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Love

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NASB)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; 
love does not brag and is not arrogant,


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Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 13:4 is a famous Bible verse from the New Testament that describes what love is, and what God is.

Let’s look at the first attribute in this verse—patient. In the Greek it means: be long spirited, bear long, be longsuffering, and my favorite, patiently endure.

Do you think of someone in particular when you see those definitions? When I see “patiently endure,” I immediately think of my husband. He has patiently endured in our thirty-two years of marriage—professionally, financially and relationally.

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God has revealed this attribute of Himself through my husband. When you see this trait in someone, you’re seeing God, for God is love (1 John 4:8), and love is patient.

Next, 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is kind. I love the Greek meaning for this word: useful (in manner or morals). An act or word of kindness reflects a sense of morality or manners—a person’s values.

Again, if God is love and love is kind, then God is kind. When we witness an act of kindness, we are witnessing God. Regardless of the person or vessel used to speak or act in kindness, and despite their faults or beliefs, it is the heart of God showing through.

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The beauty of His kindness shines through the darkest and most desolate places and situations.

Remember the cross.

Next, 1 Corinthians 13:4 speaks about what love is not. It is not jealous, which in the Greek means: have warmth of feeling for or against; covet earnestly, envy, zealous. Webster’s defines it like this: resentfully envious.

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Though we see someone with an attribute or possession we have desired and worked hard for all our life, we can look at them without resentment, harbor no grudge in our heart toward them and even be happy for them. That’s God, and that’s love!

The next thing love does not do is brag. The Greek translation is: to boast; vaunt itself. Webster’s defines “brag” as: boastful talk.

We’ve all heard someone brag and also done it ourselves. We have an innate need to feel important, validated and loved. The trouble is, we look for that validation from people instead of believing it is already ours through Jesus Christ.

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There is no need to go looking for something to fill all the holes in our hearts and heal the wounds left by relationships or circumstances of our past, when all the healing and wholeness we could ever want and need is in Jesus Christ.

He died to give it to us.

We don’t have to anxiously wait until we make it to the top, or wait until we find the right person for the attention and affection we so desperately need, when the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and is eager to reveal to us that we already have what we need in Him.

Stop waiting and stop striving; start receiving.

Lastly, 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love is not arrogant. In the Greek, that means to inflate, make proud, haughty. Webster’s has a very telling definition of “haughty,” which is: having or showing great pride in oneself and contempt for others.

We can have pride in who we are in Christ and what He empowers us to do, but if we have contempt for others then chances are we fit the bill for “arrogant.” Love is not arrogant, so God is not arrogant.

Christ is our example and as a disciple of Christ, we are being molded to be more like him. God has meticulous ways of squeezing arrogance out of us, even when we thought we were clear of it.

I’m so grateful His grace is sufficient for all my weaknesses. Aren’t you?

Study the Bible verse of 1 Corinthians 13:4 to see love, to see God, revealed in your life and in your world.

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