Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Imperative!


1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. (New American Standard Bible)

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. (New International Version)


Considering these blog postings were part of a 30 day “love dare” it seemed fitting to focus on 1 Cor. 16:14 today. J However, I also wanted to take a look at the preceding verse.

One of the things that stands out to me as I read scripture, and particularly when reading in Greek, is when the writer or speaker in the text communicates a command. In linguistics that’s called an “imperative”. I like that word “imperative” particularly as it relates to scripture, because it means that it is imperative that you do what is being commanded!

In verse 13 we have four commands:

  1. The first command here is from the Greek word, grÄ“goreo, which you might think would be where we get the word “gregarious” from, but you’d be wrong. J It’s where we get the name Gregory from. It literally means “be watchful”, or simply “Watch!” I think the New American Standard Bible (NASB) captures this a little better than the New International Version (NIV), which comes off more like “watch out”.
  2. The second command here is “stand in the faith!” Do it!
  3. The third is captured well in the NASB again – “be manly!”
  4. The fourth is actually not captured well by either translation. It’s more like “be strengthened”, or “become strong”.

So Paul is saying something like:

Keep your eyes open! Stand in the faith! Be manly! Get stronger!

But he follows in verse 14 with (loosely translated):

Let everything of you be in love! (again an imperative)

Not easy to translate – there is no “doing” verb in this verse in the Greek text. The Greek perhaps implies not just doing, but all we experience in being, existing, experiencing, reacting, feeling, responding, *and* doing.


Two very short verses, with very far reaching application.

As a believer I need to:

  • be awake and alive to what is going on around me
  • remain firmly rooted in my faith
  • be brave and courageous in applying my faith
  • become stronger so that I am less liable to be distracted by temptation or discouraged by trials
  • let my entire life be permeated, saturated, and overflowing with love.


O God, Glorify Yourself in me, Not for my will, but Yours I plea.

O God, Transform my life anew, draw me ever more to You.

In all I want, in all I dream, in all I think, in all I say, in all I do - Give me your love and strength anew.


  1. Paul,
    thank you for this! I have been sick alot this winter and sleeping much (figuratively & literally). I feel especially challenged by the first & fifth parts of the application.

  2. Thanks Paul,
    I picked just one verse of the two you had.

    1 Cor 16:14 Do everything in love.

    Whoa. . . what a revolutionary verse. . . Lord help me to try to do this today.
    My work in love, ministry to others in love, interacting with my wife and children in love, coaching in love, correcting in love!

    Lord cleanse my heart and mind from the sin that clouds so much. Help me to practice this TODAY!
    Help me to heed your revolutionary call.

  3. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

    I heard this song today, and it made me think more about what it means to love as a Christian:
    Hold Us Together by Matt Maher

  4. Thanks Paul.
    I also focused on these two verses and titled my SOAP "Not For Wimps". The picture I got as I meditated on these was of a soldier in full armor, ready for battle, but carrying a wounded fellow soldier to safety. A better picture might be the statue in front of the Redmond Fire Station on 85th of a fireman in full gear reaching down to lift someone up to safety. Loving with Christ's love requires that kind of gentle toughness. I pray I am that kind of man in all my dealings today.