Posts Tagged ‘agape’

1 Corinthians 13: A positive view

October 23, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the “Quote of the Day” for October 23, 2017,

“If I don’t, then I won’t—if I do, then I will.”

Actually the line is the title of a freshly composed poem inspired by 1 Corinthians 13 where the Word of God answers in detail one of the questions of the ages: “What is love?” The chapter unfolds as an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

In reflecting on this celebrated chapter so often recited as a whole or in part on Valentine’s Day or at weddings or other special occasions, I thought I would read it from a different view point in light of principles that I recall from high school lessons in math and English.

In math if you have a negative number and you multiply it by a negative number, the result will be a positive number; for example, -4 x -3 = + 12. Likewise, in English, we have a “double negative” when you use of two negative words in the same sentence. The resulting sentence will convey the exact opposite of what you intended, as your negatives cancel each other out. “I do not want you to NOT love” is the same as saying “I want you to love.”  These concepts bring to mind the lyrics of the popular song from the 1950s reminding us to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

Here is a different view of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 in the Amplified Bible modified from a more positive viewpoint:

 1IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, [and do have] love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am [more than] only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.   I become an instrument of peace.

 And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but [do have love] (God’s love in me) I am [not] nothing (a useless nobody). I am really something (I am somebody).

3Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that [God may be glorified], [and have love] (God’s love in me), I gain [everything].

When we choose to walk in love or demonstrate the power of love, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here is a poetic summary of our discussion:

If I don’t, then I won’t—If I do, then I will

A different take on I Corinthians 13

 

What does 1 Corinthians 13 really say? Talk to me;

Follow me and let me show you what I see.

The Word never returns void but prospers where it is sent

When read from another view, this is what I think it meant:

If I speak in tongues fluently but don’t have love,

Though I have evidence of the sign of the dove,

I am a clanging cymbal, nothing more than noise

But if I choose to love, I can now use my voice

To make new music as an instrument of peace,

To silence discord and cause all jangling to cease.

Although I flow prophetically with faith that is great,

But without love I am not even second rate.

But if I love, I am not least but the greatest.

Even if I give my life, the ultimate test,

Without God’s love what have I really gained—nothing,

But when I give, moved by love, I gain everything,

Kingdoms may fade, but the love of God will never cease.

For love will not diminish but only increase.

Whether to walk in love or not, we each must choose.

Strange as it may seem, when you give you cannot lose.

If God’s love is not the motive, you cannot win,

For the one who loves always wins, again and again.

Bernie Armstrong offers “1 Corinthians 13—The Wedding Song–Love Never Fails,” not just a lovely song for marriage but a truly beautiful song of life:

 

Not fear but power, love, and sound mind

February 28, 2017

2 Timothy 1-7

Revised and re-posted is the Verse of the Day for February 28, 2017 found in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV):

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The Amplified Bible renders the verse this way:

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP):

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

In this epistle written to Paul’s “faithful and true spiritual son,” Paul explains what kind of spirit God has not given to believers, in contrast to the kind of spirit that He has given:

“God has not given us a spirit of fear.” God who is love, loves us and as 1 John so clearly makes known that there is no fear in love. The spirit that God gave us was not a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, and cringing and fawning fear, all of which reflect weakness.

On the other hand, the spirit that God has given is one of “power, love, and sound mind.” As the Amplified Bible elaborates:

[He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Spirit of Power

The word power is translated from a form of the Greek word dunamis, an expression of potential power, as demonstrated as the root of the English words, dynamite and dynamo, both of which reveal power at rest, power that must be demonstrated or activated or manifested. Power always accompanies the Holy Spirit. The Church of Jesus Christ began with the fulfillment of the promise that believers would receive into manifestation power:

Luke 24: 49 ( AMP):

49 Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”

This promise is echoed in Acts 1:8(AMP)

But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”

In 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul continues to exhort Timothy:

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible],

Love—agape

In this instance, love refers to, the love of God or agape, a unique term which is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love, so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, particularly verses 4-7 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; 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].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

With the love of God, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. We speak of the love of God whereby there is a manifestation or demonstration of that love.

Sound mind—whole thoughts

Having a sound mind relates to having whole thoughts or being “sober-minded.” As the Amplified Bible puts it having “a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” It is the opposite of an “unsound mind.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “A person of unsound mind is an adult who from infirmity of mind is incapable of managing himself or his affairs.” The term is related to persons designated as “insane.”

The expression “being of sound mind and judgment” is a phrase often included in the introductory paragraph of a will in which the testator (writer of the will) declares that the individual signing the will is “of sound mind and memory.”  That person is aware of their surrounding and is capable of making rational judgments regarding his/her personal affairs. Again, Black’s Law Dictionary offers this definition of “sound mind”: Having the ability to think, understand and reason for oneself.”

The Verse of Day reveals that believers are endowed with a tri-fold power source: God desires that we might know the exceeding greatness of God’s power to those who believe according to the working of His mighty power (Ephesians 1:18). He also wants us know, intimately, personally, as we experience the power of the love of God which is beyond our understanding. Finally, our Father desires that we do not conform ourselves to the world’s standards but that we transform ourselves as we renew our minds and thus prove what is that “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Listen to this musical reminder that, indeed, God has not given unto us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind:

Love never fails

February 12, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--4-7

In the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2017 we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NKJV):

Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As we think about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 also comes to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. The late Dr. Adrian Rodgers once stated, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To know God is to love Him, and how do we know Him? 1 John 2:3 reminds us:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

This verse brings to mind the following lyrics:

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we  know You still love us.

 

No matter how many times we go astray

And leave Your side and choose to disobey.

When we’re overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what we do or do not say.

 

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

 

No one else knows our heart: You are the one

To call us home when we have no place to run.

When we look all around at all that we’ve done,

Despite all our failures, You still call us your own.

 

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us.

We know that we know that we know that we know.

We know that we know You still love us. You still love us.

We close with the assurance that God loves us, as the Verse of the Day reiterates: “Love never fails” beautifully expressed by Jim Brickman and Amy Sky:

 

Just how much God loves us

February 10, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

The New Year continues to unfold, and our thoughts turn toward “love” as the 14th of February approaches. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day, we should seek to soar to the heights of a love supreme, the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. This love differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” On the other hand, agape, a term that is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love which is so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that is often excerpted or quoted in its entirety at weddings. The Verse of the Day for February 10, 2017 is the opening section of this celebrated expression of God’s love:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The Greatest Gift] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

This passage makes reference to magnanimous spiritual accomplishments or “great spiritual exploits” related to the ability to speak  in tongues, whether a language spoken on earth or the heavenly language of angels or being able to prophesy and demonstrate a depth of spiritual understanding or being able to live a life of self-sacrifice to the ultimate degree. No matter how impressive these endeavors may be, they ultimately do not benefit the individual who performs them if that person’s underlying motivation is not love.

With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. Believers speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in these words from John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives.

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give

The book of I John also elaborates on the love of God:

1 John 3:16

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or brought to maturity in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. This demonstration reveals the depth of love that God has for us. May we always remember:

“. . .  Just how much God loves us.”

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

1 John 4:10

Father, expand our mind and widen our comprehension

To recognize your ways to an even greater dimension.

As we call upon your name and bow in humility,

Deepen our understanding, as you give us eyes to see.

Enlighten our souls with the wisdom that comes from above.

You call us your beloved, worthy of your endless love.

When we are tempted, knowing that you love us dispels all fear.

As we seek to please you, open our ears that we might hear

Your word and endeavor to hide it deep within our heart.

Despite past failures, misdeeds, and shortcomings on our part,

Your love is constant and never changes but ever grows,

Unfolding in matchless beauty as a dew-kissed rose.

You say do not love worldly things or pleasures they may bring.

You show us God’s love is to be prized more than anything.

Listen to these heart-strengthening lyrics of “The Love of God” offered by Mercy Me:

God’s love: It is what it is not

February 11, 2016

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

Revised and re-blogged from a year ago is the following entry:

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (KJV):

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2016 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, as we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the New Living Translation illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

David Haas offers “Love Never Fails,” a beautiful composition based on 1 Corinthians 13:

 

Agape: The love of God

February 10, 2016

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

As the week before Valentine’s Day unfolds, moving toward a specific a time set apart to celebrate love, we must recognize various forms of love, including the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. It differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” There is a love which is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife;” this close-knit love is known as agape.

This particular term which is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love, so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that is often excerpted or quoted in its entirety at weddings. The Verse of the Day for February 10, 2016 opens this chapter with verses 1-3 in the King James Version which illustrate the distinctive power of the love of God or agape. In this passage the term is translated “charity:

This particular term reveals the uniqueness of God’s love, so clearly defined in this celebrated chapter where the term is translated “charity”:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV):

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Instead of speaking of “charity,” the New Living Translation uses the word “love”:

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

The passage offers a series of conditional phrases beginning with “If I. . .” If I performed a number of actions, followed by the results if “I” performed them outside of love, then “I” would be only so much noise or “I” would be nothing or “I” would have gained nothing. Love would not be impacted by those actions, but the individual who performed them would not fully benefit or profit from those acts if that individual chose “not to love others.”

During this week we will have ample opportunity to think about the love of God, as we approach Valentine’s Day, but as we follow the Scripture’s encouragement, we are to walk in love every day, not just on February 14.

Here is a musical reminder of the enduring properties of agape: “Love never fails”:

God’s love is what it is not

February 11, 2015

Revised and re-blogged from a year ago is the following entry:

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2015 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; 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].

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

The video “Love is Patient” provides a graphic illustration that defines the love of God:

Love one another

February 14, 2014

John-13-verse-34-35

The Verse of the Day for February 14, 2014, Valentine’s Day, is found in John 13:34-35, a passage that speaks of love:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

In this instance, love is used as a verb which connotes action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.”

Let’s put it another way:  Love is the application of the first and great commandment:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets,” said Jesus Christ.

Love is where it begins, and love is where it ends. Also remember that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. Each day we must decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love, as we follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

And so on Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. This love is most clearly revealed in one of the most recognized verses in the Bible, the Verse of the Day for yesterday, which has this hidden reference to Valentine’s Day:

For God so loVed the world,

That He GAve

His onLy

BegottEn

SoN

That whosoever

Believeth In Him

Should Not perish,

But have Everlasting life.

Happy Day Valentine’s Day, and may every day be filled with God’s love, as we love one another. The essence of message that Christ proclaims in John 13:34-35 is also reiterated in 1 John 4:7-8

Maranatha Kids offer this musical reminder:

The love of God always endures

February 12, 2014

1-corinthians-13-4-7In the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2014, we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 KJV:

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As I thought about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 (my favorite chapter in the whole Bible) also came to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. I recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.

God’s love is what it is not

February 11, 2014

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 KJV)

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2014 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, as we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; 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].

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

The video “Love is Patient” provides a graphic illustration that defines the love of God: