LOVE WORTH GIVING The Measure of Our Walk 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

LOVE WORTH GIVING The Measure of Our Walk 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive” (Phillips).

“Is never rude (Moffat), it does not insist on its rights (Goodspeed), it is not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs” (NEB);

 “Love is never glad when others go wrong (Moffat), but always glad when truth prevails” (Williams). Does not gloat over other men’s sins (NEB); but always glad when truth prevails” (Williams).

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust (Phillips); always hopeful (Moffat); hopes under all circumstances” (NBV).

“Love will never come to an end (NEB): the time will come when we outgrow prophecy (Knox); if now exist ecstatic speakings, they will cease (Williams); whether gaining of knowledge, it shall be done away” (Rotherham).


What is meant by “love?”

The study and understanding of love is complicated by the fact that there are so many ways in which the word “love” is used in conversation and writing today. We can read in the Bible that God expects us to love Him, each other, our enemies and then assure ourselves and others that we are doing exactly that.

But, do we actually love as the New Testament describes it? If the love of which we feel assured is not the love of which God speaks, then we are not fulfilling His expectations. Then, how can we know what the inspired writers of the Bible mean by love? We must keep in mind two very important things as we study our text for today.

First, remember that Scripture was not written in a vacuum.

We find this great chapter on love included in a serious letter by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth—a church with very serious problems. We see here how the Apostle Paul painted for the Corinthians a picture of themselves…in their factions, their jealousies, their vanity, their carnality, their misuse of Christian liberty, and their bragging about their spiritual gifts. We can also see how the Apostle Paul momentarily turned aside from his direct counsel and rebukes to show the Corinthians an ideal Christian life.

Second, we must remember that, unlike our language, the Greeks have several words for love.

The word “eros” was used to refer to love of deep desire, passionate and sensuous longing. It had a physical and sexual connotation and is nowhere used in the New Testament. The word “storge” referred to the kind of affection found in a family. The word “philia” was used to refer to the brotherly love. Finally, the word “agape” was used to express the unconditional kind of love that God expressed toward us through the Lord Jesus Christ. It implies loving when there is nothing to evoke love.  This is the word the Apostle Paul used in this chapter.


1 Corinthians 13:4(a)

“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive.” (Phillips)

What kind of love do you have in your heart? Is it slow to lose patience? Does it look for a way of being constructive?

Love is always constructive and kind, always fostering others and contributing well. Love does not boil with jealousy or stew with envy; never leaning to suspicion or lusting for control. Love is not anxious to impress, never bragging or exaggerating its status. Love does not suffer from an inflated ego, never cherishing exalted ideas of its own importance.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind just as Christ is kind. How was our Lord kind? That’s our challenge! When I read these things, kindness took on a new meaning. In Greek, kindness refers to “divesting your life.” It is contrary to the idea of investing. When you invest in something, you expect something in return. However, when you “divest,” you don’t expect anything in return. Our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed and divested His life for us. He was useful and constructive in His acts of love for us.

“The constructive power of an image is not measured in terms of its truth, but of the love it inspires.”

Sarah Patton Boyle, U.S. civil rights activist and author.


1 Corinthians 13:5

“Is never rude (Moffat), it does not insist on its rights (Goodspeed), it is not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs” (NEB).

One of the most important characteristics of love is “generosity,” which is the opposite of selfishness. Love seeks the well-being of others, and this involves the giving of self for the sake of others.

The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) precisely because He wants to see us love others just as He has loved us.

When God loved us, He did so by giving—offering up His only begotten Son for the sake of our salvation (John 3:16). Part and parcel of selflessness is courtesy.

Verse 5 informs us that love is not rude. It does not insist on its rights; rather, it is manifested when we are polite and respectful to others. When we truly care about others we will not be rude to them but instead go out of our way to be courteous. If we are disrespectful or demeaning towards other people with our thoughts, words or time, we do not love others as we ought.

Moreover, in addition to being courteous and generous, “agape” love is not easily angered. For love “is not irritable or resentful.” This does not mean love never gets angry, for God, who is Himself love, is angered by sin. Love that is not irritable or resentful is a love not easily provoked.

The Word of God calls us to have self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we get angry at every circumstance we are not controlling our emotions. To love others means we work hard to avoid getting angry over petty things. It also means we learn not to get upset over situations which we have little or no control of.

We should be concerned about understanding our own idiosyncrasies and frustrations. That way, we can rightly assess our situation, maintaining self-control and responding appropriately to the different circumstances we face. Love does not explode in anger every time something goes wrong.

The hardest people to be courteous to are the people who know us the best. How often are we rude and irritable with our spouses and children even as we exercise a great deal of self-control with those who are only barely acquaintances? How have you treated your family and close friends today? Have you blown up in anger or been rude to them? If so, go and apologize to them and endeavor to love them selflessly at all times.


1 Corinthians 13:6(a)

“Love is never glad when others go wrong (Moffat), but always glad when truth prevails.” (Williams)

Love does not applaud injustice or imperfection, never gloating when someone is wronged or flawed.

Be aware that what you do will affect the people around you. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

None but he whose heart is filled with love for God and all mankind can keep this precept, either in its spirit or letter. Self-love will feel itself sadly cramped when brought within the limits of this precept—”but God has spoken it!”

It is the spirit and design of the law and the prophets—the sum of all that is laid down in the Scriptures, relative to men’s conduct toward each other. It seems as if God had written it upon the hearts of all men, for sayings of this kind may be found among all nations, Jewish, Christians and Heathen.

  • Let us tolerate the differences of the people around us.
  • Let us use the basic standards of etiquette by thanking people who do things for us.
  • Let us be punctual for all of our appointments.
  • Let us have empathy.
  • Let us anticipate the needs of others.

“When we ask for love, we don’t ask others to be fair to us—but rather to care for us, to be considerate of us. There is a world of difference here between demanding justice…and begging or pleading for love.” Mortimer Adler


1 Corinthians 13:6(b)

“Does not gloat over other men’s sins (NEB); but always glad when truth prevails” (Williams).

Love cheers alongside Truth—they share in the joy of each other’s triumphs. In 1 Peter 4:8, it is written, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” This truth is so important that it is taught in the Old Testament in Proverbs 10:12:

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”

The very thing that makes loving others challenging is the fact that they have weaknesses. The Bible tells us that we need to overlook some sins, cover those sins—not in the sense of pretending that they don’t exist or condoning them, but as seen in the context—you have to love others in spite of their faults and failures.

We need to love others and not be judgmental nor turn our backs on them just because they do or say stupid things or because they don’t always act the way we want them to. The Lord Jesus commanded us to love one another—so we have to find a way, His way, of accomplishing that love for each other. The Lord Jesus also commanded us to love others as He loved us, and He certainly loved us in spite of our defects and mess-ups—God loves us unconditionally.

The church, the body of Christ, is the proper place for all of us to experience unconditional love. This is the place for us to pass on God’s unconditional love to others. The church is the place where people are to be loved so that they could feel safe in spite of their imperfections. The church is the place where people gather to worship the True and Living God. In order for that to happen, we need:

  • To look beyond the faults and mistakes of others.
  • To learn and practice behavior that pleases God.
  • To work on the areas in which we must grow spiritually and at the same time work on loving others while they grow spiritually, too.

 “Our righteousness is in Him, and our hope depends, not upon the exercise of grace in us, but upon the fullness of grace and love in Him, and upon His obedience unto death.” John Newton


1 Corinthians 13:7(a)

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust.” (Phillips)

 This verse reads like a 4 point list of emphasis in the description of what “agape” love is designed to be.

“Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Now, let’s consider the last phrase, “endureth all things.” I compared some of these words in relation to patience that are in the passage.

In verse 4 there is the expression “Charity suffereth long.” While these phrases have similarities, there is an interesting contrast in the meanings of the words that were translated. The word we find in verse 4 is “makrothumeo.”  This word means being slow to anger, exercising self-restraint in the face of provocation. It is typically used in reference to patience toward people.

Here in verse 7, the word is “hupomeno.”  While there are similarities and overlap in the meanings, this word was usually used in reference to patience in the face of circumstances, rather than confrontations with people. Think about what this is telling us about love. This kind of love will not just survive circumstances, but thrive through them.

 Circumstances, no matter how extreme, are irrelevant to this “agape” love.

Remember that this “agape” love is that same kind of love that the Lord Jesus Christ possesses. I am reminded of a passage about God’s love:

“Deus nobiscum, quis contra.”

“If God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:31(b)

What does that tell us about God’s love? Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. No circumstance that happens around me can obliterate God’s love for me. I can walk away from Him, but even that will not make Him love me less. Consider this passage in Scripture:

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Now, let’s bring this back to our passage in 1 Corinthians 13:7 and the discussion on love. When I learn this kind of love, it will not be affected by circumstances. This kind of love is truly special! So, let’s put this into practice.

 Love…endures all things…in my relationship with ______________________.

 Put a person’s name in the blank and spend some time thinking about this in your relationship with them. This could be a spouse, son, daughter, parent, friend, pastor, or other person with whom you have contact. How would this improve your relationship?


1 Corinthians 13 7(b)

“…always hopeful (Moffat); hopes under all circumstances” (NBV).


  • There is no limit to its faith.
  • It hopes under all circumstances.
  • It gives us power to endure everything.


  • Choosing our battles wisely.
  • Becoming aware of our moods and not allowing ourselves to be fooled by the low ones.
  • Looking beyond behavior.
  • Seeing innocence.
  • Making service an integral part of our lives.

This love that is worth giving is capable of overcoming all obstacles or any other contradicting emotion.

Amor vincit omnia—love conquers all!


1 Corinthians 13:8

“Love will never come to an end (NEB): the time will come when we outgrow prophecy (Knox); if now exist ecstatic speakings, they will cease (Williams); whether gaining of knowledge, it shall be done away” (Rotherham).

  • Steadfast, never fails (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
  • Being relaxed.
  • Doing one thing at a time.
  • Practicing being in the eye of the storm.
  • Being flexible with changes in our plans.
  • Thinking of what we have instead of what we want.
  • Being willing to learn from friends and family.
  • Being happy where we are.
  • Remembering that we become what we practice the most.
  • Filling our lives with love.

Can we measure something that is immeasurable? To quote Horace Greely,

“Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”



  1. Talk is cheap!We can be sympathetic to people all we want and it does not change their situation.
  2. The ultimate expression ofLOVEis ACTION. Those who truly love us will help us do something about the problem.
  3. Agapic lovers are forgiving.
  4. Agapic lovers never “fall in love.” Their love for others is always available.
  5. Agapic lovers are patient with the behaviors of the objects of their love.
  6. Agapic lovers are always supportive of their partners.


  1. Redefining what meaningful accomplishments should be.
  2. If being peaceful and loving are among our priorities, then why not redefine our most meaningful accomplishments as being those that support and measure qualities such as kindness and contentment.
  3. Rather than being consumed exclusively with external successes, let’s try putting more emphasis on what’s really important.


Lord, help us to measure up with these standards that we may make our love worth giving so that we may give glory to your Name.


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