“Patience (makrothymia) is the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate.” (David K. Lowery, 1 Corinthians, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Cook Communication Ministries, 2000 in PC Study Bible V. 5, 1988-2007) Some of them have been wronged. Some have cheated other brethren. “No,” Paul wrote, “you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren” (1 Cor. 6:8, NKJV). The verb, “cheat” (NKJV) or “defraud” (ESV), is from apostereo, “rob, steal” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary, s. v. αποστερειτε); “to take something from someone by means of deception or trickery” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. αποστερειτε). It is possible that some members borrowed money from others and failed to pay it. By not paying the debt, they deceived their creditor, not delivering on their promise. It’s happening in many churches today.
Recently, I visited a friend of mine who owns vast tracks of land in Cebu. He shared with me how a swindler defrauded him of up to P10 million ($212,765). He trusted a friend who introduced him to a lady. That lady, who pretended to be a religious worker, got 10 million from him and never looked back.
But these Corinthian believers were defrauded, not by unbelievers, but by believers. The verb, “defraud,” is apostereite, in the present tense—meaning that they continued to be defrauded. It is plural—meaning that many of them were robbed by deception in church. However, the apostle taught them the excellent way of love in building up the body of Christ. This love is patient.
The word, “patient,” here is not a noun, but a verb in the present tense. Thus, love is patient continually and habitually.
Has somebody cheated you? Love waits patiently, leaving it up to the Lord to vindicate the wrong.
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