TWFW: Lovest Thou Me?

September 9, 2009


I’ve been pondering lately, trying to choose a topic or word to study in the Bible again. I’ve done word studies various times in the past– on the word “mind,” on topics such as intercession, and other things. I’ve done it not only to learn more about the Bible and about doctrine, but also to know God more, to know His character and nature more. I’m always richer in wisdom and knowledge when I do; but I haven’t done a word study– an extended one– in a few years.

I think the Holy Spirit is bringing me back to the last one I started and left off, about three years ago. The word/topic is “love.” Ask anyone what is “love” and you’ll get a variety of responses: love is being “nice” to people; love is acting like God wants you to act; love is patience and kindness.

I think there is a lot more to love than that. Love is often confused with phileo, which is affection, and eros, which is physical love or lust. Love is not a religion of nice, either. Love is not a complex thing to understand, but it has been made complex because of all the other unassociated things that have been tacked on to it’s meaning.

Love in its basest word is “agape” in the New Testament Greek. It was a word rarely used in the ancient times; Christianity brought it new life with the word frequently used in the New Testament. Agape means “unconditional love.” That is, a habitual pattern of acting toward others the way God does to you, without any recompense or reward. I can’t say I’ve got my finger 100% on it, that’s why I’m going to do a word study on it.

But I read this scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 earlier in the week and (as it usually does) made me go: WOOOOOW!!!

Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

ā€¦ And now abide faith, hope love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love is that by which we have FAITH to believe all things. By which we have HOPE to hope all things. Love is really the answer! And without it, all works and good intentions are empty. This is an embellished translation from the Amplified Bible:

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).

Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

And so faith, hope, love abide [faith–conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope–joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love–true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I think that’s plenty of stuff to chew on for now; I’ll have more about love in the coming weeks. This ought to be a terrific study and I really hope (and need) to have God’s love reflected in my life as I look into this more.

For more of The Word For Wednesday posts and participants, see Yeah, Right!


4 Responses to “TWFW: Lovest Thou Me?”

  1. akaGaGa Says:

    WOOOOOW!!! is right! I’ve never looked at the Amplified version of this. “God’s love in me” gives a whole new understanding to this passage. (It’s also the first one I very carefully underlined as a child, because it spoke to me even then.)

    A local pastor did a six-week series last spring on “The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman. It’s a bunch of worldly crap based on humanistic psychology. What I kept asking was, “Why? Why would you teach this garbage in church when you have I Corinthians 13? Why would you teach Gary Chapman’s words about love instead of God’s? Of course, I was ignored.

    I’m really looking forward to more of your word study.

    I put your link up in Mr. Linky. šŸ™‚

  2. Jim Wetzel Says:

    That’s the first entire chapter I ever memorized. In fact, I’m ashamed to say it’s the ONLY full chapter I’ve ever memorized, and I no longer have it all in memory, due to neglect.

    I really enjoy the way the last sentence of chapter 12 leads into it: “And I show you a still more excellent way.”

    One thing: I noticed that most of verses 8 – 12 are omitted. Any particular reason?

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Jean- yes I agree that a lot of the pseudo-Christian teaching out there is psycho-babble. It’s too bad. It’s all just a humanized version of the principles of the Bible, kind of like salvation without Christ (which of course, is impossible!)

    Jim– I omitted those verses merely because I was trying to be brief and stick to the point. I kind of expect the curious reader to look up the passage for him/herself. I forgot to insert the Bible verses reference, though… oops.

  4. Jay Says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    I’m so glad that you spoke about this topic, because I have been studying this exact topic. I was learning of how when Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” He was not speaking of the actions of liking or being nice to, but “will you lay down your life for Me?” I’m so excited about your upcoming posts on this subject, and I’ll be following all of them! Happy WFW! šŸ˜€