1 Corinthians 13:7

In 1 Corinthians 13:7, Paul tells us four things that love is: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” These four more things love is are:

  1. Bearing
  2. Believing
  3. Hoping
  4. Enduring

Let’s look at what these four things that love is are all about. The word for bears can also be translated covers. It never proclaims the errors of good men. Some wait for the opportunity to share something bad about another, but that is never an outcome of love. Spurgeon said “Love stands in the presence of a fault, with a finger on her lip.”

Next we come to the truth that love believes all things. We choose to believe the best of others. Our first thought is not to jump to the worst, but to immediately assume the best. We start with trust and thinking the best, and only after facts come to light differently would we ever move from believing the best. Some lie in wait hoping to find negative or disgraceful things to share about another. But not in love. Love will not allow that to happen. Spurgeon wrote “I wish the chatterers would take a turn at exaggerating other people’s virtues, and go from house to house trumping up pretty stories of their acquaintances.”

Love always hopes. Not in most things, but in ALL things. Love has confidence in the future, not pessimism. It knows who is in control of the universe and the love that God pours upon us. That doesn’t mean things always go as planned or come out with a good outcome. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But that doesn’t dampen the hope in God’s goodness. When we get hurt, it does not say, “It will be this way forever, and even get worse.” It hopes for the best, and it hopes in God. There is a positive view of all that happens, even when it is not what might be wished for or expected. Hope always looks forward for the good.

The fourth thing love does is endure.  Love can be hard. Most of us can bear all things, and believe all things, and hope all things, but only for a while! The greatness of agape love is it keeps on bearing, believing, and hoping. It doesn’t give up. It destroys enemies by turning them into friends. Jesus is the greatest example of all time as to what agape love is all about. We could replace the word love with the name Jesus and the description would make perfect sense. We can easily say, Jesus suffers long and is kind; Jesus does not envy… and make it through the whole chapter. There is a reason why Paul put this chapter in the middle of his discussion of spiritual gifts. Paul wants the Corinthian Christians to remember that giftedness is not the measure of maturity, the display of love is. Love trumps all.

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