CONTEXT: Paul closes Chapter 12 by saying in effect Spiritual gifts are great and all but there is something much more valuable than that. Here in Chapter 13, we find out he is referring to Love. Not the ordinary love tossed about by folks who think they “love each other” but the deep Spiritual Love brought upon us by right fellowship with the Triune God.
Matthew Henry breaks it down as follows: In this chapter, the apostle goes on to show more particularly what that more excellent way was of which he had just before been speaking. He recommends it, I. By showing the necessity and importance of it (v. 1-3). II. By giving a description of its properties and fruits (v. 4-7). III. By showing how much it excels the best of gifts and other graces, by its continuance, when they shall be no longer in being, or of any use (v. 8 to the end).
Our text for today verse 4, is one you may hear in a sermon but little else is usually spoken of it. It contains an important doctrine of true Agape Love, that of selfless humility. In the picture above the phrase: vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, is used to describe it, the ESV reads, does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant while the NASB renders it as; love does not brag, it is not arrogant.
No matter the translation the implication is clear, reading verse 4 we see charity or Agape Love, is not jealous or boastful or proud (NLT). Many folks seem to need reassurance that they are doing good works ( a job well done) feeding their egos. When they can’t get it from others, (which is biblical) they will proclaim their own good works (unbiblical). I have even been told Galatians 6:4 is the scripture text that allows this, NOT! Galatians 6 is about the restoration of fellow believers not about individual pride.
Remember selfless humility is what God seeks in His elect, Proverbs 27:2.
Understanding Who Christ Is
“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2)