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Friday, October 16, 2009


The thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians is, of course, famous: The Love Chapter. It is often used at weddings, and it stands as a beautiful description of what love is. “Love is patient, love is kind, etc.” But think of it in a slightly different light. Here are verses four through seven, in the New International Version:

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Scripture tells us (I John 4) that God is Love. So we can (my wife, a mathematician, would call this transitivity) substitute “God” in these verses for “love.” Now this passage stands for the proposition that “God is patient, God is kind, etc.” And that gives us an incredible picture of who God is. Note especially verse 5: “God keeps no record of wrongs.” That is good news!

Now, one more wrinkle. We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We look like Him. Or we should. At least, we can. We are told to conform ourselves to the image of Christ. So I believe we have the capacity to be people who reflect the characteristics of God embodied in this passage (otherwise such a command would be cruel).

So now we can read, “I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, etc.” Or perhaps, “As God fills me and enables me by His Spirit, on an ongoing basis, I am working toward being patient, kind, not arrogant, not easily angered, etc.” I think we can aspire to be I Corinthians 13 people. And by the way, lawyers and others who work in the legal profession need a good dose of this. Make it your prayer, and your aspiration, to be able to substitute your name into the verses in I Corinthians 13:4-7.

~ Dean Doug Cook, Regent University School of Law

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