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Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly

Victor M. Eskew




A.   When we think of love, we think of something very positive.


B.   It is not surprising; therefore, that love seeks to eliminate the negatives and seeks to emphasize the positives.

1.    Positive:  charity suffereth long

2.    Negative:  charity envieth not


C.   There are numerous negatives that must be eliminated from love.  Today, we will examine another one of the negatives (I Cor. 13:5).


Charity…doth not behave itself unseemly.


D.   We will continue to do three things in this lesson.

1.    We will define the concept.

2.    We will look at Biblical examples of this aspect of love.

3.    We will try to make some practical applications of this quality of love.




A.   Strong (807); 

1.    From (809):  shapeless, that is, (figuratively) inelegant

2.    To be (that is, act) unbecoming


B.   Thayer:  to act unbecoming


C.   Barnes:  “It means to conduct improperly, or disgracefully, or in a manner to deserve reproach” (e-sword).


D.   Scroggie:  “Love is not disorderly, or eccentric, or indecorous; it is never lacking propriety or politeness” (p. 26).


E.   Love is not rude (Parrott, 44)

1.    Discourteous or impolite

2.    Rough in manners or behavior

3.    Rough, harsh, ungentle


F.   Love has good manners (Jeremiah, 56).

1.    Other words:  polite, courteous, gracious, refined, cultured, well-bred

a.    Ecclesiastes 10:12


The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.


b.    I Peter 3:8


Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.


2.    Berkeley:  Love is not unmannerly.

3.    Barclay:  Love does not behave gracelessly.


G.   Versions:

1.    KJV:  Doth not behave itself unseemly

2.    ASV:  Doth not behave itself unseemly

3.    NKJV:  Does not behave rudely

4.    NASV:  Love does not act unbecomingly

5.    ESV:  Or rude

6.    NIV:  It does not dishonor others

7.    Phillips:  Love has good manners

8.    NLT:  Or rude

9.    Message:  Love does not force itself on others




A.   Jesus

1.    This is not a shock to us because “God is love” and Jesus is God (John 1:1).

2.    He spoke “gracious” words (Luke 4:22).


And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.


3.    During the crucifixion, He was not rude or vile (I Pet. 2:23).


Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.


4.    Jesus always knocks before entry.  He does not barge in (Rev. 3:20).


Behold, I stand at the door and knock:  if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


B.   David would not behave unseemly with King Saul (I Sam. 24).

1.    I Samuel 24:6-7a


And he said unto his men, the Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.  So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul.


2.    I Samuel 24:8a


David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king.




A.   “There is so much awkward piety, so much blundering goodness, so much unattractive sanctity, so much unlovely religion” (Scroggie, 27).


B.   Manners are meant to reduce the friction of human interaction.

1.    When two people come together, regardless of the relationship, two selfish souls with different backgrounds and different ideologies collide.

2.    Manners enable those two people to make contact without problems or ill-feelings.

3.    Words that show manners.

a.    Pardon me

b.    Thank you

c.    Please

d.    Excuse me

e.    I would prefer if

f.     Do you mind?

g.    I’m sorry

h.   What can I do for you?

i.     I would suggest/I recommend

j.     May I have permission to…?

k.    Welcome…

4.    Note:  We live in a world today with definitions, but we are told that any application is subjective.

a.    We can definite respect and modesty, but there is no way to apply it, we are told.  Application is said to be subjective.

b.    The same is true of manners.

c.    Question:  Who is it that determines that manners are seemly and what manners are not seemly? (Ex., Yes ma’am and Yes sir are now taboo).


C.   “Courtesy is just love in the little things” (Scroggie, 27).


D.   Love does away with rudeness.

1.    Definition:  discourteous, rough

2.    Rudeness Test

a.    Timing is poor

b.    Our tones are harsh

c.    Our agenda is selfish

d.    Our body language is angry

e.    Our actions involve such things as:  interrupting, cursing, threats, name-calling., belittling, the silent treatment, failing to look another in the eye, and yelling or screaming.

3.    “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength” (Eric Hoffer).

4.    Rudeness can be demonstrated in the church.

a.    We see it in the church at Corinth.

1)    The Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:21, some background is needed).


For in eating every one taketh before the other his own supper:  and one is hungry, and the other is drunken.


2)    The use of spiritual gifts in the assembly (I Cor. 14).

b.    Preaching (Eph. 4:15; II Tim. 2:22-24; I Pet. 3:15).

c.    Business meetings, elder’s meetings, conversations involving disagree-ments, Bible classes, and even joking among Christians.

5.    “The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly” (Kahlil Gibron).

6.    Rudeness can come back to bite you.


A waitress brought a man a cup of coffee and a smashed doughnut.

The customer asked:  “Why is my doughnut smashed?”  The waitress

said:  “I brought it just as you ordered.  You said, ‘Bring me a cup

of coffee and a doughnut and step on it.’”




E.   Unseemly actions in marriage, especially when handling conflict

1.    There two extremes:

a.    Calmness and quiet…going out of the way to smooth over differences or ignore them altogether.

b.    Anything sets one of the mates off…He/she lambastes their partner without restraint.

2.    NOTE:  “It is an unmannerly, discourteous, and aggressive style guaranteed to be lethal to love” (Parrott, 43).




A.   When there are unseemly behaviors in our relationships, there is no love and no self-restraint.


B.   When there is courtesy, politeness, and graciousness in our relationships, there is the practice of love.