Hebrew Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13: What Is Love?                                                

1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13

:1- If I speak with the languages (G1100) of mankind and of heavenly messengers (G32) but don’t have love (goodwill and affection)(G26) I have become (am existing as)(G1096) the loud noise of a brass cymbal[1].                                                                                  

:2- If I possess the ability to speak with divine inspiration, declaring the purposes of The Divine and foretelling of future events (G4394) and perceive (G1492) heavenly mysteries (G3466) and all moral wisdom (G1108); even if I have all conviction of truth and complete certainty of the unseen, confident with hope (G4102) so that I could remove and overcome (G3179) the uprising of spiritual warfare (G3735) from my path[2] and, yet, do not have love (goodwill and affection)(G26) I am no one (G3762)[3].                                                        

:3- If I give my possessions in order to feed the poor, and even if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love (goodwill and affection)(G26), I still have no advantage (G5623)[4].

:4- Love (goodwill and affection) is long-spirited, slow to anger, mild and slow in avenging, patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; it suffers long (G3114), and is kind, mild- desiring to do good to others (G5541). Love (goodwill and affection) is not jealous or covetous (G2206). Love (goodwill and affection) does not brag or feel the need to express self praise (G4068). Love (goodwill and affection) is not egotistical- inflated or puffed up (G5448).

:5- Love (goodwill and affection) does not behave inappropriately (G807) and is not self-seeking (G2212). Love (goodwill and affection) is not easily annoyed, provoked, or irritated (G3947). Love (goodwill and affection) does not entertain (G3049) depraved, injurious or worthless (G2556) thoughts.

:6- Love (goodwill and affection) does not delight in (G5463) injustice (G93) but delights[5] (G4796) in the truth[6]- sincerity of mind and integrity of character; a mode of life in harmony with divine truth (G225).

:7- Love (goodwill and affection) bears everything (G3956) by covering (what it adores) to keep off threats, bears up and holds out against, and so endures, forbears (G4722). Love (goodwill and affection) believes, is persuaded of and is confident in the goodness (G4100) within all things and people (G3956). Love (goodwill and affection) confidently hopes and expects the best (G1679) in all things. Love (goodwill and affection) endures. It remains even under misfortunes and trials. It does not recede or flee. It perseveres absolutely and emphatically with fortitude (G5278).

:8- Love (goodwill and affection) (G26) never, not even at any time (G3763), falls powerless (without effect) (G1601): but if there be divine inspiration, the declaring of the purposes of The Divine and foretelling of future events (G4394), they shall be brought to an end (G2673). If there be languages (G1100) they shall cease (G3973). If there be deep knowledge and advanced understanding (G1108) it shall vanish away (G2673).

:9- For we know (things of the divine and otherwise) (G1097) imperfectly (G3313) and, so, we prophesy (teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort) (G4395) imperfectly.

:10- But at the time when that which is perfect, complete, mature and full (G5046) is come, then that which is imperfect, incomplete, immature and partial (G3313) will end (G2673).

:11- When I was a simple-minded person (G3516), I used words in order to declare my mind and disclose my thoughts in the way a simple-minded person would (G2980). The way I exercised my mind, my mental disposition- the way I felt, thought and my opinions (G5426) were that of a simple-minded person (G3516). But when I became mature with spiritual intelligence and virtue (G435), my simple-minded ways (G3516) were brought to an end (G2673).                                                 

:12- For now we see- discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover and understand (G991) as looking into a steel mirror (G2072)[7] at an enigma, a proverb, a mystery, a riddle, an obscure thing(G135), but then, when the mature reality and conclusion comes, (G5119) we will discern it perfectly as if it is face to face (G4383). Up until now and presently (G737) I know, understand and perceive (G1097) incompletely (G3313); but then, when the completion comes (G5119), I will become thoroughly acquainted with it, knowing thoroughly and accurately (G1921) just as much as (G2531) I am thoroughly and accurately known (G1921)[8].

:13- Moreover, besides all this (G1161),  at this very moment, presently (G3570), these three exist (G3306): faith (strong conviction of truth, unwavering trust)(G4102)[9], hope (joyful and confident expectation)(G1680), and love (goodwill and affection)(G26) but the greatest, largest, strongest and eldest (G3187) of these is love (goodwill and affection).


[1] Language is meant to communicate with purpose. It is to be sensible, recognizable, effective, and efficient. The comparison here of language to the sound of a loud clanging of a cymbal is to reduce the beauty of language to that of redundant or meaningless noise.

[2] To see the adversity ahead, which may appear to be an impassable mountain, but because of the strength of one’s faith it becomes nonexistent or of having little effect.

[3] One’s existence has become something akin to worthlessness or is lacking the very purpose for which it is intended.

[4] Any heavenly benefit that may be awarded for such selflessness is lost because without love, what is one’s true motivation for such actions? If one’s motivations is not actually encouraged by true love than it is a selfish act for which there can be no true spiritual advantage or benefit. All of the actions and described gifts must flow from a place of genuine, selfless, love to truly be valuable and authentic.

[5] Greek, sygchairo, indicates this delight or rejoicing is within the context of a group; to take part in another’s joy; sympathize in gladness; rejoice together

[6] "truth as a personal excellence; that candor of mind which is free from affectation, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit" (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G225&t=KJV)

[7] he mirrors of the ancients were made, not of glass, but steel (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2072&t=KJV

Love itself does not change. Only people do. Love does not fail. Only people do. Love is perfect. Only people are not. We are trying to “fall in (to) love”- immersed in its’ depths, breadth and height. We hope to become one with It one day at a time, experiencing more of it as we mature; spiritual growth.

[8] We can only know the truth of love and it what it requires of us as much as the reality of who we are, including our shortcomings, is divinely known and supported. Are we willing to take a divine look at ourselves?

[9] The Amplified Version reads “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”