the Church of Corinth, who were swelled with pride, and elated with a vain conceit of themselves, of their abilities, learning, eloquence, wisdom, and knowledge. But knowledge without grace is unsanctified knowledge, mere speculative knowledge, puffeth up knowledge; but charity, or the grace of love, is none of these; love edifies and preserves persons from being puffed up with themselves. "Charity vaunteth not itself," is not pretentious or a proud boaster of what he has, things such as wisdom, riches, honour, strength, or spiritual gifts; or of what he does, since what such a one does, he does from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God, and not to be seen of men, or to gain their admiration and applause: or is not rash; does not run headlong into proceedings, to promote his own honor and advantage, without considering what the consequence will be; nor does he make rash statements or say anything unbecoming before God or men.

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Doth not behave itself unseemly,
Love does not speak with indecent or unflattering words, nor does he act indecently; because a man with this grace will be careful about what comes out of his mouth in order to avoid using filthy and corrupt communication, which may offend the ears of another; especially one of the brethren. And love does not use ridiculous and ludicrous gestures, which may expose him to ridicule and grieve the saints; accordingly the Syriac version reads, "neither does it commit that which is shameful."  Love will not act mean and despicable by being critical of one, and flattering another, in order to make a point and gain some worldly advantage, or to win the friendship and affection of another. Some believe the meaning is this: "That one endued with this grace thinks nothing that could be described as unseemly and unbecoming; and in spite of how insignificant and lowly the undertaking may appear, he will devote himself to it so long as it is of service to men, and promotes the honour of religion and the glory and honor of Christ; though it may be by making coats and garments for the poor, as Dorcas did; or by washing the feet of the saints, in imitation of his Lord and master."

Love is not ambitious for honor and applause; it is the grace found in those who are lowly, meek and humble. Love has respect for superiors, and is kind and condescending with inferiors, and acts with courtesy and good-will towards all men. It is not in favor of breaking the natural order of things, confusing relationships by placing all men on the same level; but instead, love would like to maintain the distinction God has made between men, and for men to act decently in their own position, and minding their own business, without attempting to mend, or censure, or despise, the conduct of others. Charity will do nothing that does not become it.

seeketh not her own,
Love is an out-and-out enemy of selfishness: It Seeketh not its own, does not have an inordinate desire to seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure. If truth be told self-love, to some extent, is natural for all men, and is part of their very nature. As a matter of fact, the Savior has made a reasonable amount of self-love the gauge of our love for others, when He said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." The apostle does not mean that love destroys all regard for one's self, or that a man should completely neglect himself and all his interests. Then Love must tear up that principle which is part of our nature. But love never seeks its own advantage at the expense of others. It often neglects itself for the sake of others; prefers their welfare, and happiness, to its own; and it would not advance, enhance, enrich, or please itself, at the expense of the public. Sometimes, the ones who have the grace of love will deny themselves a spiritual benefit, as long as they have a zeal for the glory of God and the souls of men. Paul had this self-denying kind of love in mind when he said, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (Romans 12:10; NKJV). Here, love signifies tender affection, such as that which exists between parents and children; and Paul means to say that Christians should have similar feelings towards each other--they should feel like they belong to the same family, and have the same principles and interests. The Syriac renders this, "Love your brethren, and love one another." First and foremost, love seeks for heavenly things, the things of God, and what will bring Him the most honour and glory; and the things of Christ, and what furthers the spread of His Gospel, and the growth of His kingdom; and also the benefit of other men, the worldly and spiritual welfare of the saints.

is not easily provoked,
Love is not exasperated; but transforms and restrains the passions. It rectifies the bad temper, and sweetens and softens the mind, so that it does not suddenly conjure up, or prolong, a violent passion. Where the fire of love is kept in check, the flames of anger will easily kindle, and grow to a roaring inferno. Love will never be angry without a good cause, and will attempt to confine the passions within proper limits, so that they do not become excessive, either in degree or duration. Anger cannot survive in the heart where love reigns. It is hard to be angry with those we love, but very easy to abandon our resentments and be reconciled. However, love is provoked by sin, by immorality and idolatry, as Paul's spirit was stirred up or provoked, when he saw the superstition that existed in the city of Athens.

thinketh no evil;
Love thinks no evil thoughts. It takes no pleasure in wickedness, and it does not seek revenge. It cannot hold a grudge, or stay angry for very long; it is never mischievous or suspects that others are evil; it does not assign guilt to others by supposition and innuendo. True love is not apt to be jealous and suspicious; it will not hide its faults from view, and draw a veil over them, instead of hunting them down, flushing them out, and getting rid of them. It will never indulge in suspicion without having proof, but will instead be inclined to be suspicious of evidence against the person it affects. It will barely accept a bad opinion of another, but when the evidence cannot be resisted, it will do so with regret and reluctance; hence it will never be prone to believe the worst of another based upon mere appearances, or be suspicious of anyone without good reason. It will not put the worst interpretation on things, but will instead put the best face on it that circumstances will allow. The writer of Proverbs certainly knew the value of love: "Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins" (Prov 10:12; NKJV). Hatred stirs up strife--it looks for opportunities to provoke hostility. It delights in disorder. In contrast, love conciliates; removes aggravations; makes allowances for the faults in others; puts the best construction on everything; and pours water, not oil, upon the flame.

That one possessed of this grace of love does not dwell on the evil that is done to him by another; he forgives, as God has forgiven him, he forgets the injury done to him, he does not contemplate revenge, or plan to do evil to the man that has done evil to him, as Esau did against his brother Jacob; but freely and fully forgives, as God, when he forgives sin, removes it from our account as far as the east is from the west.

The idea that the apostle wants to impress on the Corinthian Church is that love does not keep a record of evil done to it, in order to return it.

Paul does not mean to infer that any man does not have evil thoughts from time to time. God told Noah that all men had evil thoughts: "The LORD saw how evil humans had become on the earth. All day long their deepest thoughts were nothing but evil" (Gen 6:5; GW). Then He sent a flood to fix the problem. I can say from my experience of seventy-one years that I have evil thoughts, and every day I must ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness. My thoughts, though, are not continuously evil; and I have the presence of the Holy Spirit to keep me from acting out my thoughts. I thank God that He always forgives me and cleanses me and washes me whiter than snow. If you are honest, I think you would have to say that you have the same experience.

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
The joy and pleasure of love is the subject; expressed negatively in the first part of the verse, and positively in the second. Love "rejoiceth not in iniquity;" or it takes no pleasure in doing wrong to anyone, or hurting them or insulting them, or offending them. It does not accuse anyone of wickedness, or immorality, or sin, without very clear proof. Love does not wish for harm to come to anyone, and it will not hurt or sin against any man and least of all enjoy making someone miserable. Nor will it take delight in the faults and failings of others, and seek to shame them, either out of pride or animosity; one's faults and failings may be more than he can bear. The sins of others are more likely to incite feelings of grief in a loving spirit, than it is to provoke feelings of delight. It is the very height of meanness and cruelty to take pleasure in the misery of a fellow-creature, created in the image of God. And isn't falling into sin the worst misfortune that can happen to anyone; and isn't rejoicing in the misery of others inconsistent with the principles of Christianity, the teachings of Paul, and the teachings and example of Christ?

Neither does the possessor of love rejoice in his own sin; but on the contrary, he grieves over it; he mourns over his own transgressions, the corruption of his heart, his failings, and his secret sins--which are known only by God and his own soul.

Love is greatly distressed at the wickedness and immorality of the men of the world, and the sins of men who profess to be Christians cut him to the heart: and he does not rejoice in injustice, as the word iniquity may be translate, or in any unwarranted evil act or injury, that may be done to another person; even to an enemy. What a wonderful example of this type of love is on display, when Peter, in great eagerness to defend Jesus, drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants, who was more involved than the rest in apprehending Christ. The Savior was so far from rejoicing over Peter's murderous act (because I believe he meant to cut off the man's head, but he missed the mark and cut off his ear instead), that he was displeased with Peter for doing it, and was moved with so much compassion for that man, though he was his enemy, that he was moved to reconnect his ear.

but rejoiceth in the truth;
The joy and pleasure of love is the subject; it was expressed negatively in the first part of the verse, and here it is expressed positively. It "rejoiceth in the truth," or rather, love is glad that the gospel, which is commonly called the truth, has been successful in converting souls; and it rejoices to see men who have an evangelical spirit, and it is happy that bad men are made good. It takes no pleasure in their sins, but is very happy to see them prosper, and to show themselves men of virtue and integrity. It gives it a great deal of satisfaction to see truth and justice triumph in the lives of men, to catch sight of innocence on display, and to observe mutual faith and trust between the brethren established, and that godliness and true religion flourish.

Regarding truth:
* Love "rejoiceth with the truth."
* Love sympathizes with truth in its triumphs: "I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father" (2 John 1:4; NKJV). He rejoices because he had found her children walking in the truth, by keeping the commandment of the Father. The commandment referred to, the one which sums up all of God's commandments, which is love.
*  "The truth" is the Gospel truth, the inseparable ally of love: "But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--(Eph 4:15; NKJV). Truth is never to yield to false doctrine, but it must be spoken in love. Some cling to the truth tenaciously, but forget to speak it in love.

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Beareth all things,
Love persists in spite of all the evil in the world, and is not overcome by it. This is the meaning of "beareth" in this verse. Love bears up against the tide of evil, as the rock against the waves.

Some render this clause as, "covers all things," which is how the oldest manuscripts have it. It will draw a veil over the faults and failings of others. It will not publish the faults of a brother, until duty clearly demands it. Though such a man is free to tell his brother his faults in private, he is unwilling to expose him to public ridicule by making them public. We are quick to hide our own faults and therefore love teaches us to do the same with the faults of others. Love beareth all things, and so fulfils the law of Christ, which is the law of love,--will put up with the wrong done to it by others, without indulging in anger or seeking revenge, and will be patient when provoked. And when it incurs all kinds of hurt and unpleasant treatment, it bears up under it; such disagreeable things as contempt, slander, prison, exile, persecution, torture, and death itself, for the sake of others, and the cause of Christ. Notice what fortitude and resolve fervent love will give to the mind! Is there anything that love cannot endure for the sake of the beloved and for His sake!

Charity (love) will cover a multitude of sins, according to 1 Peter 4.8: "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins." Love not only bears the burdens that attach themselves, but it bears the burdens of others, forgiving and forgetting past offenses. "Above all things" does not suggest that "charity" or love is preferred to "prayer," but because love is the life-force, which animates all the other duties men owe to God and others, prayer cannot be effective unless it is accompanied by love. He presupposes that love exists among them, and he urges them to make it more fervent. Peter may have quoted Proverbs 10.12: "Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins."

Perhaps there is an additional idea included here: that by praying for them, love tries to have them covered by God; that prayer covered with love would be the instrument of bringing the sinner to God.

believeth all things,
Love does by no means destroy good sense, and, out of mere denseness and silliness, believe every word: "The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps" (Prov. 14:15; NKJV). The viewpoint of the world is that the Christian is a person who has a low I. Q., is very naïve, and will believe everything that is said to him. The real child of God--and the only kind of child of God is a real one--is not simple in that sense. He doesn't believe anything and everything. Have you ever noticed that the disciples were constantly questioning the Lord? The man we call "doubting Thomas" was constantly raising questions. Simon Peter asked many questions: "Lord, where are You going? Why can't I follow You?" Philip, the quiet one, asked Him, "Show us the Father. That's all we need." Judas (not Iscariot) asked, "How is it You will show us these things and not show them to the world?" These fellows were always raising questions. If you are a child of God, you will not be gullible. You're not going to swallow everything you hear. Faith is not a leap in the dark. Faith is not betting your life on something. Nor is it the little girl's definition, "Faith is believing what you know isn't so." My friend, faith rests upon a solid foundation, God says if it is not on a solid foundation, don't believe it. "The simple believeth every word." The prudent man, the wise man, tests what he hears. The fear of the Lord causes a wise man to test what he hears. He will not be taken in. He won't believe what the preacher says just because the preacher says it. He will check what the Word of God says. I want to say to you right now that you should not believe anything I say just because I say it. I am not the oracle of Delphi; I do not speak ex cathedra; I am not a know-it-all. You test what I say by the Word of God. There is a lot of sweet-sounding speech going out from churches and from the media. Oh, my friend, don't believe everything you hear. Test it by the Word of God.

Wisdom may dwell with love, and love may be cautious. But it is apt to believe well of all men, or at least to entertain a good opinion of them when there is no appearance to the contrary; likewise, love may believe well when there may be a shadow of doubt, if the evidence of bad behavior is not clear. All love is full of truthfulness, and apt to make the best of everything, and put the best face on it. It will stretch its faith in order to support a kind opinion of others; but it will form a bad opinion with the upmost reluctance. And when, in spite of this tendency, it cannot believe well of others, it will still hope that things will end well, and continue to hope as long as there is any possibility for improvement and restoration.

Christian love is, first and foremost, good-natured and kind, because it flows from one who has the mind of Christ. He is a truly happy man who has this heavenly fire glowing in his heart, flowing out of his mouth, and dispersing its warmth over all those with whom he associates. How beautiful a thing would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more motivated and animated by this divine principle, and highly regarded a command which the blessed Savior stressed! "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13.34, 35; NKJV). Christ commands them to love, as I have loved you. The love Christians should display for each other must be a sacrificial love similar to the Lord's love. It is so important that we grasp the meaning of this verse. In a day of church schisms and divisions, the words of Christ have deep, significant meaning. The world should recognize us as followers of Christ because our relationship to each other is permeated with love.

Love believes all things that should be believed; all that God says in his word, all his truths, and all his promises; but not what every preacher and teacher says.

hopeth all things,
"All things"
must be defined by the context of the four verses before us, because universal expressions of this kind must be limited for the sake of clarity. Those things that are unlawful must be excluded from consideration. There are crimes and sinful acts which it is not right for a man to conceal, or to allow passing unnoticed. This includes any violation of the laws of the land, and a man called upon to be a witness in court. But the phrase here refers to private or personal matters; and indicates a disposition not to make public, or to avenge the faults committed by others.

It follows, then, that "Hopeth all things" refers to the desire that all will turn out well. This must also refer to the conduct of others; and it means, that however dark conditions may appear; or how much one may fear that others are activated by indecent motives or are actually bad men, nevertheless there is a hope that matters may be explained and clarified; that the difficulties may be made to vanish; and that the conduct of others may be made to appear to be fair and pure. Love will hold on to this hope until all possibility of such a result has vanished, and it is compelled to believe that the conduct is indeed unlawful or immoral. This hope will extend to all things-to words, and actions, and plans; to public and to private communication; to what is said and done in our own presence, and to what is said and done in our absence. Love will do this, because it delights in the goodness and happiness of others, and will not believe anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.

 "Hopeth all things" includes hope for the accomplishment of all the promises of God, hope for the enjoyment of Him, hope for things that are not seen, hope for things that are still in the future, hope for heaven and eternal happiness, for more grace here and glory in the hereafter. Love hopes the best for all men, for all who profess faith in Christ, for those who profess faith but have fallen into sin; even hope for wicked men, that they may be better and brought to repentance.

endureth all things.
The phrase "endureth all things" is a reference to the basic qualities of fortitude, patience, a loving spirit, hardiness, and unyielding persistence. These qualities enable the child of God to persist regardless of the injustice, the hatred, the persecution, and the suffering that the cruelty of men can inflict--and death itself, for the elect's sake, for the sake of the Gospel, and especially for the sake of Christ Jesus, "who strengtheneth him."


Please send your questions, comments, and prayer requests.

 “Are the things you’re living for, worth Christ dying for?”