“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
As a Pastor, I have the opportunity to be a part of many weddings. Quite often when I ask the Bride or Groom if there any specific Bible verses they would like me to use, 1 Corinthians 13 comes to their mind. I would submit that it is probably one of the most popular verses used in wedding ceremonies.
Even so, it is important to understand that the love Paul speaks of is the supernatural, self-giving love of God and not the romantic love seen in weddings.
The agape love Paul speaks of in this passage makes even better sense when we see that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is actually describing God’s character. 1 John 4:8 states that “God is love.” So consider for a moment, what if we exchanged the word “love” for the word “God”? This verse would sound like this:
“God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. God finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
To take it one step further, reread the paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 above and add the words “to me” in each phrase: “God is patient toward me, God is kind to me” and so on. Listen to the truth of this message!
Lastly, ask yourself how do you reflect this love towards others. As a practical exercise, put your name in the place of love and your spouse or child in the blank provided: “I am patient toward ___, I am kind to ___” and so on. How are you demonstrating this agape love to your family?