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I Corinthians 13:  A STUDY OF LOVE (2)


Charity Suffereth Long

Victor M. Eskew




A.   In this study, we will begin to look at the first quality of love revealed in I Corinthians 13:4.


Charity suffereth long…


B.   Let’s look at a few statements by way of introduction and reminder.

1.    “Paul now proceeds to illustrate the “nature” of love, or to show how it is exemplified. His illustrations are all drawn from its effect in regulating our conduct toward others, or our contact with them. The “reason” why he made use of this illustration, rather than its nature as evinced toward “God,” was, probably, because it was especially necessary for them to understand in what way it should be manifested toward each other. There were contentions and strifes among them; there were of course suspicions, and jealousies, and heart-burnings; there would be unkind judging, the imputation of improper motives, and selfishness; there were envy, and pride, and boasting, all of which were inconsistent with love; and Paul therefore evidently designed to correct these evils, and to produce a different state of things by showing them what would be produced by the exercise of love” (e-sword, Barnes).

2.    “Here love is given to us as you would see colors through a prism, all the variegated colors of love are separated out so that your see the various qualities” (The Power of Love, David Jeremiah, p. 20).

3.    But the passage is not a fantasy of what might be nice.  It is a serious essay on how love can be lived.  Love is patient.  It is not jealous, does not get angry quickly.  These are qualities ordinary people can cultivate to build extraordinary relationships” (Love Is…, Les and Leslie Parrott, p. 10).


C.   In this lesson, we will do three things:

1.    Define this quality

2.    Look at some Bible examples of this quality

3.    Make application of this quality to our lives




A.   Various versions

1.    Charity suffereth long (KJV)

2.    Love suffereth long (ASV)

3.    Love suffers long (NKJV)

4.    Love is patient (ESV, NASV, NIV)

5.    Love never gives up (The Message)


B.   Strong (3116):  to be long spirited, that is…forbearing or…patient

1.    The word occurs 10 times in the KJV.

2.    It is translated as:  bear (suffer) long, be longsuffering, have (long) patience, be patient, patiently endure


C.   Thayer

1.    To be of a long spirit, not to lose heart

2.    To persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles

3.    To be patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others

4.    To be mild and slow in avenging

5.    To be long suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish


D.   It come from two words in the Greek language:

1.    Makros:  long

2.    Thumos:  passion


E.   Barnes:  “It is opposed to haste, to passionate expressions of thought and to irritability” (e-sword, Barnes).


F.   Clarke:  “…not merely for a time, but long, without end” (e-sword, Clarke).


G.   Vincent:  “…a long-protracted restraint of the soul from yielding to passion, especially the passion of anger


H.   Definition illustrated:  watching a person trying to thread a needle without his/her glasses




A.   God is referred to as “the God of patience” (Rom. 15:5).  Since “God is love” (I John 4:16), it is not surprising to find that He has all of the qualities of love.


Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Jesus Christ.


B.   God’s longsuffering has been demonstrated many times throughout history.

1.    In the days of Noah (I Pet. 3:20).


Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.


2.    God remains longsuffering with us today.

a.    II Peter 3:9


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


3.    II Peter 3:15


And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…




A.   Examples of impatience

1.    Honking at drives who frustrate us

2.    Cursing when little things happen

3.    Flying off the handle over insignificant matters

4.    Taking over another’s job

5.    Expressing hostilities openly for all to ear

6.    Rage expressed at referees at ballgames

7.    NOTE: Impatient people can be hard to live with.


B.   The enemies of longsuffering

1.    Instant gratification

2.    Selfishness:  “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end” – Margaret Thatcher

3.    Competitive spirit

4.    Comparisons, especially of self to others


C.   Longsuffering seen

1.    As a mother deals with a sick child, or, an infant that cannot be comforted

2.    A husband who remains calm when his wife is constantly running late

3.    A teacher for a student who is still learning

4.    Children as they learn to ride a bicycle

5.    Ministers as they wait for members to respond positively to sermons that are preached (See II Tim. 4:2).

6.    Waiting on others to make decisions that affect us either directly or indirectly.

7.    “Can your spouse count on having a patient wife or husband to deal with?  Can she know that locking her keys in the car will be met with calm understanding rather than a demeaning lecture that makes her feel childish?  Can he know that being found watching a football game won’t automatically invite a loud-mouthed laundry list of better ways he should be spending his time” (The Love Dare, Kendrick and Kendrick, p. 3).


D.   It is time to practice being longsuffering when we feel our mind and body wanting to “give way” to many things.

1.    Anger, discouragement, despair, pain, suffering, frustration, resentment, vengeance, insults, and rudeness.

2.    David’s dealings with Nabal.

a.    David’s impatience (I Sam. 25:12-13)


So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and come and told him all these sayings.  And David said unto his men, Gird ye one ever man his sword.  And they girded on every man his sword, and David also girded on his sword:  and there went up after David about four hundred men and two hundred abode by the stuff.


b.    David was glad Abigail came and caused him to refrain from the bloodshed he had intended (I Sam. 25:32-33).


And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:  and blessed be thy advice and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.




A.   A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains – Dutch proverb.


B.   Other verses exhort us to be longsuffering (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:2, Col. 1:11; 3:12).


Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.