Love Does Not Boast

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.


Defining Boasting

The word “boast” means “to talk with conceit.”[1] It comes from the Greek word meaning “windbag” – someone who has hot air coming from their mouth. It is the person who just can’t help but talk about themselves – verbalizing pride. Boasting is parading yourself in front of others. It results in making others feel inferior or annoyed by your ego.

Illustrating Boasting

Someone who is boastful could be in a conversation listening and then interrupt them to tell them at some point about how they had a better performance than them or simply interject something about themselves. Boasting is the other side of envy: it tries to make others jealous for what we have. It builds up while jealousy tears down. Gordon Fee writes in his commentary,

“It is not possible to ‘boast’ and love at the same time. The one action wants others to think highly of oneself, whether deserving or not; the other cares for none of that, but only for the good of the community as a whole.”[2]

Boasting is a spiritual show-off; C.S. Lewis calls this the utmost evil.

A Biblical Example of Boasting

The Corinthians were guilty of boasting. They were engaged in self-edification (I Cor 12:7) and we know that when they gathered together, it was a chaotic service filled one person trying to “top” the other person with their hymn or lesson or tongue or revelation (I Cor 14:26). John MacArthur tells us that

“The Corinthian believers were spiritual show-offs, constantly vying for public attention. They clamored for the most prestigious offices and the most glamorous gifts. They all wanted to talk at once, especially when speaking ecstatically. Most of their tongues-speaking was counterfeit, but their bragging about it was genuine. They cared for nothing for harmony, order, fellowship, edification, or anything else worthwhile.”[3]

A Biblical Example of Not Boasting

On the flip side, Christ wasn’t filled with self-glory and self-flattery. Consider the multiple times Jesus referred to the Father’s authority (John 12:49) or not His own will (Luke 22:42) Jesus was not a boaster.



[1] The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, pg. 380

[2] The First Epistle to the Corinthians, pg. 638

[3] 1 Corinthians, pg. 342


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