Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs: What Does 1 Corinthians 13:5 Mean?

1 Corinthians 13:5 reads, “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 Corinthians 13:5
ESVor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
NASBor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
NIVIt does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
NLTor rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

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Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

13:4-7 Some of the effects of charity are stated, that we may know whether we have this grace; and that if we have not, we may not rest till we have it. This love is a clear proof of regeneration, and is a touchstone of our professed faith in Christ.

In this beautiful description of the nature and effects of love, it is meant to show the Corinthians that their conduct had, in many respects, been a contrast to it. Charity is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure.

Not that charity destroys all regard to ourselves, or that the charitable man should neglect himself and all his interests. But charity never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or to neglect others. It ever prefers the welfare of others to its private advantage.

How good-natured and amiable is Christian charity! How excellent would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more under this Divine principle, and paid due regard to the command on which its blessed Author laid the chief stress!

Let us ask whether this Divine love dwells in our hearts. Has this principle guided us into becoming behaviour to all men? Are we willing to lay aside selfish objects and aims? Here is a call to watchfulness, diligence, and prayer.

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1 Corinthians 13:5 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

not … unseemly—is not uncourteous, or inattentive to civility and propriety.
thinketh no evil—imputeth not evil [Alford]; literally, “the evil” which actually is there (Pr 10:12; 1Pe 4:8).

Love makes allowances for the falls of others, and is ready to put on them a charitable construction. Love, so far from devising evil against another, excuses “the evil” which another inflicts on her [Estius]; doth not meditate upon evil inflicted by another [Bengel]; and in doubtful cases, takes the more charitable view [Grotius].

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Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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