12. Love - A More Excellent Way (1 Corinthians 13)


Audio (27:35)

Perhaps the best depiction of Godís great love and forgiveness is from Jesusí parable of the father receiving back the prodigal son. Detail from The Return of the Prodigal Son (c. 1669) by Rembrandt, oil on canvas, 262 x 206 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Perhaps the best depiction of God's great love and forgiveness is from Jesus' parable of the father receiving back the prodigal son. Detail from The Return of the Prodigal Son (c. 1669) by Rembrandt, oil on canvas, 262 x 206 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

One of the most-often quoted passages of the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 13 -- especially at Christian weddings. And rightly so. It clarifies what real love is -- and isn't. However, Paul didn't write it as a wedding reading or as a stand-alone document, but as part of an argument to help the Corinthian church understand the true context of tongues and other spiritual gifts. Chapter 12 concluded,

"Eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way." (12:31)

That "way" or "path" that Paul points out in chapter 13 is the path of love.

The Corinthians had been focusing on speaking in tongues, so chapter 12 is written to explain the importance of other gifts than just tongues. The Corinthians had been speaking in tongues freely in their worship services (14:23), but it was done selfishly -- it felt good, provided effective praise and "edified" the speaker" (14:13-17). Rather, Paul is urging the church to seek out gifts that operate in love, that is, to build up the body (14:12). Chapter 13 outlines what this love really is. Chapter 14 gives clear and explicit guidelines for the use of tongues, prophecy, and other revelatory gifts in the church. That's the context of this gem of a chapter.

The Importance of Love over Every Spiritual Gift (13:1-3)

Paul begins by showing that without love, tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, generosity, and even martyrdom are nothing. Notice that in this paragraph Paul argues in the first person, using himself as an example to lessen the sting of his correction.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (13:1)

It's clear that "the tongues of men and of angels" refers to glossolalia, that is, speaking in tongues. "Tongues of men" refers to human languages, while "tongues of angels" might reflect the understanding that the tongues-speaker was communicating in the "dialects of heaven." Some Jewish sources indicate that the angels were believed to have their own languages and that by means of the "Spirit" one could speak these dialects.457 It's also possible that some of these so-called "spiritual" Corinthians believed that they had already entered into some expression of heavenly existence.

The Corinthians might be able to speak in angelic languages, Paul says, but without love motivating the gift, the net value is merely that of an echoing gong458 or a clanging cymbal.459 Without love it's just noise.

Now Paul comments on the powerful gifts of prophecy460, wisdom461, knowledge462, and faith that we looked at in Lesson 11.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." (13:2)

A person can have huge spiritual gifts, but unless the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) is present, Paul says, "I am nothing.463" It's ironic that people pride themselves on spiritual gifts, but in God's estimation the gifts without love makes their contribution "nothing464" in his eyes.

One of the errors of our own time in certain circles is a belief that people who speak in tongues are somehow more "spiritual" than people who haven't -- even though they might not live very moral lives. That's foolishness! Spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit are completely different categories. Both are vital -- but love and the other fruits must accompany the gifts if the gifts are to be effective in accomplishing their mission.

Now Paul turns to great personal sacrifices.

"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." (13:3)

People might give465 all they posses to the poor. Examples might be the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32-5:11), who did not do so, and St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226 AD), who did so.

People might choose to die466 in the fires of martyrdom467 rather than renounce their faith (like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3), but even that brings them no "gain."468 Paul doesn't criticize great sacrifice -- or even seeking treasure in heaven -- but he observes, as Jesus did, that acts of piety done to impress rather than motivated by love bring no reward (Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18).

Q1. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) What is the result of the greatest imaginable manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit done without love? Is it possible to operate a gift of the Spirit from a selfish or wrong motivation. Which make us more spiritual -- Gifts of the Spirit or Fruit of the Spirit?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1369-q1-gifts-and-selfishness/

Agape Love

So what is this love that Paul is talking about? "Love" (NIV, NRSV), "charity" (KJV) is agapē, "the quality of warm regard for and interest in another, esteem, affection, regard, love."469 The noun agapē wasn't very common in classical or koinē Greek. The Greeks had several other words for love.

  1. Erōs, or erotic love, is the wonderful, sensual love between a man and a woman. It's great -- and God-given, I'm sure -- but it's often a selfish sort of love, a concern for a person who can do something for me.
  2. Philos, friendship, family love, is mainly concerned with those closest to us. Love in the bosom of a family is wonderful.
  3. Stergō love (which does not appear in the New Testament) is often used in classical Greek for the love and affection between parents and children.
  4. Agapē, as I mentioned, is a rare word in secular Greek. But in the New Testament, agapē is used to designate a love that is unselfish, caring about the concerns of another person. Agape love is what Jesus exhibited when, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Unselfish love is rare unless God enables a person. "We love because God first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Perhaps more than any place in the entire New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13 is the letter that fleshes out for us the meaning of this God-like love. A close runner-up is the short First Letter of John.

Love Is Patient and Kind (13:4a)

Now that Paul has stressed the importance of love in ministering spiritual gifts, he uses 15 verbs in 13:4-8a to characterize this love and set its boundaries, both positively and negatively.

The first two verbs are positive.

"Love is patient, love is kind." (13:4a)

"Patient" (NIV, NRSV), "suffereth long" (KJV) is makrothymeō, "to bear up under provocation without complaint, be patient, forbearing."470 Love isn't in a big hurry. It can wait. Sometimes I've been so focused on getting things done efficiently at church that I've been less than patient. It's not that loving people are inefficient, but that they have their priorities straight. Impatience is strongly tinged with accomplishing my own agenda. It can be intensely selfish at the expense of others. Impatience often leads to complaining about people and about God himself. Love, on the other hand, is patient.

Love is also "kind," chrēsteuomai, "be kind, loving, merciful."471 By its very nature, kindness is about someone besides yourself -- how they feel, what their needs are. A kind person is considerate of others. A kind person is quick to help when he or she senses a need. Why? Because love is kind.

What Love Is Not (13:4b-6)

Now Paul begins a series of eight negatives that provide earmarks that can help us spot what is not love. Why does Paul do this? Because we sinful humans are quite adept in justifying our actions as loving when they're not.

"4b It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." (13:4b-6)

"Envy" is a strong, passionate emotion, but it is primarily characterized by love for oneself rather than love for others. "Envy" is zēloō, "desire, strive," but here it is used negatively: "to have intense negative feelings over another's achievements or success, be filled with jealousy, envy toward someone."472 Desire is a normal human emotion and is a strong motivator towards good things. But when it gets twisted and competitive, it becomes ugly.

"Boasting" is closely related to defending and propagating our own self-image. "Boast" (NIV, NRSV), "vaunteth" (KJV) is perpereuomai, "to heap praise on oneself," behave as a perperos ("braggart, windbag"), "to boast, brag."473 Look at what I've done. I am important, and I really want you to know how important. Boasting is often a sign of my deep insecurity and need for others to validate me with their approval. Boasting isn't love; boasting is too tied up with self to be concerned about the insecurities of those around us.

While "boasting" may be the outward expression, the root is "pride." "Proud" (NIV), "arrogant" (NRSV), "puffed up" (KJV) is physioō, "to cause to have an exaggerated self-conception, puff up, make proud someone."474 As we know from earlier in this letter, the Corinthians had a higher opinion of themselves than they did of the Apostle Paul. One of the pernicious techniques of pride and getting one's own way is to run down and discredit your opponent. Pride is not love.

"Rudeness" is another non-love trait. "Rude" (NIV, NRSV), "behave itself unseemly" (KJV) is aschēmoneō, "to behave disgracefully, dishonorably, indecently."475 A rude person thinks only of himself. If he takes someone else's turn, it doesn't matter. This isn't about their needs but mine! But love isn't rude or disgraceful.

"Self-seeking" is the very epitome of selfishness. "Self-seeking" (NIV), "insist on its own way" (NRSV), "seeketh ... her own" (KJV) is several words in Greek, literally, "seek the things of itself." "Seek" is the common verb zēteō. Here, zēteō means, "strive for, aim (at), try to obtain, desire, wish (for)" or even, "ask for, request, demand something."476 Self-seeking is the opposite of love. Love is unselfish.

"Irritability" is a sure sign that love isn't controlling my personality. "Easily angered" (NIV), "irritable" (NRSV), "easily provoked" (KJV) is paroxynō (from which we get our word, "paroxysm"). The verb means "to cause a state of inward arousal, urge on, stimulate," especially, "provoke to wrath, irritate." Here it is used in the passive, "become irritated, angry."477 Irritability can come from a number of things -- impatience with others, an exalted view of myself that gets me upset when someone stands in the way of what I want. Sometimes irritability comes from stress or fear or physical pain from a headache. But one thing we know, irritability doesn't come from love. Love doesn't get angry quickly.

"Keeping score" in relationships is a red flag of an unloving attitude. "Keeps no record of wrongs" (NIV, rather literally), "not resentful" (NRSV), "thinketh no evil" (KJV) is several words in Greek. Logizomai is "to determine by mathematical process, reckon, calculate," here, as it might be used in a context of financial accounting, "count, take into account something."478 Kakos generally pertains to "not meeting accepted standards of behavior, bad, worthless, inferior," here, "evil, wrong."479 Love doesn't keep track of all the wrongs done against me so that I can get even -- or at least feel sorry for myself.

"Delighting in evil" is also a sure sign of lovelessness. The idea here is being glad or rejoicing480 when something bad481 happens to a person we don't like. It serves them right! we think. How cruel and essentially selfish. We must hate the sin, not the sinner.

"Rejoicing in truth" is what we should be doing. We ought to join with others in rejoicing482 that justice is done, that the hidden truth483 of a situation comes to light, but not personalize it by gloating over the suffering of a person whom God loves. Our rejoicing ought to be over the eternal truths of the gospel.

Q2. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6) Which one or two of these tests of agape love do you have the most trouble with? How might prayer help you grow? How will walking with the Spirit help you deal with these flaws?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1370-q2-growing-into-love/

Love Always.... (13:7-8a)

Now we come to five actions that can always be found in true agape love:

"7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails." (13:7-8a)

Love always protects. In our passage stegō could have two meanings: "to keep confidential, cover, pass over in silence" (NIV) or "to bear up against difficulties, bear, stand, endure" (NRSV, KJV)484 -- either is possible here and both senses are true of genuine love. I prefer the NIV translation, however, since the concept of love's perseverance is covered in the last part of the verse. Love is never quick to tell tales or to say, "I told you so." In the words of the praise chorus, "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love," love "guards each man's dignity and saves each man's pride."485

Love always believes. "Trusts" (NIV), "believes" (NRSV, KJV) is the common verb pisteuō, "to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one's trust, believe ... be convinced of something."486 This doesn't mean that love is hopelessly naive. But love always believes the best about a person. Love is faithful to people. Love is essentially optimistic and looks for the best.

Love always hopes is similar. "Hopes" is elpizō, "to look forward to something, with implication of confidence about something coming to pass, hope, hope for."487 Love doesn't give up hope. It looks to God and his saving power to redeem even the worst situation or the most hardened person. Love prays.

Love always perseveres. "Perseveres" (NIV), "endures" (NRSV, KJV) is hypomenō, "to maintain a belief or course of action in the face of opposition, stand one's ground, hold out, endure."488 There comes a limit to human love, lines you are unwilling to cross, etc. But God's love endures in the face of opposition and does not end. God's love may be "tough love," that requires seeing people through reverses in their lives until they come to the end of themselves, but it does not quit. This is similar to the final "always" in this series -- in this case a "never."

Love never fails. "Fails" (NIV, KJV), "ends" (NRSV) is ekpiptō, basically, "fall off or fall from," here, figuratively, "become inadequate for some function, fail, weaken."489 I think of the chorus to a 1941 song by Hubert Mitchell.

"His love has no limit;
His grace has no measure;
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again."490

Spiritual Gifts Are Temporal (13:8b-10)

Now we move from Paul's beautiful ode to love towards practical application regarding the spiritual gifts. Notice, however, that the strong poetic structure doesn't end.

This is a controversial passage, since it speaks of the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit. All agree that the gifts are temporal, they will cease at some point. The big question is: When? Let's see what the text says.

"8 Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part
and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes,
the imperfect disappears." (13:8b-10)

The first thing we notice is a clearly marked symmetry. Paul varies the verbs in verse 8, but the lines are clearly parallel to each other.

"But where there are prophecies, they will cease (katargeō491, fut. passive indic.);
where there are tongues, they will be stilled (pauō492, fut. middle indicative);
where there is knowledge, it will pass away (katargeō, future pass. indicative)."
(13:8)

Each of the verbs have the idea of stopping, of no longer being in existence. Some scholars have made a big deal about pauo being in the middle voice that often has a reflexive sense (such as, "stop oneself"). But when you look at all the times this verb is used in the middle voice -- it is never found in the passive voice in the New Testament -- you realize that the reflexive sense is missing in most of the occurrences. I think Paul is varying the verbs for stylistic effect, not because he is trying to make a special point about tongues ceasing on their own volition. Paul tells us that each of these gifts will pass away in the future.

"9 For we know in part493
and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes,
the imperfect disappears.494" (13:9-10)

Paul tells us that our knowledge is partial, imperfect. The same with our prophecies. They aren't complete either. They can be true so far as they go, but they aren't the final word. Nor do they say everything that could be said. They are essentially incomplete.

When "perfection" comes, then there will be no more need for the true but incomplete forms of prophecy, knowledge, and other gifts.495 "Perfection" (NIV), "the complete" (NRSV), "that which is perfect" (KJV) is the adjective teleios, generally, "attaining an end or purpose, complete," here, "pertaining to meeting the highest standard, perfect," as the acme of goodness.496 One of the meanings of teleios can be "mature." I suppose you could speak of "mature knowledge" and "mature prophecy," but I think that confuses the issue. Our knowledge -- even our Biblical knowledge -- is incomplete at present. Some things we know for sure, but there are huge holes in our knowledge.

Childhood, Maturity, and Bad Mirrors (13:11-12)

Now Paul uses a comparison between childhood and mature manhood to illustrate the difference in perspective between our present state and our future state.

"When I was a child497, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.498" (13:11)

Paul uses a series of childish behavior in his illustration -- speaking, perceiving, and reasoning499 -- but I don't believe these should be taken any farther than being an illustration of the diverse areas of childish thought and action. Paul continues the analogy. He isn't saying that now he is mature in his understanding. On the contrary, he is only using this to illustrate the difference between a child's understanding and a mature man's understanding.

Now Paul moves to another analogy to illustrate the difference between a mirror reflection and the true image -- perhaps akin to Plato's Allegory of the Cave where real objects are observed only as shadows projected against a wall.500

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (13:12)

Ancient mirrors501 weren't the silvered-glass beauties that we have today. Polished copper or bronze mirrors dating back to 3,000 BC were owned by the wealthy. If you were poor, you could see your reflection in the water of a vessel or in a pool. Either way, the reflection was indirect and indistinct,502 nothing compared to the clarity of viewing a person directly -- face to face.

Seeing Him Face to Face (13:12)

The expression "face to face503," however, is more than just an expression of clarity vs. a poor reflection. It is used in the Old Testament to express Moses' intimate, direct vision of God himself.

"With [Moses] I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles504; he sees the form of the Lord." (Numbers 12:8a; also Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:10)

It is that direct, face-to-face encounter of the presence of God that Paul is talking about. It will take place at a time when we have full, complete knowledge. At the very last chapter of the Bible we read of this fulfillment: "They will see his face" (Revelation 22:4).

Full Knowledge (13:12b)

Paul concludes this series of analogies with a statement contrasting "now" with "then."

"Now I know505 in part; then I shall know fully506, even as I am fully known." (13:12b)

The Apostle John says something similar:

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

Good Christians sometimes disagree -- often based on what doctrine they are trying to support. What it comes down to is the meaning of "that which is perfect." There are three main interpretations. Perfection means that:

  1. Canon is complete, or
  2. The Church is mature, or
  3. Christ has come.

I believe the best answer lies in the third possibility, the perfect comes only when Christ appears. (My "Excursus on the Meaning of 'That Which Is Perfect,'" occurs at the end of this lesson, in order not to break the flow of Paul's beautiful passage here.)

Good Christians sometimes disagree about this question. Remember to be loving in your answer.

Q3. (1 Corinthians 13:10) When do you think the "perfect" comes? (See my "Excursus" before answering.) How do you support your interpretation?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1371-q3-when-the-perfect-comes/

Faith, Hope, and Love Are Eternal (13:13)

The various gifts of the Spirit are temporal; they will become obsolete when Christ comes. However, the fruit of the Spirit is eternal, since it is rooted in the very character of the Eternal God. So Paul concludes this chapter with a classic triad:

"And now faith, hope, and love abide507, these three; and the greatest508 of these is love." (13:13)

This chapter has been essential to Paul's correction of the Corinthians' abuse of tongues. Until they can see the central importance of love, why shouldn't they speak in tongues when they feel like it? But when they begin to care about the needs of others, only then can they get spiritual gifts in balance, and seek to excel in those gifts that express love, gifts that build up the body of Christ.

Q4. (1 Corinthians 13:8b-13) Why is it important to Paul's argument to contend that even the greatest spiritual gifts will become obsolete? Why does he stress the permanence of love?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1372-q4-love-never-fails/

1 Corinthians: Discipleship Lessons from a Troubled Church, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available as a book in paperback, PDF, and Kindle formats.

Prayer

Father, when I probe this short chapter I begin to realize quite painfully how far short I fall from your standard of love. I know you are working in me, but I have a long way to go. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for your own love that loved an unlovable person and had your Son die on his behalf. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Key Verses

It's so hard to select just a few verses from chapter 13. I think they're all key verses!

"1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

Endnotes

457. Fee, 1 Corinthians, p. 630. He cites Testament of Job 48-50. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, p. 125, also cites Babylonian Talmud Babâ Barâ 143a regarding the ability to understand it.

458. "Resounding" (NIV), "noisy" (NRSV), "sounding" (KJV) is ēcheō, "sound, ring out" of brass instruments" (BDAG 442). "Gong" (NIV, NRSV), "brass" (KJV) is chalkos, a metal, probably "brass, bronze," here something made of such metal, probably a gong (BDAG 1076, 2).

459. "Clanging" (NIV, NRSV), "tinkling" (KJV) is alalazō, "wail loudly," then generally of shrill tones (BDAG 41). "Cymbal" is kymbalon, "cymbal," a metal basin, also used in ritual observances; when two of them were struck against each other, a shrill sound resulted (BDAG 575).

460. "Gift of prophecy" (NIV, KJV), "prophetic powers" (NRSV) is prophēteia, "the gift of interpreting divine will or purpose, gift of prophesying" (also at 12:10; 14:22) (BDAG 889, 2).

461. "Fathom" (NIV), "understand" (NRSV, KJV) is oida, "to have information about, know" (BDAG 693, 1b).

462. "Knowledge" is gnōsis, "comprehension or intellectual grasp of something, knowledge" (BDAG 203, 1).

463. "Nothing" is oudeis, "nothing," here not used literally, but to mean, nonliterally "worthless, meaningless, invalid" (BDAG 735, 2bβ).

464. "Nothing" is oudeis, "nothing," here not used literally, but to mean, nonliterally "worthless, meaningless, invalid" (BDAG 735, 2bβ).

465. "Surrender" (NIV), "hand over" (NRSV), "give" is paradidōmi, "to convey something in which one has a relatively strong personal interest, hand over, give (over), deliver, entrust" (BDAG 762, 1a).

466. "Give" (NIV, NRSV), "bestow" (KJV) is psōmizō, "feed," here, "to give away," probably in installments, "give away, dole out" (BDAG 110__, 2).

467. The reading, "to be burned" (NIV, KJV), kauthēsōmai, is strongly supported by early and important texts (p46 Aleph A B copsa,bo etc.). The verb kaiō means, "to cause something to burn so as to be consumed, burn (up)" (BDAG 499, 2). The reading "that I may boast" (NRSV), kauthēsomai, is also strongly supported (C D F G K L Ψ it vg syrp,h etc.). Kauchaomai, "to take pride in something, boast, glory, pride oneself, brag" (BDAG 536, 1). The United Bible Societies Committee preferred "boast" (with a {C} "considerable degree of doubt" rating) because (1) burning wasn't common in Paul's time as it was a couple of centuries later, (2) "that I may be burnt" is awkward in Greek, (3) the grammatical form of "burnt" as a future subjunctive cannot be attributed to Paul, and (4) sometimes Paul sees "boasting/glorying" as justified (Metzger, Textual Commentary, pp. 563-564). I'm following the reading "burning" in these notes.

468. "Gain" (NIV, NRSV), "profiteth me" (KJV) is ōpheleō, "to provide assistance, help, aid, benefit, be of use (to)" (BDAG 110__, 1a).

469. Agapē, BDAG 6, 1aα.

470. Makrothymeō, BDAG 612, 2. The verb is compounded from makros, "long time" + thymos, "passion, anger."

471. Chrēsteuomai, BDAG 1089. The verb derives from the adjective chrēstos, basically, "useful, beneficial," then "kind, loving, benevolent" (BDAG 1090, 3b).

472. Zēloō, BDAG 427, 2.

473. Perpereuomai, BDAG 808.

474. Physioō, BDAG 1069. We've seen this word several times before at 4:6, 18f; 5:2; 8:1. The Corinthians had trouble with pride. The word is largely limited to Christian literature, literally, "blow up, inflate," from psysa (originally, "pair of bellows," then "wind, blast," etc.). It is used here figuratively.

475. Aschēmoneō, BDAG 147. The noun schēma (from which we get our word "scheme") refers to something that has a pattern or form, frequently of a type that the public considers standard or laudable. Thus to act contrary to the standard is to act out of accord with love. We saw this word in 7:36.

476. Zēteō, BDAG 428, meanings 3 and 4.

477. Paroxynō, BDAG 780.

478. Logizomai, BDAG 597, 1a.

479. Kakos, BDAG 502, 1c.

480. "Delight" (NIV), "rejoice" (NRSV, KJV) is chairō, "to be in a state of happiness and well-being, rejoice, be glad," here, with the preposition epi, "upon, over," "rejoice over someone or something" (BDAG 1074-75, 1).

481. "Evil" (NIV), "wrongdoing" (NRSV), "iniquity" (KJV) is adikia, "an act that violates standards of right conduct, wrongdoing," here, probably, "the quality of injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness, injustice" (BDAG 20, 2). From a-, "not" + dikaisunē, "righteousness, the quality of being upright, justice."

482. "Rejoices with/in" is synchairō, "to experience joy in conjunction with someone, rejoice with someone" (BDAG 953, 1).

483. "Truth" is alētheia, "the quality of being in accord with what is true, truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed," especially of the content of Christianity as the ultimate truth expressing itself in virtues like righteousness and holiness (BDAG 42, 2b).

484. "Protects" (NIV), "bears" (NRSV, KJV) is stegō, in classical Greek, frequently in the sense of covering or enclosing in such a way as to keep something undesirable from coming in, as water into a ship (BDAG 942, meanings 1 and 2).

485. Peter Scholtes, "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love," © 1966, F.E.L. Publications, assigned 1991, Lorenz Publishing Company.

486. Pisteuō, BDAG 816, 1aα.

487. Elpizō, BDAG 319, 1b.

488. Hypomenō, BDAG 1039, 2.

489. Ekpiptō, BDAG 308, 4.

490. Words by Hubert Mitchell, "He Giveth More Grace," 1941, are in the public domain. Music by Annie Johnson Flint is © 1941, renewed 1969, Lillenas Publishing Company.

491. "Cease" (NIV), "come to an end" (NRSV), "fail" (KJV) is katargeō, "to cause something to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside something" It is used in the passive sense ("cease, pass away") in verse 8b, but in the active voice in 11 ("set aside") (BDAG 525, 3).

492. "Be stilled" (NIV), "cease" (NRSV, KJV) is pauō, basically, "to cause something to stop or keep something from happening, stop, cause to stop, quiet, relieve," here, "to cease doing something, stop (oneself), cease" (BDAG 790, 2).

493. "In part" is two words, ek merous, ek, "out of" and meros, "part," in contrast to the whole. Verse 10, "what is 'in part'" = "imperfect" (BDAG 633, 1c).

494. "Disappears" (NIV), "come to an end" (NRSV), "shall be done away" (KJV) is the future passive of katargeō, which we see several other times in this passage.

495. "The imperfect" (NIV), "the partial" (NRSV), "that which is in part" (KJV) is ho ek merous = "imperfect."

496. Teleios, BDAG 995, 1aα.

497. "Child" is nēpios, several times in verse 11. In Greek literature it generally refers to beings ranging from fetal status to puberty. Here probably, "a very young child, infant, child" (BDAG 671, 1).

498. "Put behind" (NIV), "put an end" (NRSV), "put away" (KJV) is katargeō again.

499. "Speaking," the common verb laleō; "thinking/understanding," is phroneō, "to have an opinion with regard to something, think, form/hold an opinion, judge" (BDAG 1065, 1). and "reasoning/thinking" is logizomai, "to give careful thought to a matter, think (about), consider, ponder, let one's mind dwell on something" (BDAG 598, 2).

500. Plato, The Republic (380 BC), Books VII and VIII.

501. "Mirror" (NIV, NRSV), "glass" (KJV) is esoptron, "mirror" (BDAG 397).

502. "A poor reflection" (NIV), "dimly" (NRSV), "darkly" (KJV) is two words, en, "in" and ainigma (from which we get our word "enigma"), literally, "riddle," here probably, indirect mode of communication, an idiom meaning "indirectly," in this figure a "reflection" (BDAG 27, 2).

503. Prosōpon, "face," which here represents Old Testament usage, and in which the face is often to be taken as the seat of the faculty of seeing (BDAG 887, 1bα).

504. The Greek Septuagint translates "riddles" as ainigma, the word used for "dimly, darkly in verse 12a. However, Hebrew "face to face" in the Septuagint is translated as 'mouth to mouth.

505. "Know in part" uses the verb ginōskō, generally, "to know" (BDAG 199).

506. "Know fully" (NIV, NRSV), "know" (KJV) is epiginōskō, which intensifies the verb ginōskō by compounding with epi. Often there seems little difference between ginōskō and epiginōskō, but here the preposition makes its influence felt, "know exactly, completely, through and through" (BDAG 369, 1a).

507. "Remain" (NIV), "abide" (NRSV, KJV) is menō, "remain," here, "to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live" (BDAG 632, 2b).

508. "Greatest" is meizōn, comparative as megas. In our verse, the comparative also performs the function of the superlative (BDAG 623, 4b).


Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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