Love Does Not Boast

One of the primary features, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, that reveals the force and nature of love is the sentiment that love does not boast. The meaning of this expression is multifaceted. The Greek term - variously rendered as boastful, vaunted, vainglorious, conceited, and braggart – appears nowhere else in the Bible and is also rare in ancient literature. There are several explanations regarding the significance of this important principle. Each sheds much light on the role of love in the Christian life and, by extension, the spirit of love in marriage.

Perhaps the most obvious explanation of the idea that love does not boast is the understanding that those who truly reflect biblical love do not think too highly of themselves. They do not have an inflated sense of importance or consider themselves to be superior to others. They are neither conceited nor arrogant.

Boastful, conceited, vainglorious people display a contempt, disregard, and scornfulness towards others. By contrast, those who choose biblical love treat others with concern, respect, and positive regard. Indeed, they esteem others better than themselves (Phi. 2:3).

The boastful are typically not useful or beneficial to others. Their focus is on verbally extolling their own perceived virtues and abilities rather than utilizing them to help others. They are both tumultuous and hypocritical. In other words, they talk the talk but fail to walk the walk.

Also implicit in this notion is that those who are boastful or vainglorious act rashly, insolently, capriciously and inconstantly. In other words they are often moody, fickle, erratic, and unpredictable. Because the braggart is loyal only to himself, one never knows what to expect from this type of person.

Regarding your marriage and relationship with your spouse, there are many insightful lessons inherent in the principle that love does not boast.

First, inflated egos and feelings of superiority have no place in the Christian marriage. Your ideas, expectations, and ways of doing things are not better or more correct than those of your spouse. Your feelings and needs are not more important than your partner’s. Embracing biblical love should prompt you to prefer your mate and esteem him/her more than yourself.

Second, biblical love dictates that you treat your spouse with respect and positive regard. In so doing couples honor one another and honor God. Dismissing or disregarding the thoughts, ideas, feelings, needs, and so forth of your partner is in direct contrast to this principle.

Third, your love for your spouse should not be only talk. There should be action. Biblical love does not boast in knowing what is right, it finds fulfillment in doing right. In marriage this means being helpful to your partner and consistently performing and living those principles that make for a strong and healthy marriage.

Finally, biblical love should compel you to be steadfast, loyal, trustworthy, and constant. Your spouse should be able to depend on you and count on your unwavering support. Moody, fickle, and unpredictable behaviors and attitudes are not acceptable characteristics in a Christian marriage.

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