1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
Explanation and Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13:4
Godly love is patient and kind. It is not jealous, boastful or proud.
Paul was explaining to the Corinthians all the characteristics of the grace of Godly love that need to be present for it to be “love.” It is not sufficient to have one and not all of the characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, at the same time. His guidance was to be used so that Corinthians could see that they were not exhibiting Godly love, and what they needed to do so that this Divine love could dwell in their hearts.
Some translations of this verse translate the word “love” as “charity,” but the meaning is a Godly love that seeks the welfare of others before that of oneself, and exhibits the characteristics Paul stated here in this verse, plus simultaneously those characteristics in the following verses (1 Corinthians 4-8).
Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Corinthians 13:4
#1: “Love is patient…”
John Chrysostom, the medieval theologian who lived from 349 A.D. to 407 A.D., said that patience or “long-suffering” is the root of self-denial. Patience is impenetrable, like an invincible weapon that vanquishes anything that touches it. It gives profound calmness and tranquility to one’s soul.
#2: “…love is kind…”
Love has to be kind, in addition to being patient. Someone can employ patience in a situation where it has the effect of provoking someone else, and that is not love. To be kind, you should soothe and comfort others.
#3: “It does not envy…”
To have the ability to love, you must purge your soul of wanting what other people have. Envy is a sin and is responsible for much harm in the Bible including putting Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:18), making Joseph into a slave (Genesis 37:11, 28) and killing Abel (Genesis 4:3-8).
#4: “…it does not boast…”
If you love, you will not exhibit rude or disrespectful behavior. You will think about how what you say will be perceived by others before you speak. You will not direct attention towards yourself so that you can show off the good work that you do.
#5: “…it is not proud.”
To truly exhibit Godly love, you need to get rid of any tendency to feel happy because of something you think you did on your own. You need to realize that you were able to accomplish such a thing by the grace of God. You need to rid your soul of any self-focus and become God-focused.
Bible Study on 1 Corinthians 13:4
Expert Overview of 1 Corinthians
Biblical Translations of 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.