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The True Definition of Love in the Bible (I Corinthians)

Saturday Morning Devotional

Everyone seems to have their own definition of the word love, but what is it really? We can find the true definition of love in the Bible. 

Definition of love in the Bible

Let’s take a look at the Bible verses in the “Love Chapter,” I Corinthians 13:1-13. There we will find what the apostle Paul gave to the Corinthian church as the true meaning of love.

The Sound of True Love

“If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Cor. 13:1

Many of you know that I love music! However, there are certain instruments that hurt my ears – cymbals are one of them! The thought of going around sounding like a clanging cymbal or a resounding gong to the people around me is a little nauseating. 

Let me sound like love instead!

The Being of True Love

“If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” I Cor. 13:2

The Lord gives the gifts of prophecy, knowledge, and faith. What a blessing to have these spiritual gifts, but not without love! To have everything and yet be nothing is tragic!

Let me be love instead! 

The Gift of True Love

“And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” I Cor. 13:3

Giving to others is a noble thing. However, if we give all away to boast about it, we have done it in vain!

Let me give in love instead!

Biblical Love

This is true love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” (A selfless love) “Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I Cor. 13:4-7

Love IS:

Patient
Kind

Love is NOT:

Jealous
Boastful
Proud or Arrogant
Rude
Selfish
Irritable

Love Does NOT:

Keep a Record of Wrongs
Find Joy in Sin

Love DOES:

Rejoice in Truth
Bears all Things
Believes all Things
Hopes all Things
Endures all Things

Take a close look at each of these lists. I think we need to ask ourselves daily how we match up with these characteristics. These qualities show us the love of God so we can in turn show Christian love to others.

I challenge you to choose a quality or two from the Bible verses above to focus on this week. A few stand out to me as especially challenging:

Patient
Not Selfish

Which ones stand out to you?

The Way of Love

“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end.” I Cor. 13:8-10

When you think about it, we will not need prophecies, tongues of men, or knowledge in Heaven. We will be with the Lord Who knows all. When those things come to an end, love will still remain.

Let me be filled with an unending love!

A New Kind of Love

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13:11-13

Things will be so different when we get to Heaven. There will be things that we thought we understood, just like children think they understand adult things – but they don’t. They are childish ways. When we have put aside this life and can see clearly, we will be able to truly know that it was love all along that mattered most.

Let me see and understand the importance of love!

A Picture of God’s Love

You may have heard these New Testament scriptures used in a wedding ceremony at some time. They are a beautiful picture of God’s love for us and how we should love one another. They are a true picture of unconditional love! Let us put them into practice today!

definition of love in marriage

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Related Posts

It Is All About Love
I Corinthians 13: The Love Chapter in the Bible

Until next week…

I disclose

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“Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the more excellent way.” I Cor. 12:31

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13


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14 Comments

  1. Without love, we are nothing more than an annoying or painful noise. Like a sound to be avoided. May we love gently, landing softly on those around us so that we are well received. May our words and actions be a blessing to those around us. A wonderful reflection on love!

  2. This is such a fabulous post and a perfect reminder of how to love each other, Susan! I’m definitely going to work on sounding like love this week. Sometimes I get so passionate about a situation that it sounds like I’m yelling but I just feel very deeply about the subject and it comes out the wrong way. I have to constantly remind myself to take a breath but after reading this post I realize my goal should be to sound like love, be love and give love with each and every response! Thanks for the gentle nudge sweet friend. I can’t wait to share this on Friday. Big hugs, CoCo

    1. Aww, that is so sweet! Thank you! I understand the passionate voice issue. I always tease Jay about it, but then within the next day or two, he is pointing out my passionate tone. The struggle is real!

  3. I needed this reminder. I’m so thankful that He teaches us how to truly love others. Father, help me to love the way you love! 🙏🏻 Sharing this post in my weekly roundup tomorrow!

  4. Thank you for these reminders, Susan. I want to be a bearer of all things–to bear with tolerance the rude driver, with patience a talkative church member, with understanding the teenager who’s struggling with her emotions, etc. I pray God helps me run on an even keel, leaning on him for the best ways to respond!

    1. In those trying situations, you really grow. They are so difficult but so important! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am going to try to be more aware this week when I am faced with those situations.

  5. What a beautiful post Susan, I adore the subject and you sharing these beautiful verses that turn us towards love.
    I will reflect on this today and listen to God’s voice.

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