1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,…
1. Every great engine is brought to precision of movement, to the quiet and steady exertion of power, by means of a governor or regulator. The world is full of jarrings and disturbances, and man finds a strange warfare going on in his own breast. Such was the state of things when Christ came. He saw the need of some Divine principle of life to act as a regulator both in the individual and in society. This regulator is love: the life of the soul; the all-pervasive and all-controlling energy of our spiritual being.
2. The apostle, in his vivid analysis of this Divine principle, looks upon it as embodied in character. He tells how this lovely personage will think, speak, and act in the midst of unloveliness and sin. He views love as a person in her attitude —
I. TOWARDS SELF.
1. She is modest and unassuming. "She vaunteth not herself." While she maintains a true self-respect and a wise estimate of her own worthiness she never displays arrogance or self-conceit.
2. "She seeketh not her own." The belittling limitations of selfishness are not permitted to dwarf the outgoings of her generous heart.
II. TOWARDS THE TRUTH.
1. This is one of affectionate desire and rejoicing. Here truth is also personified. Both experience profound satisfaction in the enlightenment and ennobling of man.
2. In reference to truth and its ultimate triumph love is also trustful and hopeful. "She believeth all things." This does not signify credulity, for there is nothing so wise and discerning as love. Discerning but not doubtful, she rejoices to accept every revelation or manifestation of God.
3. Her temperament, or, better, her faith is buoyant and cheerful. "She hopeth all things." Expects good instead of evil; is not foreboding and gloomy; trusts a kind Providence; believes in the possibilities of men.
III. TOWARDS OTHERS.
1. "Love suffereth long." In the face of provocation where others would be vehement with passion, she maintains her own serene dignity. This is almost identical with "not easily provoked," "beareth all things," "endureth all things." These manifold expressions reveal love as a personage of great moral strength, as well as of unrivalled loveliness. She maintains constant equipoise of spirit.
2. "Is kind." Her self-forgetful love makes her gracious, benignant, generous, and forgiving under all circumstances.
3. "Envieth not." Competition is the most conspicuous trait of men in their relations one with another. To live without envy is a miracle of grace.
4. "Does not behave itself unseemly." She has a delicate discernment of what is appropriate at all times and places; is never indecorous or unrefined.
5. "Thinketh," or " taketh not account of evil." Not suspicious or self-seeking by nature, she does not impute evil to others.
6. "Rejoices not in unrighteousness." The world seems to take delight in the downfall of others. Yet love grieves and blushes at another's immorality.
(D. W. Pratt, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,