Howard is an avid reader who likes helping others find interesting things to read.
This "poem" isn't actually a poem at all. It's a passage from the New Testament of the Bible, found at 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a. However, it can certainly be read and enjoyed as a poem.
Here it is from the New International Version:
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails."
Introduction to the "Love Is" Passage
1 Corinthians 13:1–3 provides a lead in to the passage. These verses say that love is more important than other more showy acts and qualities, and that without love these things are nothing.
Some of the things that love takes precedence over include:
- speaking in the tongues of men or angels,
- the gift of prophecy,
- the understanding of mysteries and all other knowledge,
- faith to move mountains,
- giving all your possessions to the poor, and
- suffering physical persecution for Christian beliefs.
Conclusion to the "Love Is" Passage
Verses 8b–13 explain why love is placed above everything else.
Verse 13 concludes the chapter by stating: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Verses 8b–12 tell us why love is superior to prophecy, tongues and knowledge. Those things are either temporary or incomplete.
Prophecy will eventually cease. Speaking in tongues was a temporary gift. Knowledge is incomplete or will pass away. However, love is perfect and enduring.
Going to verse 13, love is also greater than faith because certain facets of faith will end. When the prophecies have been fulfilled, faith in them will be unnecessary.
Similarly, love is greater than hope for the same reason. When the things Christians hope for become a reality, hope in this sense will also end.
Now we'll look at the passage verse by verse with a suggestion for a supporting or complementary reading.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 urges us to "be patient with everyone", among other things.
- Ephesians 4:32 says to "be kind and compassionate to one another."
- Galatians 5:26 warns against envy.
- Proverbs 18:12 promotes humility.
- 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to speak with respect.
- 1 Corinthians 10:24 is about behaving unselfishly.
- James 1:19 says to be "slow to become angry."
- Colossians 3:13 says to "forgive one another."
- Romans 12:9 says "hate what is evil."
- John 17:17 tells us what truth is.
- Romans 5:13 tells us we can "overflow with hope."
- James 1:4 is on the importance of perseverance.
- 1 John 4:7,8 reveals the origin of love and its importance.
Other Translations of "Love Is"
If you enjoy the "love is" passage or poem, there's good news. There are numerous Bible translations available on the internet. You can read all the different versions and compare them.
One of the lesser-seen versions might end up being your favorite.
Artchelle Arcillas from Philippines on September 22, 2019:
Great article! This verse has always been found in every couple Instagram captions. It is good that you made such a profound article about it, for everybody's new food for thought.