OceanSide church of Christ

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Charity…Seeketh Not Her Own

Victor M. Eskew




A.   We have been studying the many components of love found in I Corinthians 13:4-8a.


B.   Today, we hit the “heart,” that is, the essence of love.      

1.    I Corinthians 13:5


…seeketh not her own…


2.    This is the dominate quality of love.  Love always seeks the best interest of another.

3.    “I believe this is the key to everything that we have or will study” (Jeremiah, 52).


C.   We will look at three sections in this study.

1.    The definition

2.    Biblical examples

3.    Application




A.   Strong (2212):  to seek (literally or figuratively)    :- to be about, desire, require, seek after


B.   Thayer:  to seek after, to seek for, aim, strive…to require, demand, crave.


C.   Barnes:  “Its evident meaning is that it is not selfish.”


D.   Parrott:  “Love is not self-seeking.”


E.   Jeremiah:  “Literally the phrase means to always be looking out for your own interests” (62).


F.   Translations:

1.    KJV:  seeketh not her own

2.    ASV:  seeketh not its own

3.    NKJV:  does not seek its own

4.    NASV:  it does not seek its own

5.    ESV:  it does not insist on its own way

6.    NIV:  it is not self-seeking

7.    RSV:  Love does not insist on its own way

8.    Phillips:  Does not pursue selfish advantage

9.    Message:  Isn’t always “me first”




A.   Jesus (Rom. 15:3)


For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.



B.   Timothy (Phil. 2:19-23)


But I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.  For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for you state.  For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.  But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with a father, he hath served with me in the gospel.  Him therefore I hope to send presently, as soon as I shall see how it goes with me.


C.   Esther (Esther 4:15-16)


Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day:  I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:  and if I perish, I perish.




A.   The Corinthian church desperately needed this trait.

1.    They took each other to law over the most trivial matters (I Cor. 6:7-8).

2.    They desired the best gifts for self-exaltation instead of edifying the church (I Cor. 14:12).


B.   Important point

1.    “The expression is not, however, to be pressed as if Paul meant to teach that a man should not regard his welfare at all; or have no respect for his health, his property, his happiness, or his salvation” (e-sword, Barnes).

2.    No one who is a Christian lives solely for himself.  No one can be a Christian who refuses to deny himself.

3.    This quality does not allow self to be the determining factor in every decision.  “The sense here is that a man under the influence of true love or religion does not make his happiness…the main or leading thing…” (e-sword, Barnes).

4.    We see this in the contrast between the priest, the Levite, and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:31-35).


C.   Parrott:  None “of us is a selfless saint, not by a long shot” (50).

1.    Time (Illustration)


Based on 168 hour week:


  Sleep – 56 hours (8 x 7)                         33.3%

  Work – 40 hours (8 x 5)                          23.8%

  Prep/Travel – 21 hours (3 x 7)                12.5%

  Free time – 21 hours (3 x 7)                             12.5%

  Church/Bible class – 4 hours                  2.3%


  This leave us with 26 hours                             15.4%


Where does this extra time go? 


2.    Money


D.   “When you deny selfishness in your life, you are thrust into a ministry to someone else” (Jeremiah, 64).


E.   There are many selfless individuals in our world.

1.    Mothers

2.    Out-of-sight workers in the church

3.    Leaders who do not seek position or power


F.   When we are truly not seeking our own, there will be no lack of funds, no lack of people, and no lack of prayer as we seek to take the gospel to the world.




A.   “If you ever cure selfishness, you have just replaced the Garden of Eden” (R.C.H. Lenski).


B.   Another way to describe this trait is to be self-forgetful.


C.   Romans 15:1-2; I Corinthians 10:24, 10:33, Philippians 2:4