|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:4-7 Some of the effects of charity are stated, that we may know whether we have this grace; and that if we have not, we may not rest till we have it. This love is a clear proof of regeneration, and is a touchstone of our professed faith in Christ. In this beautiful description of the nature and effects of love, it is meant to show the Corinthians that their conduct had, in many respects, been a contrast to it. Charity is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure. Not that charity destroys all regard to ourselves, or that the charitable man should neglect himself and all his interests. But charity never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or to neglect others. It ever prefers the welfare of others to its private advantage. How good-natured and amiable is Christian charity! How excellent would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more under this Divine principle, and paid due regard to the command on which its blessed Author laid the chief stress! Let us ask whether this Divine love dwells in our hearts. Has this principle guided us into becoming behaviour to all men? Are we willing to lay aside selfish objects and aims? Here is a call to watchfulness, diligence, and prayer.
Verse 6. - Rejoiceth not in iniquity; rather, at unrighteousness. The rejoicing at sin, the taking pleasure in them that commit sin, the exultation over the fall of others into sin, are among the worst forms of malignity (Romans 1:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:12). The Greeks had a word, ἐπιχαιρεκακία, to describe "rejoicing at the evil" (whether sin or misfortune) of others (Proverbs 24:17); Schadenfreude, "malignant joy" (Arist., 'Eth.,' 2:7, 15). It is the detestable feeling indicated by the remark of La Rochefoucald, "that there is something not altogether disagreeable to us in the misfortunes of our best friends." Rejoiceth in the truth; rather, with the truth. There are many who "resist the truth" (2 Timothy 3:8); or who "hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18); but love accepts it, keeps it pure, exults in all its triumphs (Acts 11:23 2John 4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Rejoiceth not in iniquity,.... Neither in his own, nor in others; but on the contrary is grieved for it; he mourns over his own iniquities, the corruption of his heart, the infirmities of his life, his secret sins, which none know but God and his own soul; he is greatly troubled at the profaneness and immorality of the men of the world, and the sins of professors cut him to the heart: nor does he rejoice in injustice, as the word used here may be rendered, in any unjust action or injury, that may be done to any, yea, even to an enemy; even as Christ, when Peter, in great zeal for him, drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants, who was more busy than the rest in apprehending Christ, and showed more malignancy than others, was so far from rejoicing at it, that he was displeased with Peter for doing it, and was moved with so much compassion to that man, though his enemy, as to heal him: but rejoiceth in the truth; in the truth of the Gospel, and the success of it; such an one can do nothing against it, but for it, will buy it at any rate, but sell it upon no account whatever; and he rejoices greatly when he sees any walking in it, and agreeably to it; for truth, as it stands opposed to iniquity or unrighteousness, may signify an upright, holy, and righteous conversation, a conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ, which that teaches, and by which it is adorned; now a gracious soul desires this in itself, and delights to see it in others.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. rejoiceth in the truth—rather, "rejoiceth with the truth." Exults not at the perpetration of iniquity (unrighteousness) by others (compare Ge 9:22, 23), but rejoices when the truth rejoices; sympathizes with it in its triumphs (2Jo 4). See the opposite (2Ti 3:8), "Resist the truth." So "the truth" and "unrighteousness" are contrasted (Ro 2:8). "The truth" is the Gospel truth, the inseparable ally of love (Eph 4:15; 2Jo 12). The false charity which compromises "the truth" by glossing over "iniquity" or unrighteousness is thus tacitly condemned (Pr 17:15).
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