Out of context: 1 Corinthians 13:4

Out of context: 1 Corinthians 13:4

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” What does this verse mean? What does love mean?  

This verse is often interpreted in a completely different way than what is actually being said. Many take this verse out of context and use it to justify their own personal beliefs. How can we know what is actually being said? 

To start off, we need to realize that these verses define love for us. They tell us what love is. Everyone else takes what they think love is, and they apply their opinions to scripture. Here are some ways people take this verse. 

Many shorten the verse to simply say, “Love is.” By doing this, they open up a seemingly endless amount of areas where this verse can “biblically” apply to their lives. Many use this to support and justify the lifestyle they desire to live. 

The verse is most commonly used when someone is trying to prove that it is good and right for them to love someone sensually of their own sex. This is wrong, as there are several verses that contradict this, and the Bible does not contradict itself. 

Another example of how this verse is taken out of context is by citing, “Love is patient and kind.” Many will use this to say Christians need to understand and support each person’s own definition of love, regardless of what they are doing in their lives. This is also wrong. 

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another, and we are given clear instructions how to do so. Reading past “Love is patient and kind” shows us how many have taken this verse out of context. In the same chapter of Corinthians, verse 6 continues talking about love and tells us, “It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 

Love is not justifying natural, man-made decisions. Love is 1 Corinthians 13. We have been blessed with a clear instruction guide on how to love others. We should not interpret portions of God’s word and use it how we wish. 

We need to learn what love is entirely, rather than taking the parts that we want and including anything else suits our desires. Love is a gift from God and we should take this passage seriously when putting his word into practice.


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