Bible Verses of Love – The Love Chapter
One of the longest definitions of love can be found in I Corinthians 13:1-13. Most Bibles list these verses as “The Love Chapter.” They are an integral part of many Christian marriage ceremonies. I know. They were a part of mine. My soon-to-be sister-in-law read the entire chapter during my wedding.
Thought I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a thinking cymbal.
And thought I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and thought I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
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.”
If you had asked me during my wedding ceremony if I knew the meaning of love, I would have proudly proclaimed, “Yes!” Now after fifteen years of marriage, I would say, “I’m still learning.” Learning when to speak, when to keep my mouth shut, when to whisper and when to shout. Learning that everything I do should be done in a spirit of love and with love. When I have allowed anger or resentment or jealously or my ego to drive my actions, I am the one who is hurt the most. I had been working as a consultant for a major corporation for over 18 months. When I was asked to renew my contract at a lower price, I said, “No.” They politely nodded their heads and did not renew my contract at all. At this time, I was the only breadwinner for my family. I allowed my ego to speak for me and indeed, “it profiteth me nothing!”
Charity suffereth long, and is kind;” 1 Cor. 13:4a
“…but rejoiced in the truth” I Cor. 13:6a
. . .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; Rejoiceth not in iniquity;”
In our language today, we read, love is patient and kind and rejoices in the truth. Patience and kindness seem to be virtues relegated to a by-gone era. In our world of instant gratification, “I want it now” and “It is all about me.” Love offers another option. Love asks us to be patient and kind. I believe this extends, not only to others, but to our self as well. After I had “lost” my job above, I was very resentful of my husband. I kept wondering why he didn’t get a job. Why wasn’t he out looking for a job? After all, I reasoned, I was the breadwinner now it was his turn. Unfortunately, this attitude began to display itself in quick, short burst of temper, usually by something I would say quietly to myself or I would disappear in my office for hours on end. I had forgotten that love does not act unseemly or is not easily provoked. It wasn’t long before my husband called me on my behavior. He said it was childish and not worthy of me. And you know what? He was right! That made me even madder! It wasn’t until I realized I was taking losing my job, through my own fault, out on my husband that things began to turn around. I can laugh at myself now but until I learned to be patient and kind to myself first, I was never be able to be patient and kind to others.
“(Love) Beareth all things, believeth all things hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity (love) never faileth.”
My mother created a beautiful cross-stitched sampler showcasing the words above. It now hangs at the foot of my father’s bed in the nursing home where he is recuperating from a stroke. It is a daily reminder of her love and source of her strength and love. Her bible was worn from constant use. During her fifty-four years of marriage to my Dad, she exemplified these verses and provided a strong role model for her daughters. It is through her love and example I know that love never fails.
“but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then fact to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
These verses remind me that all things will pass away but love. My natural inclination is to seek knowledge as the source of my strength and happiness. After all, my college degree has provided me with wonderful career opportunities. While this knowledge may have provided for my physical comforts, it did not nourish my soul and spirit. Life is full of learning opportunities. It’s an amazing dance but without love to guide me, I’d still be a wallflower with nothing written on my dance card. It is through my giving of love to others and receiving love from them that I understand who I am. Love is what defines us and how we will be known. Love is.
Love is the greatest force in heaven and on earth.