η αγάπη μακροθυμεί (The love is lenient). This is the literal rendering of the beginning of 1st Corinthians 13 verse 4 in Paul’s “love” chapter to the Corinthians. I cannot tell you enough how much reading this affected me. Paul says in the first 3 verses that you can do all these great things but if you don’t have love (agape), it is all useless and pointless. Could you imagine dying and being burnt at the stake as a martyr for Jesus and not having love, it would’ve all been in vain. It makes you even wonder of the context when Jesus says depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you (Matthew 7). These Christians pleaded with Jesus about how much they have done for Him but essentially did not have the love of Christ in them. They never had that good fruit. Hence, He never knew them.
Unfortunately, I am guilty of this and can only blame myself for this. This is why this scripture really spoke to me. The KJV tells us “charity suffereth long” and the Geneva actually uses the word love. But do these 2 translations represent what Paul was really wanting to put across to us? I would say the literal reading of the Greek speaks volumes. And I’m not just talking about this one line, but the entire chapter. This word for long suffering or suffereth long is makrothumeó.
It is translated as lenient in the Apostolic Polyglot and comes from two Greek words, makros and thumos. Makros means long, far off or distant and is used in the Gospels for those who have those long winded prayers. Thumos is translated in English as wrath. If you are familiar with my blog than you know of the studies I have done on the 2 wraths mentioned in the Bible. There is thumos and orge.
Most well meaning Christians will argue that the wrath that we are not appointed too mentioned in 1st Thessalonians 5:9 is the wrath that is used for the bowls of judgement in Revelation. This is untrue. This wrath is orge and is associated with sin. This is why Paul goes on to say what we need in place of this orge wrath. We have the opportunity to not be appointed to this wrath because of the opportunity to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
Why do I say all of this? Because this is NOT the wrath (orge) used in Revelation when God pours out His bowls of judgement of wrath (thumos) on the earth dwellers. We are not appointed to suffer for our sins since Adam because Jesus took that specific cup of wrath to the cross for us. This is why I love the use of this word lenient in the Greek here. Lenient means mild or a tolerant dispostion and this is how we can get merciful out of long suffering.
Remember that this word makrothumeó comes from makro and thumos (wrath). We are to have this sort of leniency toward others when we have THE LOVE of Christ in us. This is why living one another is so important. It is so important that Jesus tells us in John 15:12-13. “ This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We are not to execute judgement on others but are called to love them. Judgment and wrath belongs to Him alone. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. “The love is lenient“. If we do not have a kind of love that is lenient, we have nothing. I believe this is why the Holy Spirit had Paul start this love diatribe with this particular word. This love of Jesus is not vengeful and it is not full of wrath. Neither should we be. I still have a lot to learn and if I don’t have love towards others, I am nothing.
This is from HELPWord Studies to better understand this word thumos. “thymós (from thyō, “rush along, getting heated up, breathing violently,” cf. J. Thayer) – properly, passion-driven behavior, i.e. actions emerging out of strong impulses (intense emotion). When 2372 /thymós (“expressed passion”) is used of people it indicates rage (personal venting of anger, worth). This flaw is completely absent of the Lord expressing (inspiring) intense anger. Accordingly, 2372 (thymós) is used of God’s perfect, holy wrath in Revelation (Rev 14:10,19,15:1, etc.). This anger is directed against sin with intense opposition and without sin.
[Only the Lord exercises righteous wrath, so we must depend solely on Him as we experience (express) anger.]”
More on these wraths: