Studying Love - part one

Lately, some friends and I have been doing a study on the 1 Corinthians 13 passage about love. And BOY, has it been convicting!!!

There is so much of a richness about the choice *to* love once you really examine what it means. We treat "love" so lightly-- we "fall in" and "fall out" of it, we love those shoes, we love our children, we love that hilarious comedy on TV, we love the way so-and-so does such-and-such... but biblical love as presented here, in this brotherly, one-anothering kind of love... well, it's a real challenge.

I'll share the biblical definitions (from the Greek & from biblical cross-references), and then I'll share with you the boiled-down, nitty-gritty "working" definition we've come up with for each of the attributes we've studies so far. The reason we are doing this is because we use many of these words in ways that are different from how the Bible uses & treats them, and we wanted to get clear on what, through 1 Corinthians, God is actually saying about love. The applicable and illuminating cross-references are listed at the end, in case you want to go deeper on any or all of these subjects.

Love is patient-- forbearing, slow to anger, enduring misfortune, not eager for punishment, overlooking offense
  • Working DEF of "patient"-- to endure & abound in Christlike grace towards even the most difficult people & situation

  • {Cross-refs: Eph 4:1-2, James 1:19-20, Prov 19:11, 1 Thess 5:14, 2 Pet 3:9, Exod 34:5-6, 1 Tim 1:15-16}
Love is kind-- pleasant, soft, tender, compassionate, tenderhearted, eager to show kindness... [opposites: bitter, harsh, sharp, hard]
  • Working DEF of "kind"-- treating others with a soft, tender awareness of our shared need for grace & forgiveness

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 15:1, Ps 133:1, Prov 16:24, Ps 64:3, Titus 2:5, Col 3:12-13, 2 Cor 6:3-10, Eph 4:31-32, Luke 6:27-36, Gal 5:22, Isa 30:18, Ps 103:9-14}
Love does not envy-- [envy: strongly desiring to possess the advantage enjoyed by another; hated by others, hating one another; rivalry]
  • Working DEF of "does not envy"-- contentedly rejoices in the life God has given me and rejoices with others in the life He's given them.

  • {Cross-refs: Job 5:2, Prov 14:20, Eccl 4:4, Titus 3:3, James 3:16, Gal 5:19-21, Gal 5:26, 1 Pet 2:1, 1 Cor 3:3, Rom 13:13-14}
Love does not boast-- [boast: like a vaulted ceiling; lifts itself; proud; haughty; arrogant about wisdom, might, riches, or the future]
  • Working DEF of "does not boast"-- lifts up Christ and His will, not self and my plans.

  • {Cross-refs: Ps 34:2, Jer 9:23-24, Prov 27:1, 1 Sam 2:3, Ps 10:2-5, Ps 5:5, James 4:16, Ps 12:3, 1 John 2:16}
Love is not arrogant-- [arrogant: self-exaltation]. Regarding arrogance, throughout the Bible we saw that "God hates", "God lays low", "He does not endure", and He "will repay". It is "an abomination". Again and again, we saw the attributes of humility-- humble in words, not full of pomp, abased, hoping in God rather than self, and that humility is looked on with favor and grace from the Lord.
  • Working DEF of "is not arrogant"-- one who actively roots out pride and approaches God, others, and life with humility.

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 8:13, James 4:16, 1 Sam 2:3, Is 13:11, Pr 16:5, Job 35:12, Ps 101:5, Isa 2:17, Ps 5:5, Ps 31:23, Is 2:11, Job 40:11-12, Pro 15:25, Pro 21:4, 2 Cor 12:7, 1 Tim 6:17, 1 John 2:16, 1 Pet 5:5}
Love is not rude-- [rude: unable to act with self control, interrupting, to act unbecomingly, seeking one's own advantage]
  • Working DEF of "is not rude"-- puts others first, seeks to benefit and please others before self

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 18:13, Romans 15:1, 1 Cor 9:23, Phil 2:21, 1 Cor 10:33, 1 Cor 10:24}
Love does not insist on its own way-- [does not insist on its own rights, never seeks its own to the hurt or neglect of others, lays aside selfish aims]
  • Working DEF of "does not insist on its own way"-- essentially, we couldn't boil it down any better than this, what the Scripture already specifically says. To me, the "does not insist on its own *rights*" definition was helpful, because our culture is so good at "standing up for", "demanding", and "expecting" our rights. So, for me, that was a helpful one.

  • {Cross-refs: Phil 2:1-7, Isa 56:10-12, 1 Cor 9:19-23, 1 Cor 10:32-33, Prov 18: 1-2, Romans 12:10, Gal 5:19-21, James 3:13-15, Matt 4:8, John 6:38, 2 Cor 8:9, James 2:8, Romans 15:1-3, Luke 9:23; 2 Tim 2:1, 3-4, 10; Romans 14:1, 4, 7-8, 10, 13, & 19}

This entire study has been only of the Word itself (not through a book, DVD series, etc.), and it has been so powerful. So many things have been much more illuminated and made clear in our hearts and minds as we've combed through what the whole counsel of God's Word has to say on each of these subjects. Each word piles up on top of the others to present a beautiful challenge of what Christ's love lived out in us can look like.

As I've looked at each of the specific definitions, I am challenged again and again by what God needs to do in my heart and life for me to really be living out love to the people around me. The description of "love" here is one that is not easily met. It is very easy to say "I love you"... but much harder to live in a kind, patient, selfless, content way-- the actions and attitude of love. I hope that sharing this will be helpful for someone else too.

Click here to see the remaining portion of this study (Studying Love-part two).


Jess said...

Thanks for posting this! I really needed to hear it!

Britt said...

EEK! I do a LOT of those...especially the interrupting...

Thanks for the eye opener!!!

Ruth said...

I bookmarking this post. As always, so timely. :)

Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

It's taken me a long time but I've slowly learned that when challenged by another person, I can take a step back, keep them in my thoughts, and say (or think), "Bless you, I care about you, you are loved."

I'm not always sure if it's impacted the other person, but it makes me feel better!


Anonymous said...

BTW, I don't know why but my computer starts to race and overheat when I visit your blog. I've tried a few different browsers like Safari and Firefox, and computers, too! Often, it crashes my computer, so I've learned to make quick, brief visits.


Summer said...

Thank you for posting this, I am going to refer to it often.


BETHANY said...

The aspects of patience and kindness were just what I needed to hear. I've had a doozy of a month and those two things are areas I could use some improvement.

Ginger said...

What a timely post. We are currently doing a book study using Loving God w/all Your Mind by E. George. We are looking at Phil 4:8 and we are going to talk about thinking what is true about others this week. I believe we would be challenged to use God's definition of love as we think on what is true about others in our lives. Do you mind if I print and distribute this post to my Sunday school class? Thanks again for the timely and challenging post.

Katie LaPierre said...

my last post was on the same thing! so good. I especially like how the amplified says in vs 5: " it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]."

wow. pays NO ATTENTION to a suffered wrong. Oh if only that came naturally! I really like how it said: "puts others first, seeks to benefit and please others before self" I NEEDED this this morning because my six month old son decided to get up at 4:20 this morning and I have been up ever since while everybody else (including my husband) is still sleeping (it's 7 a.m. now). I get this annoying jealousy toward my husband when he gets much more sleep then me! I should be happy for him. I should put him firs and seek his benefit before myself!

thank you so much.


Z' Hodges said...

I know TOTALLY what you are saying my sister. verses 4-7 is what I meditate on often.


Anonymous said...

I truly love what you had to say in this posting! I only have one minor complaint, the new background and coloring makes it a bit hard to read.

Jess said...

Thanks for the comment, anonymous. I normally immediately change any pre-set text colors to black because I prefer to read black-on-white, but I didn't this time. Sorry about that.

Anyway, hopefully it's a bit easier on the eyes now. I changed some of the pinks & reds that were preselected colors in the layout I'm using to more blues (for the links) and black for the text.

Hope this is better. Thanks for your comment.

Daddy's Girls! said...

Love it love it love it. WORD WORD WORD. That's what we all need ! and all we usually need... no commentary. this post is exactly how i study and choose to read... you 'rock' girl! :D thanks for being alive!

Kristen said...

This is wonderful. I hope you don't mind if I use this with a Moms group I am leading. I know that I am challenged by what God's Word says about these things. I think I will have us examine the cross-references you list and see what kind of working def. we come up with. Thank you for sharing and challenging us.


Lynn said...

What a great post. Thanks for sharing it. I'm going to print it out so I can fully ponder it. I came here via barbarah's site, btw :)

Angelita said...

This is a very great post, understanding the deeper meaning of LOVE... The most powerful and important thing that matters. Because love is God, all the definition in those verse in Corinthians is God.