Thursday 30 June 2016

Makrothymia in 1 Cor 13, 4a

Bishop Morfino commented abundantly on 1 Cor 4a, usually translated as "Love is patient, kind." The Greek has MAKROTHYMEI and CHRESTEUETAI. Makrothymei, according to Morfino, is the Septuagint translation of HESED. There is not much indication on the net of this connection - perhaps because the Septuagint is usually ignored, given the long tradition, deriving from the Protestant concentration on the Hebrew text. But the NT seems to be going back to the Septuagint. Here is something from lectionary.org. (By Richard Niell Donovan, who is a homilist rather than a biblical scholar, see http://www.lectionary.org/AboutUs.htm)

From http://www.lectionary.org/EXEG_Engl_WEB/NT/07-1Cor-WEB/1.Cor.13.01-13.exegesis.htm
"Love is patient" (makrothymei) (v. 4a). The Greek word makrothymei is derived from two words––macros (long) and thumos (anger). To be makrothymei is to be long-suffering––to endure irritants without allowing one's anger to lash out in retaliation.
This kind of patience is characteristic of God, who is "merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving (Hebrew: hesed) kindness and truth" (Exodus 34:6). This hesed love grows out of Yahweh's commitment to the covenant relationship with Israel. In many cases, Yahweh punished Israel for its sins––but always as discipline designed to foster repentance rather than as punishment designed to destroy. Yahweh kept coming back––kept finding ways to restore Israel––kept loving.
Now God calls us to that same kind of long-suffering love for each other.
"and is kind" (chresteuetai) (v. 4b). The word chresteuetai, like agape, is an action-word. It suggests being helpful––doing good works. The patience of verse 4a involves restraint––holding back negative action. The kindness of verse 4b involves action––stepping forward to solve a problem or to share a burden or to meet a need.

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