Here’s the 2nd “not”—love does not “boast” (v. 4, ESV). “Boast” here is from the root, perpereuomai, “be conceited, brag” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary, s. v. περπερευεται); “to praise oneself excessively” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. περπερευεται). It really means elevating one’s own excellence out of contempt for others. “This spirit proceeds from the idea of superiority over others; and is connected with a feeling of contempt or disregard for them.” (Barnes)
I grew up in Bacolod City, Neg. Occidental. The Ilonggos in Negros are known for their boasfulness. There is a saying there, “Ang kwarta sa Negros ginapala lang kag ginapiko. Pero ang utang gina bulldoze!” [The money in Negros is being shoveled, but the loans are being bulldozed!]
Paul used perpereuomai only once in his letters (known as a hapax legomena). Since it is used only once, we need to interpret it according to the context of his letter to the Corinthians. The Corinthian church was a problematic church. Some were bragging (silently) about their spiritual gifts. I can almost hear some of them saying, “I can prophesy, can you?” “I can speak in tongues. Therefore, I am more spiritual than others.” “I have the gifts of knowledge and understanding. Very few have my gifts.” Or how about this—“I am more spiritual and knowledgeable than you.”
Some were conceited about their credentials. They questioned Paul’s lack of apostolic credentials, not wanting to be taught by him. But Paul did not parade himself before them. Neither did not even require honorarium for his services. He also did not boast in his accomplishments. Love does not boast.
Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.
Disclaimer: I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due. If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention. Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.