1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:3

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

I give all my possessions to feed the poor. Like Jesus, Paul eagerly gave to the poor (Gal. 2:10). He did not give out of religious duty or to put a shine on his reputation. He did it because he loved people and wanted to share the love of God with as many as possible. See entry for 1 Cor. 9:24.

1 Corinthians 13:4

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

(a) Love is. The original word for love (agapē) is the same word used to describe God in 1 John 4:8. “God is love.” Since God is the source and definition of unconditional love, this wonderful passage about love, can also be read as a picture of God’s true character. God is patient and kind. God is not easily provoked and keeps no account of wrong. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. God never fails.

(b) Love is kind which means God is kind. As the psalmist wrote, his lovingkindness is everlasting (Ps. 136).

1 Corinthians 13:5

does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

(a) Does not seek its own. True love is other-focused. It doesn’t keep score.

(b) Is not provoked. Some people imagine that God is easily angered, that his benevolence evaporates the moment they sin. But God’s love for you is as constant as sunshine. Your heavenly Father loves you when you’re up and he loves you when you’re down. He loves you when you get it right and he loves you when you get it wrong.

“But does he love me when I sin?” Haven’t you seen the cross? “The proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, Phillips). You need to settle this in your heart: God loves you. Period. There is nothing you can do to make him love you more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less.

Further reading: “Does God love me when I sin?

(c) Does not take into account a wrong suffered. True love holds no grudges, and keeps no record of wrongs. Contrary to what you may have heard, God will never play video tapes of your secret sins (2 Cor. 5:19).

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