God is Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes what love is. God is love (1 John 4: 8, 16) so therefore this passage also describes God. These attributes describe the way God the Holy Spirit is when He is working in us. It explains how He acts towards us and towards others.

This mindmap lists the same 16 attributes of love as the first picture but in their original Greek. The original Greek does not always lend itself to a one word for word English translation. Sometimes there are nuances which need several English words to capture. These are listed at the end of the branches. For instance, the Greek word often translated as kind in our English translations carries nuances of mercy and love.

For the first 9 attributes I also give cross references to where the Greek words are used elsewhere in the New Testament. One of my favourite cross references is to Matthew 11:30. Jesus says that His yoke is kind. The impression one gets is that it doesn’t chafe.
The third attribute can be hard to translate. In the Greek it is ζηλοι from which we get the word “zeal”. Elsewhere in the New Testament this same Greek word is used in a positive sense but is often translated by a negative in this passage. The Holy Spirit is above all gentle when dealing with us. He doesn’t strive because He doesn’t have to. However, in the Scripture, we humans are told to strive. The same word is used by Paul just a chapter later when he exhorts people to strive/ desire earnestly to prophecy.

If you love to gaze upon the Lord as I do then these words carry deep emotional, spiritual and mental impacts with them (see Hebrews 4:12). Meditate on them and let the Holy Spirit breathe within you.


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