The act of charity

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8, NLT

This verse came in my email today. I like to see how other bible translations write verses because sometimes, the meaning gets a bit skewed and other times, it changes the meaning completely, so I looked this verse up in the NASB, NIV, ESV and KJV.

NASB, NIV, ESV all use the word “love,” but KJV uses the word “charity” instead of love.

(KJV) – And above all things, have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I found that interesting, so I looked up the word “charity” in the dictionary.

Charity – The voluntary giving of help to those in need.

Next, I looked up the word “charity” in the thesaurus to see what other words mean the same thing as charity. Love did not make the list of synonyms.

Charity is definitely an “action” word.

I’m not a bible scholar so I can’t really argue theologically with someone on this point, rather, it just made me think about this verse and what idea it is trying to convey.

I’m thinking the verse with the word “love” might be misused and over-used.

It doesn’t cost us anything to say “I love that,” “I love this,” or even “I love you.” Well, maybe some embarrassment if the feeling isn’t reciprocated, but generally, it requires no action of us to make those statements.

Love is an emotion, a feeling, a sensation, a reaction or a mood.

Don’t get me wrong. When we love someone, we are generous of our time and resources, but not always.

If the bible is our instruction manual, this verse says we’re to be charitable — offer aid or give to the needy.

Charity is the action of being generous, compassionate, and giving aid to those who are needy.

It’s also a much bigger commitment than to simply say “I love you.”
Charity means I’m willing to give of my time and resources to those who need it.

The adage, “actions speak louder than words,” would exemplify the KJV translation of this verse.

Hmmm.

Am I being charitable? Do I use the word “love” without backing it up with the work of “charity?”
This is a lot for me to think about as I head into the weekend.

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