Love 101

This week we are memorizing and meditating on the famous love verses of 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 at Do Not DepartLove is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Not only do we learn God's standard of love, how we are to love one another, from the famous love passage of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but more importantly we get a clear picture of who God is for 1 John 4:8 declares, "God is love." He is not merely loving. He Himself is the very definition of love.

Precept Austin observed, "Paul begins with two positive aspects of love: love is patient, love is kind. The first is passive—not retaliating. The second is active—bestowing benefits. This twofold opening statement stands as a daily challenge to every Christian!"

Kenneth Wuest describes God's Agape Love saying: 
"Agape is a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the object loved...(it) speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in the object loved, an apprehension of its preciousness."
 Photo courtesy of My Crazy-Beautiful Life (Click pic for a printable version)

 After the two "Love is..." these verses feature seven "Love is not's."

Love Is..
Love is Not…
1. Patient
1. Envious
2. Kind
2. Boastful

3. Proud

4. Rude

5. Self-Seeking

6. Easily Angered
7. Recorder of wrongs

If you are memorizing 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, a easier way to memorize these verses would be to write your verse out, in list form like I did here. This could easily fit on a 3 x 5 card. Then as you are practicing reciting these memory verses, you can have your handy 3 x 5 card to reference in case you get stuck or just to check that you didn't leave out one of the seven "Love is not's"

Some things I learned this week from Precept Austin about these characteristics of love:


Precept Austin describes patient saying, 
"This is  manifesting a state of emotional calm or quietness in the face of provocation, misfortune or unfavorable circumstances. Love never says, “I’ve had enough.” It suffers indefinitely. It is long suffering and continues in spite of conduct likely to quench it 

An early church father, Chrysostom said that the word patient is: "used of the man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself but will never do it."

I imagine Jesus rebuking Peter for avenging Jesus' arrest by cutting off the servant's ear, and Jesus reminding Peter that if He wanted to avenge Himself He could have easily had twelve legions of angels instantly at His disposal. (Matt. 26:53) Yet Jesus gently healed the servant's ear, and calmly yielded to the hands of His accusers. 


Matthew Henry paints a picture of kindness this way:
"It is bountiful; it is courteous and obliging. The law of kindness is in her lips; her heart is large, and her hand open. She is ready to show favours and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities of doing good, but searches for them. This is her general character. She is patient under injuries, and apt and inclined to do all the good offices in her power. And under these two generals all the particulars of the character may be reduced."


Some amazing observations on envy here! Envy is not merely wishing you had what someone else has. It is so much more than that.  

 David Guzik asked,
Is envy a small sin?  Envy murdered Abel (Genesis 4:3-8).  Envy enslaved Joseph (Genesis 37:11, 28).  Envy put Jesus on the cross: For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy (Matthew 27:18).

Barclay distinguishes between two kinds of envy...
There are two kinds of envy. The one covets the possessions of other people; and such envy is very difficult to avoid because it is a very human thing. The other is worse—it grudges the very fact that others should have what it has not; it does not so much want things for itself as wish that others had not got them. Meanness of soul can sink no further than that. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)
MacArthur focusing on the second kind of envy notices...
The second sort of jealousy is more than selfish; it is desiring evil for someone else. It is jealousy on the deepest, most corrupt, and destructive level. That is the jealousy Solomon uncovered in the woman who pretended to be a child’s mother. When her own infant son died, she secretly exchanged him for the baby of a friend who was staying with her. The true mother discovered what had happened and, when their dispute was taken before the king, he ordered the baby to be cut in half, a half to be given to each woman. The true mother pleaded for the baby to be spared, even if it meant losing possession of him. The false mother, however, would rather have had the baby killed than for the true mother to have him (1 Kings 3:16-27). (MacArthur, J: 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch)  

On the other hand Lenski says of love
"Instead of being envious, love is satisfied with its own portion and glad of another’s greater portion."


MacArthur points out...
Bragging is the other side of jealousy. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has. Bragging is trying to make others jealous of what we have. Jealousy puts others down; bragging builds us up. It is ironic that, as much as most of us dislike bragging in others, we are so inclined to brag ourselves... C. S. Lewis called bragging the “utmost evil.” It is the epitome of pride, which is the root sin of all sins. Bragging puts ourselves first. Everyone else, including God, must therefore be of less importance to us. It is impossible to build ourselves up without putting others down. When we brag, we can be “up” only if others are down. (MacArthur, J: 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch)


Hodge explains that arrogance...
is the root of boasting. Anyone who has a high opinion of himself is apt to be boastful and to desire praise. Love, on the other hand, is modest and humble—modest because humble. 

Lenski explains what's behind boastful bragging...
Behind boastful bragging there lies conceit, an overestimation of one’s own importance, abilities, or achievements. Hence the next step: “is not puffed up.” From envy to boasting, from boasting to puffing oneself up is a natural sequence in the psychology of love-lessness. He that exalteth himself shall be abased; he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Thus in this case the positive virtue is Christian humility and lowliness of mind. 


 Lenski adds...
When pride puffs up the heart, unseemly bearing and conduct naturally follow. Tactlessness forgets its own place and fails to accord to others their proper dues of respect, honor, or consideration. Love is forgetful of self and thoughtful toward others. (Lenski, R. C. H. The interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second epistle to the Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN.: Augsburg Publishing House)


Alan Redpath strikes a painful chord to most of us who have married for any length of time writing that...
The secret of every discord in Christian homes, communities and churches is that we seek our own way and our own glory.

Paul addressed this same issue in his letter to Philippi...
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (see notes Philippians 2:3; 2:4; 2:5) 


Ray Pritchard shared...
I know that some people excuse their bad temper by saying, "Sure, I lose my temper a lot, but it's all over in a few minutes." So is a nuclear bomb. A great deal of damage can be done in a very short time. Even small temper "bombs" can leave behind a lot of hurt, especially when they explode on a regular basis. Your temper is a sign of what is in your heart. A bad temper is a symptom of a terrible disease within the soul. It is an escaping bubble that reveals a fetid pit within.

Cole writes that selfless love...does not have a hair-trigger temper.


This is more than just remembering wrongs done to you. Precept Austin says it "means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. The idea is to  put together with one’s mind or to occupy oneself with reckonings (in this case of wrongs done to oneself). Love never takes (or keeps) an inventory or an accounting of the wrongs done"means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. The idea is to  put together with one’s mind or to occupy oneself with reckonings (in this case of wrongs done to oneself). Love never takes (or keeps) an inventory or an accounting of the wrongs done."

Lenski explains...
"Love keeps no account book for the entry of wrongs on the debit side which are eventually to be balanced on the credit side with payments received when satisfaction is obtained for these wrongs. Love forgets to charge any wrong done to itself. It is neither enraged at the moment, nor does it hold a grudge in vindictiveness afterward"  

Question for you: What do you find most amazing about God's love?

If you haven’t yet, visit my archives, follow me on Twitter or drop by my Facebook page and click “Like.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Subscribe to Rivers of Water by entering your e-mail address in the box below:

Delivered by FeedBurner

I'm linked up at these great blogs this week.
Check 'em out! Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.


  1. Dear Brooke
    I don't think any of us is able to love this way whilst still in this body on this side of eternity! BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, we can choose to allow our Lord Jesus to live His resurected life on and through us, and that is what it is all about! Christ in me, my hope of glory (Col. 1:27). This is a great post, thanks!
    Much love XX

    1. Thanks, Mia! You are exactly right. In and of ourselves, loving like this is impossible. But with God's Spirit working in and through us, all things are possible. And when we walk in this love Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)I totally agree, "we can choose to allow our Lord Jesus to live His resurrected life on and through us, and that is what it is all about! Christ in me, my hope of glory (Col. 1:27. God bless you immeasurably!

  2. Wow, wow, wow! What a treasure I stumbled onto. Love this post. Love digging into the Word to see what exactly God is really saying to us. I'm your newest follower. Come visit me at

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I'm so glad this blessed you. I look forward to visiting your site. Thanks for sharing. God bless you immensely!

  3. Hi Brooke! I am coming over from Word Filled Wednesdays. (But I think I've been on your blog before?)

    What a complete discussion about love. We can talk all day about that, I am sure. Your graph really makes it simple to refer to, also. Nice job! Good to see you again :)

    Peace in Christ,

    1. Thanks, Ceil! Happy to see you again, too! Glad you enjoyed this. God bless you abundantly!

  4. The most amazing aspect of God's love is its unconditionality. That He would continue to love me in my seriously icky state is beyond comprehension... but I'm ever so happy that He does!

    1. I totally agree, Alison! His love is so amazing. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God bless you richly!

  5. Good stuff, Brooke. Interesting point about all the things love is NOT. Thanks for linking up this week!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! And for every characteristic that love isn't, it's interesting to consider the godly characteristic that love therefore is. (i.e. love isn't proud...but is humble)God bless you greatly!

  6. Thanks for the reminder what love is.... Will be sharing a link to this on my facebook page on Sunday.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Corine! Thanks for the share! God bless you to overflowing!

  7. What I find most amazing about His love is that we are not truly free to love others well until we have fully received His love ourselves. That was life changing for me, even after 25 years of being a Christian. Blessings to you! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart

    1. Good point, Rachael. Just as 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us." I am so thankful for His Spirit at work in me to enable me to love others according to the high standard of love outlined in 1 Corinthians 13. On my own, I fail miserably. But only by God's indwelling Spirit strengthening and equipping me, I am able to love others with the love that God has first lavished on me. He is so good! God bless you incredibly!


Thank you for taking the time to share. May God bless you richly!