1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Devotional Commentary

Love's sacred manners: Devotional Commentary for April 30-May 6

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (GW)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
Who can separate us from the Love of God!

13:4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant.

In our devotional reading on First Corinthians 13:1-3, we meditated upon the marvelous truth about God's Love, and, how it is the most excellent way to fulfill God's purpose for the spiritual gifts He has given to the Church. We also delineated God's Love as different from man's sense of fondness and care. We did not, by any means, suggest that man's sense of fondness and care is without value. But we noted that it falls far short of fulfilling God's purpose, because, whereas God's Love is God's own attribute fulfilling His divine purpose through the gifts He has given to His appointed servants, man's sense of love is often the emotional outworking of man's sense of self-satisfaction with the person or things loved.

While as mortals we do not have the mental capacity to capture the essence of any of god's attributes, Paul gives us here a glimpse into the nature of God's Love in the meditation before us for this week. He does not offer any technical or academic definition for Love, God's Love. Instead, he outlines a description of God's Love by listing its properties and corresponding attributes which signify the person and character of the individual in whom the Love of God is actively at work. Accordingly, Paul starts out by clearly depicting Love's charitable attributes along with the ungodly traits from which it is free.

The first two attributes mentioned in verse four describe God's Love as patient and kind. This means that God's Love is not only spiritually fortified to face trials, temptations, and sufferings, but also is warm and caring in spite of adversities. God's Love is calm and persevering as well as sensitive and understanding. Its demeanor in adversities is always tempered by forbearance and kind dispensation toward friends and foe alike.

Paul also tells us that God's Love is free from jealousy, self-promotion, and egotistic condescension. God's Love does not envy, boast, bloat in pride, or gloat at any one's misfortune:

  • Jealousy spawns envy and thrusts its victim into a covetous attitude that is devoid of Love, God's Love.
  • Self-promotion engenders pride that boastfully elevates itself above all persons of any station.
  • Conceit demeans others because it views everyone else from a position of false exaltation.

None of these properties are compatible with patience and kindness. Patience and compassion cannot cohabit with envy and pride. A patient and a compassionate heart considers others before itself and looks to God for its own welfare.

On the contrary, an envious and a conceited heart is driven by greed and always seeks to serve itself not only excluding others, but also at the expense of everyone else. An attitude lacking in Love, God's Love, is therefore, devoid of patience and kindness, and is instead polluted by envy and conceit. Thus, because Love is free from envy and conceit, it is the most excellent way, indeed the only way for cultivating meaningful experience through patience and kindness.

13:5 It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs.

God's Love is not just patient and kind, or, merely free from jealousy, self-affection, and arrogance. It is also free from anything selfish. It is not easily angered. Nor is it preoccupied with evil. God's Love is not contemptuous and does not employ filthy expressions in its communications. It is not rude, and does not behave contrary to decency.

God's Love does not incite fury or undue indignation. Nor does it erupt in anger because it functions under the authority of the indwelling Holy Spirit. God's Love is not vengeful because evil does not dictate its ways. Thus, because God's Love is modest, well-tempered, considerate, and good, it is the most excellent way to live and serve as Christ’s disciple through the spiritual gifts conferred upon the church of Jesus Christ.

God's Love is so selfless that it does not keep track of any wrong done to it. It is so giving that it is not preoccupied with itself. Hence, a disciple filled with the true godly Love is forgiving, giving, decent, selfless, and unconcerned because he or she fully trusts the Holy Spirit Who engenders God’s Love in his or her heart.

13:6 It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.

Paul describes God's Love not only by its properties and attributes, but also in view of its reactions and responses in all circumstances. That is, God's Love operates out of its own intrinsic nature without being influenced by external conditions. God's Love is not pleased with injustice or evil but rejoices in the truth. Although displeasure and joy are the respective natural consequences of injustice and truth, Love’s response to both circumstances stems from the natural characteristics of its own essential attributes. In other words, Love’s aversion toward injustice predicates the essential contradiction between good and evil while its joy in truth affirms the profoundness of the true hope in the goodness of God’s gift.

God's Love does not rejoice in injustice because its attributes are not compatible with wickedness. Iniquitous behavior thrives upon attitudes that do not express the attributes of God's Love. An unjust system is filled with evil, falsehood, injustice, and disregard to all things good and decent. Likewise, an iniquitous person is envious, greedy, vengeful, and selfish as opposed to being patient, kind, and selfless. God's Love rejoices in truth because God's truth sets it on a righteous platform upon which it is fully expressed in righteousness and holiness. God's Love rejoices in truth because God's truth magnifies patience, kindness, selflessness, and care.

13:7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

The text in this verse is rendered somewhat vague by the adverb "never". It would be rather hard to view God's Love as an all-tolerant or all-inclusive passion after having declared in preceding verses that God's Love does not rejoice in injustice and other ungodly behaviors. To be sure, all things are not equally good or bad. All things do not always evenly measure-up to the same criteria. The adverb "never" in this context is probably used to underscore Love’s timeless resilience. In other words, due to its patience and compassion, there would be hardly anything that God's Love would not be able to face.

Because God's Love is patient, it would endure regardless of adversities. Because God's Love is compassionate, hope and faith would sustain it to the end. Certainly, God's Love does not acquiesce with wickedness. It would not fall victim to the vicious ways of sin and disobedience. Because it rejoices in truth, God's Love always faces all things in the context of hope, faith, and compassionate tolerance without acquiescing with the substance of sin and defiance.

God's Love absorbs suffering and pain because its deliverance is always at hand with God. God's Love does not seek to avenge itself because vengeance belongs to the Lord. It is in the nature of God's Love to be patient and trusting. Therefore, regardless of any condition or circumstance, God's Love never gives up because its hope rests upon the only true source of true Love, even God the Almighty Himself.

therefore, exercising the spiritual gifts given to the Church means: God Himself operating His own gifts in His own Love through the servants He had appointed, because the life that we now live in the flesh is not us, but Christ Jesus Who lives His life in us to the praise of His Name and for His Glory!


The essence of Paul's message in First Corinthians chapter thirteen is that: God's work is accomplished in God's Love through God's people. That is the only way, indeed the only effective way. Most certainly, the power of God's Love accomplishes God's purpose toward others through His redeemed children while cultivating godliness in us, fostering a life of godly love and diligent service in our hearts so that we might be the conduits of God's reach to the lost world around us. This is a marvelous truth of divine significance, an integral facet of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

God's Love does not merely flow through us to get to others. But as a major aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit, it transforms our own lives as it ministers to others through us. Along with "joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance," God's Love applies every attribute of godliness in us, making us not only suitable conduits for service, but also proven witnesses of god's transforming Love.

When God's Love ministers to others through us while at the same time working on us, patience, kindness, hope, endurance, joy, selflessness, truthfulness, etc., gradually become the way of life for us. As God's power engages our hearts and minds unto godly life and service, we will begin to find ourselves rejoicing in the truth, and only in the truth. We will no longer have the desire to serve the ungodly influences of our sin-nature. we will begin to experience freedom from envy, jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, and the like. We will overcome the self-serving attitudes of our sin-nature. We will find satisfaction in being the voice, hands, and feet of God's redeeming Love.

When the power of God's Love begins to prevail in our redeemed hearts, the old ways of our natural preferences and inclinations begin to fade, surrendering our soul, emotions, will, mind, sense of fondness and care to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Who steadily transforms us into the newness of our life in Jesus Christ. Because the Father loves us through and in His Son, the power of God's Love makes us not just more loving, but:

  • More loving and patient;
  • More loving and kind;
  • More loving and accepting;
  • More loving and understanding;
  • More loving and humble;
  • More loving and polite;
  • More loving and selfless;
  • More loving and charitable;
  • More loving and giving;
  • More loving and resilient;
  • More loving and compassionate;
  • More loving and joyful;
  • More loving and truthful;
  • More loving and hopeful;
  • More loving and trusting;
  • More loving and just;
  • More loving and enduring.

A heart that has been made more loving by the power of God's Love, will not be undermined by anger, worry, envy, jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, and the like. Such a heart is characterized by godly attributes and is free from the carnal attitudes of the sin-nature. God's Love enables us to love one another and serve our Father, standing in the gap with courage and enduring faith in spite of what we might face. We will be the light on the hill showing the world the Way to life eternal. We will be the messengers of Love and compassion, making a difference in a world which is lost in despair and debilitating darkness. As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim the Good News of God's salvation!" Those beautiful feet are ours when we serve God in His Love and serve the world in God's Love.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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