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[Walking with Yahweh]:
[Faith, Hope & Love]:
Understanding Love
Written on August 9th, 2006 - 9:29PM
Last Updated: August 13th, 2006 - 3:10PM

Throughout God's revelation to creation, He shows us that love is central. It encompasses all, for it is the beginning and ending of Yahweh's dealings with man. He loves enough to become one of us, and to sustain us unto the uttermost, ensuring our salvation and eternal life with and in Him.

Love is the primary and most important commandment that Yahweh has ever given. Love binds His people together and builds them up. Love fulfills the Law of Moses that could not be fulfilled by living in the flesh. Love is from another source than our own human bodies or minds. It is divine because God is love.

Knowing this, we should understand exactly what love is. Recognizing it will enable us to know when we are walking according to the reason we were made. It will show us when we are walking according to the flesh, which does not please God. Understanding and then living in love will bring us into perfect union with Yahweh, the joy the world does not know. The apostle Paul received revelation about love and what it does and does not do. We thank God for this insight into the nature of love, that we might grow through union with it.

Love Is Patient (μακροθυμε)

Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, (1 Corinthians 13:4)

This word in Greek comes from two words, "long" and "passion." To be patient to be long-bearing, not short-tempered. In Hebrew and Greek thought, anger was connected to the breath: breathing hard, or to snort through one's nostrils, was a sign of indignation. Love, which is long-passioned, or patient, endures that which causes anger for long periods of time.

Love Is Kind (χρηστευετα)

This Greek word has a rich etymology. It comes from a root meaning to provide what is needful or useful. That word comes from the word for "hand." Thus, seeing how the word developed up to the time of the Bible, to be kind was to be ready for providing. In addition, this form of the word is in the middle voice, indicating something done for both another and oneself at the same time. Love, being kind, does not take advantage of one's need or lack, but rather provides. It bears the burden of the one in need, it makes itself useful in the situation it finds itself. Love is an open hand.

Love Does Not Envy (ου ζηλοι)

Notice the first two descriptions were describing what love does. This, rather, describes what love does not do. This word comes from a root from which we get two of our English words: jealous and zealous. And that root further comes from the verb meaning "to be hot." To be jealous then, is to burn . We have the expression that a person did something "in the heat of the moment." It is a related concept, to burn or to have jealousy over something or someone. Love does not do this.

Love Does Not Vaunt Itself (ου περπερευεται)

This place in scripture is the earliest known example of this Greek word, even outside the Bible. It was used to mean "to play the braggart." Perhaps we can see a contrast to the way of the world where people try to make themselves look better than they are in order to attract someone. But love does not promote itself in this way.

Love Is Not Puffed Up (ου φυσιουται)

This verb comes from either the noun meaning "bellows," or the verb meaning "to puff or swell up." It is where we get our concept of being "proud." Even the medical profession continues to use the word "proud" in that way, when it speaks of "proud flesh," meaning a raised portion of the flesh. To be puffed up, then, is to be swollen. It is not natural, and ultimately ends in bursting of some type. This verb is also in the middle voice, giving it a reflexive sense; love does not "puff itself up."

Paul elsewhere reveals that it is knowledge that puffs up, while love "builds up."

Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1)

So we see a constrast here, that love is not responsible for puffing up, where there is nothing good inside that raised area. Rather, it builds up; that word in Greek means to build an edifice as though stone upon stone.

Love Does Not Act Unbecomingly (ουκ ασχημονει)

doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; (1 Corinthians 13:5)

This comes from the negative α and a word meaning to "possess, hold or be." A related common English idiom would be it doesn't "hold itself well." Love does not do this, but rather possesses itself appropriately. It is cohesive and not disheveled. This word is also used for when a person is not acting appropriately toward a virgin, and should rather get married (1 Corinthians 7:36). It is interesting that this description is a negative description, of what love does not do, rather than what it does do. It helps us discern when something being displayed is love; if it acts inappropriately, it is not love in action.

Love Does not Seek Itself (ζητει τα εαυτης)

Many scholars interpret this to mean it doesn't seek its own interests or ways. It doesn't go after them. The obvious counterpart is that love seeks something else; whether a person or another thing. Paul elsewhere tells us to seek not our own, but our neighbor's good (1 Corinthians 10:24) and that he pleases all men, not seeking his own profit, but that of the many, so that they would be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33). So we can discern love as something that is not concerned with itself and its own things—it is constantly looking outward.

Love is Not Provoked (ου παροξυνεται)

This word comes from words meaning "near" and "to sharpen as by rapid movement." One gets an image of something causing an abrasion by a continual rubbing. We have the English idioms of "being rubbed the wrong way," "grating on one's nerves," and being "irritated." Love does not experience this. What a wondrous thing! Although it may be continually provoked, it does not have any noticeable effect.

Love Does Not Take Account of Evil (ου λογιζεται το κακον)

James Strong (of the Strong's Concordance) believes this word for "evil" to be more a description of its intrinsic worth (i.e., worthless), rather than its effects. So love does not inventory the many worthless things done. It does not keep track of wrong-doings; not just those things that have bad effects but also those things done with bad intentions. Love is quite different from human nature, in this regard.

Love Does Not Rejoice in Unrighteousness (ου χαιρει επι τη αδικια)

doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; (1 Corinthians 13:6)

This word for "rejoice" comes from the same root of which comes a word used in Greek to mean a greeting, even used today in modern Greece. Jesus used this greeting when He met the disciples after His resurrection (Matthew 28:9). It means simply to rejoice, to be cheerful, or to be well. The word used for "unrighteousness" is simply the word for righteousness with the negative added to the front. It is what is not right or true. The connecting word translated "in" is not the common word for "in," but rather a word that denotes "upon" is the sense of being over something. Love does not take cheer in what is not right, it doesn't fare well with wrong. Love does not rejoice through resting upon or being supported by unrighteousness.

Love Does, However, Rejoice with the Truth (συγχαιρει δε τη αληθεια)

This word for "rejoice" here is slightly different than the first mentioned, of not rejoicing in unrighteousness. It contains the same root (χαιρει) but adds a preposition meaning "together" or "with" (συγ). This gives it a meaning of "to congratulate," or "to sympathize with gladness." There is also no connecting word like "in" or "upon" because of this different word being used. So we see that while love does not rejoice upon unrighteousness, it does congratulate the truth.

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, there is an intimate connection between righteousness and truth. To be righteous is not just about our concept of being good or holy, but fundamentally means a symphony with what is true. Thus Paul can reveal that love doesn't take cheer with unrighteousness, but rather rejoices with the truth. Love isn't happy with a lie, but is glad in the company of the truth.

Love Bears All Things (παντα στεγει)

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

This word for "bear" comes from the Greek noun στεγη ("roof"). It holds up, protects, covers. Because of the source of this verb ("roof"), this can also be translated "covers all things." What does love bear or cover? "All things." Love protects all things from all that would do them harm.

Love Believes or Trusts All Things (παντα πιστευει)

This is the simple verb of "to believe," from the noun meaning "faith" or "trust." Paul does not say that love believes in all things, but rather trusts all things. As the Kingdom of God cannot be received except as by a child, so this thing called love lives with child-like trust. Love doesn't discern lies but simply trusts. Perhaps this is why love is injured so often.

Love Hopes All Things (παντα ελπιζει)

Paul later tells us that three things last: faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Here is the verb form of that word, "hope." We also see faith and hope intimately connected elsewhere (Galatians 5:5)(Hebrews 11:1). As we hope for things we do not see, love hopes all things, wanting with patience to see what has been promised and what is possible (Romans 8:24-25). In a way, because there is no word "in" here, we can see love as the agent of hope. It is what causes hope to hope, its power to hope.

Love Endures All Things (παντα υπομενει)

This is more properly translated "bears" than the first word in this verse (which as mentioned, may be better translated "covers"). It comes from two words meaning "abide" or "remain" and "under." Thus we can see that love takes its place under all things. It supports all things, it remains under all things, holding it all up. Just as it covers all things (as a roof) so does it support them from underneath.

The Love Never Fails (η αγαπη ουδεποτε πιπτει)

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

It never falls through. Through its support of all things, it never collapses underneath the weight. In the same way, it does not fall upon what it covers and protects from above. Love is sturdy, powerful, unable to be destroyed, even as it both protects and bears up all things. While other things serve a purpose for a time and vanish, love forever remains.

Through this blessed revelation of love to Paul, we gain insight into what love really is. Notice that these are descriptions of love, what it does and does not do. This is not something we conjur up on our own, an ability innate to us as humans. Rather, these are the traits of something living in us, a new nature into which we have been born through faith in Love incarnte, Christ Jesus. We may "try" to act in these ways, imitating love, but it will fail us until we simply yield to love in us. For only those who have received and been born of love may operate according to its nature.

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. 8He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love. 9By this God's love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice{"atoning sacrifice" is from the Greek "hilasmos," an appeasing, propitiating, or the means of appeasement or propitiation—the sacrifice that turns away God's wrath because of our sin.} for our sins. 11Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12)


Last Accessed: September 29th, 2022 - 1:09PM
Times Read: 2095
 
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The Good Message

As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.

But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.

This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, Christ Jesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.

You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.

God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.

That Son, Jesus Christ, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.

His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.

The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.

So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.

Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!

 
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