TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  Loving Qualities

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Chapter 31  Part I

Loving Qualities

The importance of love could hardly be more emphatically stated by the Bible. Love should encompass every area of our lives and be the basis of all that we do in relating to people. Other personal qualities reflective of love are also regularly applicable in our relationships with other people (and are also discussed in this section).

Note that the teaching in this and the subsequent chapters in Part G. Relating to People is also relevant to the preceding part of this book, Part F. Church Life.

Love

See also:

What love is

1Cor 13:4-7  Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5It is not rude, it is not self–serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 6It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  NET

In v. 7, “believes all things, hopes all things” means that love: “…is ever ready to believe the best of every person” and that “its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances…” (AMP).

1Jn 3:16-18  This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for our brothers and sisters! 17Rich people who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God. 18My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.  GNT

Jesus Christ exemplified love for us (v. 16) and so we should emulate him by living sacrificially for others. As such, we should not merely love with words but with actions and sincerity (vv. 17-18).

The supremacy of love

Mark 12:28-33  Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32The expert in the law said to him, “That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him. 33And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  NET

1Cor 12:31b; 13:1-3, 13  [Paul:] And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison. 13:1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.  NET

Live a life of love . . .

2Jn 1:6b  As you have heard from the beginning, his [God’s] command is this: Live a life of love.  NCV™

Eph 5:2  Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God.  GW

. . . Do things in love

1Cor 16:14  Everything you do should be done in love.  NET

Love others as you love yourself . . .

Lev 19:18  Do not take revenge on anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.  GNT

. . . “Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up God’s law

Rom 13:8-10  Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  NET

The whole moral law – all that involves our relationships with other people – is summed up by the command to love others as we love ourselves. In doing so, we fulfill or carry out the law.

Love your enemies and do good to them

Luke 6:27-28, 31  [Jesus:] But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.31Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.  NET

 Questions for Section A

Generosity

Be generous

1Tim 6:18  [Paul, instructing Timothy what to teach believers:] Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others.  NET

Prov 21:26  All day long he [a lazy person] continues to crave, while the righteous one gives without holding back.  ISV

Lend to others

Deut 15:8  [Moses, to the Israelites:] Be generous to these poor people, and freely lend them as much as they need. Never be hard-hearted and tight-fisted with them.  GW

Share with others

Luke 3:11  John answered them, “The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.”  NET

Heb 13:16  And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.  NET

Practice hospitality

Rom 12:13  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  ESV

Heb 13:2  Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.  CEV

Generosity actually brings oneself great blessing

Luke 6:38  Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.  NET

Acts 20:35  [Paul to the Ephesian elders:] By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’  NET

 Questions for Section B

Mercy

Mercy involves such things as: not penalizing those subject to one’s judgment and retribution (due to things like wrongful action or debt); and doing more than one is bound to do in helping others. It is showing kindness beyond what is required of one or is otherwise considered fitting.

Show mercy

Zec 7:9b  You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another.  GNT

Luke 6:36  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  NET

Be merciful and God will show you mercy

Matt 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  NET

The final clause refers, primarily at least, to being shown mercy by God.

Be compassionate

Col 3:12  [Paul, to believers:] You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  GNT

Compassion is generally the emotion underlying mercy; it is expressed in merciful action.

Forgive others . . .

Luke 17:3-4  Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.  NET

Col 3:13  Get along with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.  NCV™

. . . Forgive and God will forgive you

Matt 6:14-15  If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.  CEV

Do not judge others . . .

James 4:12  But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge – the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor?  NET

We are not to judge others in a condemnatory manner, as if we were in some position of authority to do so; nor in a self-righteous sense, which is inevitably hypocritical. Note, however, that there are Bible verses instructing us to make judgments or choices regarding good and bad people or things.

. . . If you judge others, God will judge you accordingly

Matt 7:1-2  Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, 2for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.  GNT

We will all face God’s judgment but the above passage speaks of the same condemnatory standard of judgment being applied by God to those who exercise it themselves.

Note: Human judgment is typically superficial and inadequate, in contrast to God’s judgment

1Sam 16:6-7  When they arrived, Samuel noticed Eliab and said to himself, “Surely, here before the Lord stands his chosen king!” 7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  NET

 Questions for Section C

Gentleness

See also:

Be gentle

Phil 4:5a  Let everyone see your gentleness.  NET

1Pet 3:3-4  [Peter, addressing wives:] Your beauty should not be an external one, consisting of braided hair or the wearing of gold ornaments and dresses. 4Instead, it should be the inner disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great value in the sight of God.  ISV

Be patient

Eph 4:1-2  [Paul, to believers:] I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, …  NET

1Thes 5:14b  [Paul, to believers:] Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.  CEV

Be meek . . .

Matt 5:38-42  [Jesus:] You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.  NET

The concept of “meekness” involves an approach of non-retaliation and even non-resistance in the face of offences. It is characterized by humility and gentleness.

The command “do not resist the evildoer” (v. 39a) is given in respect to one’s own rights; it is not saying that we should not stand against an evil person on behalf of others. The illustrations that follow (vv. 39b-42) show that one should not retaliate and not insist on one’s rights. Some commentators view these as hyperbole, while others consider such a view to be watering down the extent of what is being taught.

. . . Do not take revenge, but instead wait for God to act

Rom 12:19  Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord.”  ISV

Prov 20:22  Don’t say, “I’ll pay you back for the wrong you did.” Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right.  NCV™

Seek peace, including peace with others . . .

Ps 34:14  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  ESV

Rom 12:18  Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.  GNT

. . . and seek peace amongst others

Prov 12:20  Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.  NET

Matt 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.  NET

People who “work for peace” (GNT, NLT, cf. NCV) will be deemed to be children of God because they show that they partake of his nature.

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians