By Travis Lauterbach


It’s perhaps one of the most recognized passages in the whole Bible.

Paul writes, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV).

This beloved passage is shared at weddings, anniversaries, and featured on all kinds of craft projects.

There’s a temptation to want to see this passage in a “me first” kind of way.

Love is patient “to me.” Love is kind “to me.” And so on.

Love seems valuable “to me” so long as it is getting me whatever I want and desire.

And yet, Paul writes this not from the point of view of the one receiving love, but he’s describing how a person should give love. Love is action toward others.

I am to show love by being patient, I am to show love by being kind, etc.

When one reflects on how the Bible describes love, it doesn’t take long to realize this is a high standard. I don’t measure up to it perfectly.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV).

Love starts with God Himself. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV).

God showed the world His love through the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus laid down His life to give life. He gave of Himself for the benefit of others. He is the picture of perfect love.

The love of which Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, is most perfectly Jesus’ own love. In His life, Jesus exemplified love to the point of death.

Jesus teaches what true love is and desires that people model His love by living in a way that serves the interests and well-being of others.