1 Corinthians 13:7
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
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(7) Beareth all things.—The full thought of the original here is that love silently endures whatever it has to suffer.

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.Beareth all things - Compare the note at 1 Corinthians 9:12. Doddridge renders this, "covers all things." The word used here (στέγει stegei) properly means to "cover" (from στέγη stegē, a covering, roof; Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:6); and then to "hide," "conceal," not to make known. If this be the sense here, then it means that love is disposed to hide or conceal the faults and imperfections of others; not to promulgate or blazon them abroad, or to give any undue publicity to them. Benevolence to the individual or to the public would require that these faults and errors should be concealed. If this is the sense, then it accords nearly with what is said in the previous verse. The word may also mean, to forbear, bear with, endure. Thus, it is used in 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:5. And so our translators understand it here, as meaning that love is patient, long-suffering, not soon angry not disposed to revenge. And if this is the sense, it accords with the expression in 1 Corinthians 13:4, "love suffers long." The more usual classic meaning is the former; the usage in the New Testament seems to demand the latter. Rosenmuller renders it, "bears all things;" Bloomfield prefers the other interpretation. Locke and Macknight render it "cover." The "real" sense of the passage is not materially varied, whichever interpretation is adopted. It means, that in regard to the errors and faults of others, there is a disposition "not" to notice or to revenge them. There is a willingness to conceal, or to bear with them patiently.

All things - This is evidently to be taken in a popular sense, and to he interpreted in accordance with the connection. All universal expressions of this kind demand to be thus limited. The meaning must be, "as far as it can consistently or lawfully be done." There are offences which it is not proper or right for a man to conceal, or to suffer to pass unnoticed. Such are those where the laws of the land are violated, and a man is called on to testify, etc. But the phrase here refers to private matters; and indicates a disposition "not" to make public or to avenge the faults committed by others.

Believeth all things - The whole scope of the connection and the argument here requires us to understand this of the conduct of others. It cannot mean, that the man who is under the influence of love is a man of "universal credulity;" that he makes no discrimination in regard to things to be believed; and is as prone to believe a falsehood as the truth; or that he is at no pains to inquire what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong. But it must mean, that in regard to the conduct of others, there is a disposition to put the best construction on it; to believe that they may be actuated by good motives, and that they intend no injury; and that there is a willingness to suppose, as far as can be, that what is done is done consistently with friendship, good feeling, and virtue. Love produces this, because it rejoices in the happiness and virtue of others, and will not believe the contrary except on irrefragable evidence.

Hopeth all things - Hopes that all will turn out well. This must also refer to the conduct of others; and it means, that however dark may be appearances; how much soever there may be to produce the fear that others are actuated by improper motives or are bad people, yet that there is a "hope" that matters may be explained and made clear; that the difficulties may he made to vanish; and that the conduct of others may be made to "appear" to be fair and pure. Love will "hold on to this hope" until all possibility of such a result has vanished and it is compelled to believe that the conduct is not susceptible of a fair explanation. This hope will extend to "all things" - to words and actions, and plans; to public and to private contact; to what is said and done in our own presence, and to what is said and done in our absence. Love will do this, because it delights in the virtue and happiness of others, and will not credit anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.

Endureth all things - Bears up under, sustains, and does not complain. Bears up under all persecutions at the hand of man; all efforts to injure the person, property, or reputation; and hears all that may be laid upon us in the providence and by the direct agency of God; compare Job 13:15. The connection requires us to understand it principally of our treatment at the hands of our fellow-men.

7. Beareth all things—without speaking of what it has to bear. The same Greek verb as in 1Co 9:12. It endures without divulging to the world personal distress. Literally said of holding fast like a watertight vessel; so the charitable man contains himself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship.

believeth all things—unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false, all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another. Compare Jas 3:17, "easy to be entreated"; Greek, "easily persuaded."

hopeth—what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope.

endureth—persecutions in a patient and loving spirit.

The charitable man beareth all injuries with patience; he

believeth all things that are good of his brother, so far is he from being credulous to his prejudice;

endureth all things that a good man ought to endure, that is, any evils done to himself. In the same sense Solomon saith, Proverbs 10:12: Love covereth all sins. Beareth all things,.... The burdens of fellow Christians, and so fulfils the law of Christ, which is the law of love; the infirmities of weak believers, and the reproaches and persecutions of the world: or "covers all things", as it may be rendered, even a multitude of sins, as charity is said to do, 1 Peter 4:8 not by conniving at them, or suffering them to be upon a brother; but having privately and faithfully reproved for them, and the offender being brought to a sense and acknowledgment of them, he freely forgives them as trespasses against him, covers them with the mantle of love, and industriously hides and conceals them from others;

believeth all things; that are to be believed, all that God says in his word, all his truths, and all his promises; and even sometimes in hope against hope, as Abraham did, relying upon the power, faithfulness, and other perfections of God; though such a man will not believe every spirit, every preacher and teacher, nor any but such as agree with the Scriptures of truth, the standard of faith and practice; nor will he believe every word of man, which is the character of a weak and foolish man; indeed, a man of charity or love is willing to believe all the good things reported of men; he is very credulous of such things, and is unwilling to believe ill reports of persons, or any ill of men; unless it is open and glaring, and is well supported, and there is full evidence of it; he is very incredulous in this respect:

hopes all things; that are to be hoped for; hopes for the accomplishment of all the promises of God; hopes for the enjoyment of him in his house and ordinances; hopes for things that are not seen, that are future, difficult, though possible to be enjoyed: hopes for heaven and eternal happiness, for more grace here and glory hereafter; hopes the best of all men, of all professors of religion, even of wicked men, that they may be better and brought to repentance, and of fallen professors, who declare their repentance, and make their acknowledgments; he hopes well of them, that they are sincere, and all is right and will appear so:

endureth all things; that are disagreeable to the flesh; all afflictions, tribulations, temptations, persecutions, and death itself, for the elect's sake, for the sake of the Gospel, and especially for the sake of Christ Jesus.

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7. Πάντα] popular hyperbole. Grotius aptly says: “Fert, quae ferri ullo modo possunt.”

στέγει] as in 1 Corinthians 9:12 : all things she bears, holds out under them (suffert, Vulgate), without ceasing to love,—all burdens, privation, trouble, hardship, toil occasioned to her by others. Other interpreters (Hammond, Estius, Mosheim, Bengel, al[2076]; Rückert hesitatingly) understand: she covers all up, i.e. excuses all wrong. Likewise correct from a linguistic point of view, according to classical usage; but why depart from 1 Corinthians 9:12?

πάντα-g0- πιστ-g0-.] Opposite of a distrustful spirit; bona fides towards one’s neighbour in all points.

πάντα ἐλπίζει] opposite of that temperament, which expects no more good at all from one’s neighbour for the future; good confidence as to the future attainment of her ends.

πάντα ὑπομένει] all things she stands out against—all sufferings, persecutions, provocations, etc., inflicted on her. This is the established conception of ὑπομονή in the N. T. (Matthew 10:22, al[2077]; Romans 12:12; 2 Corinthians 1:6, al[2078]), according to which the endurance is conceived of as a holding of one’s ground, the opposite of φεύγειν (Plato, Tim. p. 49 E, Theact. p. 177 B). Comp 2 Timothy 2:10.

Note further how the expressions rise as they follow each other in this verse, which is beautiful in its simplicity: if love encounter from others what may seem too hard to be endured, all things she bears; if she meet what may cause distrust, all things she trusts; if she meet what may destroy hope in one’s neighbour, all things she hopes; if she encounter what may lead to giving way, against all she holds out.

[2076] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[2077] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[2078] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.7. beareth all things] Suffers, Vulgate, and so Wiclif and Tyndale. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 9:12, where the same word is used. Here it means to endure patiently indignities and affronts, save of course where the well-being of others requires that they should be repelled.

believeth all things] “Not that a Christian should knowingly and willingly suffer himself to be imposed upon; not that he should deprive himself of prudence and judgment, so that he may be the more easily deceived; but that he should esteem it better to be deceived by his kindness and gentleness of heart, than to injure his brother by needless suspicion.” Calvin. “It is always ready to think the best; to put the most favourable construction on anything; is glad to make all the allowance for human weakness which can be done without betraying the truth of God.” Dr Coke. Similarly Erasmus and Wesley.

hopeth all things] (1) Of man, of whom love will ever hope the best, and deem reformation possible in the most hardened offenders; and (2) of God, that He will bring good out of evil, and that all the evils of this life will issue ultimately in the triumph of good.

endureth all things] Sustains to the end, with unshaken confidence in the goodness of God, all the persecutions and afflictions of this life.1 Corinthians 13:7. Πάντα, all things) all things occurs four times, viz., those things, which are to be covered, or believed; and which are to be hoped for, and endured. These four steps beautifully follow one another.—στέγει, covers) conceals[119] in relation to itself and in relation to others στέγομεν, we cover, ch. 1 Corinthians 9:12, note.—πιστεύει, believes) as he covers the evil deeds of his neighbour, which are apparent, so he believes the good, which is not apparent.—ἐλπίζει, hopes) See the ground of hope [viz., “God is able to make him stand;” therefore, “he shall be holden up”], Romans 14:4; σταθήσεται; he likewise hope good for the future, and endures evils.—ὑπομένει, endures) until hope at some time springs up, 2 Timothy 2:25. Thus the praises of love describe as it were a kind of circle, in which the last and first mutually correspond to each other; it is long-suffering, it is kind; it hopeth all things, it endureth all things; and, that which is of far greater importance, it never faileth, pleasantly follows this fourth step.

[119] Bears, without speaking of what it has to bear.—ED.Verse 7. - Beareth all things (see on 1 Corinthians 9:12). Endures wrongs and evils, and covers them with a beautiful reticence. Thus love "covereth all sins" (Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8). Believeth all things. Takes the best and kindest views of all men and all circumstances, as long as it is possible to do so. It is the opposite to the common spirit, which drags everything in deteriorem partem, paints it in the darkest colours, and makes the worst of it. Love is entirely alien from the spirit of the cynic, the pessimist, the ecclesiastical rival, the anonymous slanderer, the secret detractor. Hopeth all things. Christians seem to have lost sight altogether of the truth that hope is something more than the result of a sanguine temperament, that it is a gift and a grace. Hope is averse to sourness and gloom. It takes sunny and cheerful views of man, of the world, and of God, because it is a sister of love. Endureth all things. Whether the "seventy times seven" offences of a brother (Luke 17:4), or the wrongs of patient merit (2 Timothy 2:24), or the sufferings and self. denials and persecutions of the life spent in doing good (2 Timothy 2:10). The reader need hardly he reminded that in these verses he has a picture of the life and character of Christ. Beareth (στέγει)

See on suffer, 1 Corinthians 9:12. It keeps out resentment as the ship keeps out the water, or the roof the rain.

Endureth (ὑπομένει)

An advance on beareth: patient acquiescence, holding its ground when it can no longer believe nor hope.

"All my days are spent and gone;

And ye no more shall lead your wretched life,

Caring for me. hard was it, that Iknow,

My children! Yet one word is strong to loose,

Although alone, the burden of these toils,

For love in larger store ye could not have

From any than from him who standeth here."

Sophocles, "Oedipus at Colonus," 613-618.

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