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A Definition of Biblical Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Paul wrote at least two letters to the church at Corinth. And a significant portion of each was dedicated to resolving problems within the church. This was a divided church that was lacking in love. And, in this passage, Paul seems to be addressing many of their failures, contrasting them with the love they should have for each other. A love that, if demonstrated toward each other, would resolve their issues.

In these four verses, Paul provides us with a definition of biblical love, listing some things that love is, and others that it is not. What is common among all of them is that love is others-focused. Love looks to build others up, even at the expense of self. Love, as described here, is not a matter of how I feel, but of what I do.

And a love like this should be our goal as followers of Jesus. In the opening verses of this chapter, Paul told us that no matter what we do, if we do not have love, it is all for naught. John echoes this in 1 John 4:7-12. He tells us to love one another. And that the one who does not love, does not know God, because God is love.

I find it very hard to love some people. But love for each other is not optional. It is the one thing I am commanded to do (John 15:12, 17). And when I choose to obey Jesus’ command, I find that his Spirit, living in me, helps me to love like this (Gal. 5:22), even to those I find challenging to love. And when I love, I more fully experience God’s love (1 John 4:16) and promote love and unity within the body of Christ.

Be willing to follow the example of Jesus (1 John 4:10-11), and love one another with this kind of love.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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