1 Corinthians 13:7

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. 

John 15:5

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 15:5 

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

Jesus uses the idea of the vine and the branch to describe how we are to do the work God has for us.  First, he describes which is which.  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1.  First, lets look at what the vine is.  The vine is the main part of the plant, which supports the branches and provides what they need.  All the nourishment of each branch passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth.  The vinedresser is the one who cares for the vineyard.  They are responsible to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare.  We, as Christians, are the branches that sprout from the vine.  And in our focus verse, we see we are the branches, the ones through whom the vine produces the fruit.

Therefore, we see the three roles laid out in this picture.  Jesus is the vine, the one from whom all His branches, those being us, are nourished and strengthened.  He is the real source of our strength and nourishment, blessings and joy.  And the Father is the one who has the care, maintenance, and defense of the vineyard.  And He also is the one who plants the vine.  “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

Now, again in our focus verse we read,  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.  Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; therefore He is the one that provides us with what we need to do His work.  He nourishes us with His Word, which helps us do what He calls us to do and strengthens us such that we will continue on when it gets difficult.  But the only way we can receive what He provides is if we abide in the vine.  We must be united with Him, living such that He is the provider of all we need.  We must be, as the branch is connected to the vine, be connected to Jesus.  For only then will we be able to produce the fruit He intends us to produce.  “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10. 

However, if we are not united with Christ, if we do not look to Him as the means to do the work He has called us to, then we truly cannot do anything.  We cannot do anything for Him if we are separated from Him.  As the branches, if separated from the vine cannot produce fruit but would wither and die, so Christians, who are separated from Christ, cannot produce fruit.  This shows we are totally dependent on Christ to do what He desires us to do. 

In closing, let us understand our dependence on Him in everything we are called to do.  If we try to accomplish His will without being united with Him; not receiving all we need from Him, in effect, doing it our way, we will accomplish nothing.  It is only when God, working through us, opening their hearts for the work we are doing, that fruit is produced.   If we are here to produce fruit, we need the vine to make it happen.  Without the vine, we will simply dry up and wither.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.