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Charity…Envieth Not

Victor M. Eskew




A.     In Paul’s description of love in I Corinthians 13, there are sixteen qualities listed.


B.     Some are positive, telling us what love does.

1.       Charity suffereth long.

2.       Charity is kind.


C.     Some are negative, telling us what love does not do.

1.       In today’s lesson, we have our first negative.

2.       Charity…envieth not.

3.       The Bible describes envy as a very evil practice.

a.       Proverbs 27:4


Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?


b.      James tells us that envy is demonic (James 3:14-15).


But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.


4.       Bacon has called envy “the vilest affection and the most depraved” (as quoted by Scroggie, 28).




A.     Strong (2206):  to have warmth of feeling for or against


B.     Thayer:  to burn with zeal, to be heated or boil with envy, hatred, anger


C.     Vine:  denotes to be zealous, moved with jealousy


D.    Barnes: “To feel uneasiness, mortification, or discontent at the sight or superior happiness, excellence or reputation enjoyed by another, to repine at another’s prosperity; and to fret one’s self on account of his real or fancied superiority” (e-sword, Barnes).


E.      Envy strikes at what someone is or at what someone has.  “Envy is not just wanting what a person has; envy is wanting the other person not to have it” (Parrott, 29).


F.      Various translations:

1.       Charity envieth not (KJV).

2.       Love envieth not (ASV).

3.       Love does not envy (NKJV).

4.       Love is not jealous (NASV).

5.       Love does not envy (ESV).

6.       It does not envy (NIV).

7.       It is not possessive (Phillips).

8.       Love does not want what it doesn’t have (Message).


G.     Question:  Do you think that God is ever disgusted, upset, or angry at the good fortune of another person?  Love (God) envieth not.





A.     Jonathan did not envy David.

1.       Jonathan was Saul’s son and was in line to receive the throne of Israel (I Sam. 13:6).

2.       When David gained the victory over Goliath, Jonathan exhibited no envy.  In fact, he befriended David and showed him great honor (I Sam. 18:1, 3-4)


And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knot with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.  And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to this sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.


3.       Jonathan was not envious of David, even when he knew that David would be the next king (I Sam. 23:16-18).


And Jonathan, Saul’s son arose, and went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.  And he said unto him, Fear not:  for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.  And the two made a covenant before the Lord:  and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.


B.     John the Baptist was never envious of Jesus.

1.       He always denied that he was the Messiah (John 1:19-20).


And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.


2.       When all men were coming to the baptism of Jesus, and John was asked about it, he said:  He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

3.       When Jesus came to John to be baptized, he admitted his need (Matt. 3:14).


But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?




A.     Aristotle said:  Envy is “the sin against the brother.”

1.       This means that envy is felt keenly by two people who are closely related.

2.       One put it this way:  “Envy travels in circles.”

a.       Affluent circles

b.      Power circles:  Saul envied David (I Sam. 18:8)

c.       Performing circles

d.      Professional circles:  The Jews envied Jesus (Matt. 27:18)

e.       Family circles:  Joseph’s brothers envied Joseph (Acts 7:9) and Miriam and Aaron envied Moses (Ps. 106:16).

f.        Church circles:  the church at Corinth over spiritual gifts


B.     Some questions you can ask to test for envy

1.       Do you work extremely hard to come out looking good?

2.       Do you examine others with a critical eye?

3.       Do you have hidden feelings of inferiority?

4.       To you complain about not getting fair treatment?

5.       Do you have an insatiable desire for success?

6.       To you need a lot of recognition for your achievements?

7.       Do you tend to be status conscious?

8.       Do you find it hard to pay compliments to others?

9.       Do you keep score of your good deeds and those of others?

10.   Are you willing to pass along negative comments about a successful person?

11.   Do you put on a false front in order to appear impressive?

12.   Do you base your self-image on your performance?

(Mind Over Emotions, Les Carter, as found at https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-envy-green-eyed -tyrant)


C.     The practice of “envying not” involves at least two things:

1.       Rejoicing with them that rejoice (Rom. 12:15).

a.       Rejoice when another person gets a promotion.

b.      Rejoice at the successes of another’s child.

c.       Rejoice when someone receives great wealth.

d.      Rejoice when an individual is given great advantage or great ability.

2.       Be content with such things as you have (Heb. 13:5).

a.       “But love does not envy, because it is content, and is content because its heart is set not on earthly gifts and gains…” (The Love Life, W. Graham Scroggie, 25).

b.      Contentment says:  “What I have is enough.  I do not need that which is another’s, and I do not have to desire that what another has is taken from him in order for me to be happy.”




A.     “If you allow that (envy) in your life, you are living every day with a spirit that crucified our Lord” (Jeremiah, 34).


B.     Proverbs 14:30; Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:19-21; Titus 3:3