Love towards believers

Love in general is often quoted from Paul’s first letter to Corinthians which has a list of 15 attributes. Is this love referred towards all? Or is this love directed only towards believers?

(1Cor 13:4-8) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether [there are] prophecies, they will fail; whether [there are] tongues, they will cease; whether [there is] knowledge, it will vanish away.

The chapter is a continuation and explanation of gifts of the Holy Spirit which is for believers and addressed to believers. While many attributes can look as though it is for all not all are. Without going deeper into every single attribute of love, let me take a few in order to show why these verses in the chapter refer only to believers.

Bears all things

(Rev 2:2) “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;

A true believer of Christ will not bear those who are evil.

Believes all things

(1John 4:1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A true believer of Christ will not believe in every spirit.
Hence, the love mentioned in 1 Cor 13 is addressed for believers to show love within believers. Beware! Never again use these passages regarding love towards unbelievers or sinners.
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