SOAP Journal – 24 August 2016 (1 Peter 4:8)

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

This verse is somewhat self-contained and self-explanatory. It will not hurt my understanding to know that Peter has bracketed this verse with instructions for believers, but it may not help my understanding either.

Peter writes that this instruction is to be done above all, which tells me that anything else he has written is in second place to this. So, whatever other instruction I may read, this is of paramount importance.

What could be so important that Peter would tell me to do it above all other things? Keep fervent in your love for one another. To remain loving toward others is more important than anything else Peter has written, or so this verse implies. This makes sense, as Jesus said that the whole of The Law and The Prophets could be summed up in two commandments: (1) love God with all you are and (2) love your neighbor as yourself.

Peter then answers the question we might want to ask: Why is loving one another so important? Because love covers a multitude of sins. Looking up the words used in the original, I find that this might also be rendered unconditional love (ἀγάπην) covers and puts out of mind a large number of errors, mistakes, and times we just miss the mark. If I want unity in my church, then I should start with unconditionally loving my brothers and sisters in Christ. If I do, then that love will put out of mind a whole mess of mess and I will get along much better with my fellow believers.

God, The Bible tells me that You are this unconditional love that I am supposed to show my fellow believers. This and my own experience agree that I cannot love as I am instructed without You loving through me. Be free to love on my brothers and sisters in Your family through me. Please move aside anything in me that would hinder Your ability to love my brothers and sisters through me and help me to be mindful of ways that I can show Your love to my brethren.

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