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Agape Thinks No Evil

Whilst self-evident, this statement of the characteristic of agapē is so much more profound than we might dare to even imagine.  Take a moment to think where it is located.  The Apostle Paul’s choice of location in the progression is as significant as his choice of words to describe it

– Agapē keeps no records of wrong thinks no evil rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.

Such is the subtlety of the Apostle Paul’s point that I will try to unpack this statement expositionally, relying on the KJV with Strong’s Numbers version of the New Testament.

“[Love] doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil ….”

Let us take the phrase “thinketh no evil” word by word.  The word “thinketh” means “to reckon or count”.  It is perfectly legitimate to translate the word as “to take into account” and this reckoning is an inward weighing up; to deliberate or judge.  Then, the next word that the Apostle Paul used is “no”.  The meaning of “no” is “no”, i.e. it is an absolute negative; none, absolutely none!  So, when “evil” is added to the end of the phrase, we are about to make a statement which is simply unthinkable.  For “evil” here means “a bad nature”.  It describes a thing not being what it ought to be and a mode of thinking, feeling or acting which agapē will not take into account.  Thus, my own translation of this verse is –

The Anderson-Walsh Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:6a (based on the KJV with Strong’s Numbers)

Agapē reckons, counts, attributes, infers, judges and weighs (contrary to our expectation) absolutely no evil whatsoever; be it an evil nature, error, thought, feeling or even any action or behaviour, be it base, wrong, wicked, troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive or baneful.  Agapē reckons it not.

 

Q: How do you feel and what difference would it make to your daily walk if you accept as a fact that He sees no evil in you?

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