Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind: Biblical Meaning


For Christians, our standards and definition of love are from the wise pages of the bible. We’ve probably heard the ‘love is patient, love is kind’ saying so many times that we’ve become overly familiar with the words. As a result, we just trivialize them and fail to see their deeper meaning or the need to practice that kind of love. But where does this saying come from? What does it mean? What kind of love is this perfect? And how can we possibly love others that way?

Who Said “Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind”?

This saying takes its root in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It says,

“4. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5. or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6. it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

What Is The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13?

1 Corinthians 13 is a Pauline description of what true love should look like. The kind of love described here is agape love.

This is the perfect love God displayed when He sent His only Son to be sacrificed for our sins so that by believing in Him, we may have eternal life (John 3:16). He loved us so much, even when we didn’t feel the same and He sent Jesus anyway. 

And Jesus Christ, also sharing His Father’s love for us, agreed to live and die according to God’s will, despite the intensity of the emotional and physical pain He knew He would pass through.

In John 13:35 when Jesus instructs us to also love one another as He has loved us, He used the word ‘agape’ to refer to this same perfect love. 

According to Paul,

  • Agape love is patient and kind to people.
  • It is selfless, humble, and modest. It never puts others down.
  • It is tolerant of people’s excesses and never harbors resentment.
  • It is polite to others, honest, and truthful.
  • It does not like evil but stands for righteousness.
  • It has faith in people, never considers others to be lost causes, and is ready to be patient with them and endure all hardships until they come round.
  • It is the greatest command God gave to us, to love others.

What Does It Mean To Say Love Is Patient?

It simply means that love is ready to bear people’s wrongdoings without getting offended or trying to take revenge. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is the embodiment of patient love. He never gives up on us, no matter how many times we wrong Him but is always willing to forgive us when we ask for mercy. He is slow to anger and punishment. 

Likewise, we must tolerate people’s offenses toward us. Not ignore the offense, but tolerate and address it the way Godrelates with us.

What Does It Mean To Say Love Is Kind?

Kindness is simply treating others with respect and goodness, especially those who have been maltreated by the world. It never matters if they’re the best or the worst, kindness is giving everyone fair treatment.

Love is kind means that when we love someone, we are friendly, generous, and considerate towards them and their feelings.

We speak to them in a kind and accommodating manner. If the need for rebuke arises, kind love does it gently.

What Are The 4 Types of Love In The Bible?

Throughout Scripture, we can see four types of love on display. There are;

  • Eros love

This is sexual or romantic love. This type of love was intended by God to exist between husband and wife so that they can be intimate with each other and procreate. We can find it in Songs of Solomon 1:2 between the Shulamite bride and the King. This type of love is not impure on its own, but without restraint, it can quickly lead to the sin of sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). 

This type of love can also be corrupted by selfishness and is not God’s ideal type of love to show to other people.

  • Storge love

This is the type of love that exists between family members. This bond seeks to protect, endure hardships and be loyal. We can see this type of love between Martha and Mary for their brother Lazarus in John 11:1.

  • Phileo love

This type of love is very similar to storge, but exists between non-family members. This is the love that exists between close friends.

In the Bible, we can see it displayed between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1-4. When Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus in John 11:34-35, the word phileo is used to describe the love he had for him in verse 36 when someone said, “See how He loved him!”

  • Agape love

This is the God-kind of love, the nature of God. (1 John 4:8). It is the 1 Corinthians 13 love that is patient and kind. Agape loves even if it is not reciprocated. It is everlasting, sacrificial, and selfless. It is this love that through the Holy Spirit, we must strive to show to all men that they may know that we are Christ’s disciples.

Final Thoughts

We are called to love. We have heard that God’s love is patient, and love is kind, and so we must take every opportunity to show this kind and patient love towards others and watch them draw closer to God. Not just for their sakes, but ourselves as well. After all, 1 John 4:12 tells us that it is through love that we allow God to abide in us. 

As a result of our human weaknesses, loving others with agape love may sometimes seem like climbing Mount Everest barefooted and without oxygen; impossible. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, it is actually impossible. It is He who strengthens us and gradually transforms us to that loving nature of God. Never forget to ask Him to help you in your love walk and watch Him lead you by the hand.