Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:7
“Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7
Here Paul is wrapping up His discussion on what love is. He chooses four ideas that describe true love to our fellow man. In each case, the verb is followed by the same object of the verb, which is “all things”. None of these are limited to a subset of things. They refer to all things, and this is the beauty of love as defined in chapter 13, that there is no one who is to be exempt from this love we have. And before we look at each, I also want to point out that this is not limed to a specific time period. The first and fourth items deal with present circumstances, while the second and third look to the future. And they all have the idea of addressing the past by not thinking negatively of those circumstances that have occurred.
First, love bears all things. The word translated “bears” has the idea of protecting and covering up with silence. If this is the sense here, then it means that love is disposed to hide or conceal the faults and imperfections of others; not to give any undue publicity to them. It means to bear the trials that are the fault of another yet concealing who did the fault and what it was. Adam Clarke the theologian puts it this way. “A person under the influence of this love never makes the sins, follies, faults, or imperfections of any man, the subject either of censure or conversation. He covers them as far as he can; and if alone privy to them, he retains the knowledge of them in his own bosom as far as he ought.” We are to suffer through without letting it out.
Next, love believes all things. We must endeavor to believe the best of everyone. That we unsuspiciously believe all good that is not clearly false. We should never assume a wrong that we have no clear evidence for. It cannot mean that we make no discrimination in regard to things to be believed and are thus prone to believe something that is false. But it must mean that in regard to the conduct of others there is a desire to put the best picture on it; to believe they intended no injury.
Thirdly, love hopes all things. This word hope is the same Greek word found in Hebrews 11:1. It has the idea that when we have no evidence for believing good regarding them, that we anticipate at some point that the transgressor will repent of their wrong and we continue to do what we can to bring this about. We must continue to pray that God will bring a good out of the evil, including a change of heart regarding the transgressor, that they will give their life to Christ and serve Him.
And finally, love endures all things. That we work to sustain ourselves during difficult times, and not complaining about our situation. That we persevere under all persecutions at the hands of men; whether it be friends, enemies, or those we do not know. If God allows it, then we must submit with perfect resignation until God delivers us from it. We have no idea what God has in store for us or those who afflict us, but we must remember what Paul wrote to the Roman church, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. If we truly trust and believe this, we will be able to endure much for the cause of Christ.
In closing, as our focus verse states, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Corinthians 13:7. This means that we must love all people no matter what happens. We must bear all faults or wrongdoings that anyone does to us, keeping it to ourselves to maintain any opportunity to make things right. Next, we are to believe good about everyone, unless there is absolute evidence to the contrary. And we must believe that there is always hope that they will change their ways, repent for what they have done, and give themselves to Christ. And finally, we must endure any hardship caused by another, understanding that God is in control and if He allows it, then there is a good to come from it. We must love in such a way that we choose to endure anything so that if possible, the one who causes us to endure can be exposed to the gospel message. These are hard things, but possible if we place our trust and our situation into God’s hands.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.