Over the next several weeks, I’ll be doing an in-depth word study on 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4 through 8: about love. Most of us see love as an emotion, which is true: it is. Yet love is so much deeper than we can imagine, especially God’s love for us. He loves all of us – you, me, everyone – unconditionally. Nothing can separate us from His Love, and it’s so much deeper and wider than you can imagine! Can you imagine what it feels like to be loved unconditionally? Love is more than a word or emotion: it’s action. 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4 through 8 outlines exactly what love is and what it does.
Why do we study Bible verses from original Hebrew and Greek, you may ask. It’s because Hebrew and Greek are the languages the Bible was originally written in, and so when we want to learn what the translation is truly meaning, we look at Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. I guarantee that when you do this, it will enlighten the verses in such a deeper way than you ever thought possible. So let’s get started!
Before we start with verse 4, let’s just recap what verses 1 through 3 says to give you a little background (I’m just going to write it here, this isn’t the part we’re going to study in depth):
Verse 1 starts, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.” (Verse 2): “And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing.” (Verse 3): “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
First off, charity is the Greek word: agape, which means: “affection or benevolence; especially (plural) a love-feast; dear, love.” So whenever the word charity is listed in these verses, it means love. Secondly, verses 1 through 3 are basically saying that you can speak in tongues, have the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries and all knowledge, have enough faith to move mountains, feed the poor, and you can even give your body to be burned and yet none of that will mean anything if you don’t love other people!
So what exactly is love? What do we have to do in order to have love in our lives? Verse 4 starts us with the basics:
Verse 4 (from the King James version): “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,”
Let’s look at this verse in great detail. Remember charity is the Greek word agape, which means love, benevolence, or affection. Keep that in mind as we study the other parts to this verse.
Suffereth long comes from the Greek Word makrothumeo, which means: “to be long-spirited, forbearing or patient; bear (suffer) long, be longsuffering, have (long) patience, be patient, patiently endure.”
So firstly, love is patient and it endures suffering patiently.
Secondly, the word kind comes from the Greek word chrestevomai, which means: “to show oneself useful, act benevolently.” So love means that you make yourself useful and act benevolently, as in, you show other people kindness.
Thirdly, love envieth not. Envieth comes from the Greek Word zeloo, which means: “to have warmth feeling for or against; affect, covet (earnestly), (have), desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, be zealously affected.” This means that love doesn’t get jealous or envious, it doesn’t act upon envy or coveting anything or anyone.
Fourth, vaunteth not itself comes from the Greek Word perperevomai, which means: “braggart, to boast.” So love doesn’t brag or boast about itself.
Lastly, love is not puffed up. Puffed up comes from the Greek Word phusioo, which means: “in the primary sense of blowing, to inflate, to make proud, haughty.” So love isn’t prideful or haughty; it doesn’t puff itself up.”
Love is patient and it endures during troubling times, times of suffering. It is kind to other people and makes yourself useful, and it doesn’t get jealous or envious or act upon those feelings. Love doesn’t brag or boast about itself and it isn’t prideful.
Are you starting to get a picture of what love is about? What can God be trying to tell you through this verse?
I challenge you this week to try to live out 1 Corinthians verse 4 in your life to show anyone around you what love truly means! Join me next week as we analyze verse 5!