Fifteen Characteristics Of Love (Bears All Things)

It is written:

1 Corinthians 13:7 (Love)…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Notice the phrase “bears all things.”

There are two possible interpretations of this phrase, and it is possible that Paul intends for us to understand that both of these aspects of love are worthy of learning and applying to our lives.

The first definition of this Greek word is that love “protects” or “covers” all things.

In this sense, the word had the meaning of keeping something confidential. it was used this way in the Greek Old Testament:

Ecclesiastes 8:17-then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.

It always protects. The translation the TNIV and NIV, always protects, reflects one of the two common meanings of the verb, ‘to keep confidential, cover, pass over in silence’ (BDAG). This is the meaning found in Ecclesiastes 8:17 LXX and the one supported by Gerhard Schneider, ‘love covers all things,’ i.e., all unpleasantness from other people (‘with the cloak of love’),’ although he admits that the meaning he applies in in 1 Corinthians 9:12, ‘enduring anything,’ could also apply here. The understanding of the NJB, which says love ‘is always ready to make allowances,’ is similar.” (Roy E. Ciampa & Brian S. Rosner, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The First Letter To The Corinthians, 649 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

Another meaning of the word carries with it the idea of “endurance.”

Paul had used this word earlier in 1 Corinthians, with himself and the other Apostles as examples:

1 Corinthians 9:12-If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

Paul here was talking about the right of Gospel preaches to be financially supported. It is true that there are many hucksters in the religious world who prey on the naive and the gullible in order to fatten their own wallets.

Peter warned:

2 Peter 2:12-17-But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13  and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14  having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15  They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16  but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. 17  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

There are people like that in the world, but there are also Gospel preachers who seek to share the Word of God. Paul argues that these have the right to be cared for:

1 Corinthians 9:13-14-Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14  Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Paul is telling us in 1 Corinthians 9:12 that even though he had the right for increased financial support, he had not insisted upon that right. Instead, he had been willing to “endure all things.”

He had been willing to endure these things-to bear the hardships that came from limited financial support-in order to spare the brethren financial strain during a difficult time and to help ensure the furtherance of the Good News.

Love does that: it helps a person to ‘bear all things.’ It encourages him to do what seems impossible- because the object of our love is so precious to us.

Isn’t that what love is really about?

“AGAPAO” speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. Agapao is used in John 3:16. God’s love for a sinful and lost race springs from His heart in response to the high value He places upon each human soul. Every sinner is exceedingly precious in His sight….This preciousness of each member of the human race to the heart of God is the constituent element of the love that gave His Son to die on the Cross. The degree of the preciousness is measured by the infinite sacrifice which God made. The love in John 3: 16 therefore is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation of the preciousness of the one loved.” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Golden Nuggets from the Greek New Testament, 52-53 (Kindle Edition); Pioneer Library)

The love that God wants us to develop will be one that is willing to bear all kinds of obstacles and trials for the one that is loved. Indeed, Jesus Himself is the perfect Example of this. He was willing to forego all of His rights and to “bear all things” in a way that defies comprehension.

Philippians 2:5-8-Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Let’s ask God to help us learn to love in a way that enables us to “bear all things.”

Leave a Reply

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: