Commentators A-L
Thomas Aquinas:  A person endures the evils of his neighbor to the extent that it is fitting. In regard to this he says: love bears all things, i.e., without disquiet it tolerates all the shortcomings of the neighbor of any adversity whatever: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak” (Rom 15:1); “Carry one another’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ,” namely, charity (Gal 6:2).

William Barclay:  Love can endure anything. It is just possible that this may mean "love can cover anything," in the sense that love will never drag into the light of day the faults of others and the mistakes of others. It would far rather set about quietly mending things than publicly displaying and rebuking them. More likely it means that love can bear any insult, any injury, any disappointment. It describes the kind of love that was in the heart of Jesus Himself,

Thy foes might hate, despise, revile,
Thy friends unfaithful prove;
Unwearied in forgiveness still,
Thy heart could only love.

Barnes & Murphy  Beareth all things. Doddridge renders this, "covers all things." The word here used (stegei) properly means, to cover, (from stege-, a covering, roof; Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:6;) and then to hide, conceal, not to make known. If this be the sense here, then it means that love is disposed to hide or conceal the faults and imperfections of others; not to promulgate or blazon them abroad, or to give any undue publicity to them. Benevolence to the individual or to the public would require that these faults and errors should be concealed. If this is the sense, then it accords nearly with what is said in the previous verse. The word may also mean, to forbear, bear with, endure. Thus it is used in 1 Thessalonians 3:1,5. And so our translators understand it here, as meaning that love is patient, long-suffering, not soon angry, not disposed to revenge. And if this is the sense, it accords with the expression in 1 Corinthians 13:4, "Love suffers long." The more usual classic meaning is the former; the usage in the New Testament seems to demand the latter. Rosenmuller renders it, "bears all things;" Bloomfield prefers the other interpretation. Locke and Macknight render it, "cover." The real sense of the passage is not materially varied, whichever interpretation is adopted. It means, that in regard to the errors and faults of others, there is a disposition not to notice or to revenge them. There is a willingness to conceal, or to bear with them patiently.

Joseph Beet: Bears all things: is not shaken by any sort of ingratitude.

Brian Bell:
Love bears all things!

  • To bear up as to support as a roof.
    • Love gets under the load of life & bears it to the limit.
  • Love suffers wrong w/o retaliation.
  • Love can bear any insult, any injury, & any disappointment.
  • "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

John A. Bengel: STEGei, covers; conceals in relation to itself and in relation to others.

Joseph Benson: Beareth--or rather covereth all things, as panta stegei ought undoubtedly to be here rendered: because the common translation, beareth all things, is not different in sense from endureth all things, in the last clause of the verse. The lover of mankind conceals, as far as may be, the failings and faults of others; whatever evil he sees, hears, or knows of any one, he mentions it to none; it never goes out of his lips, unless where absolute duty constrains to speak.

Alan Carr: Beareth All Things - Love patiently endures and overlooks the faults in others. The word "beareth" literally means "to cover". Instead of parading the failures and faults of others before all the world, love covers them over and continues to love in spite of those things!

(Illustration: This was the example of God and His Son Jesus - Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:4-5. This was Peter's testimony - 1 Pet. 4:8)

(Illustration: An example of this kind of love comes to us from the history of England. During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, a soldier had been sentenced to die. His fiancé pleased with Cromwell to spare his life, but the great ruler refused. The young soldier was to be executed when the curfew bell sounded, but when the bell-ringer pulled the rope, there was no sound. The girl had climbed into the bell tower and had wrapped her body around the clapper, thus preventing the bell from sounding. Although she was battered and her body bruised and smashed, she managed to climb down. When she stood before Cromwell and told him what she had done, he immediately commuted the soldier's sentence of the soldier. Love beareth all!)

Adam Clarke:  Beareth all things] panta stegei, This word is also variously interpreted: to endure, bear, sustain, cover, conceal, contain.

Bishop Pearce contends that it should be translated covereth all things, and produces several plausible reasons for this translation; the most forcible of which is, that the common translation confounds it with endureth all things, in the same verse. We well know that it is a grand and distinguishing property of love to cover and conceal the fault of another; and it is certainly better to consider the passage in this light than in that which our common version holds out; and this perfectly agrees with what St. Peter says of charity, 1 Pet. 4:8: It shall cover the multitude of sins; but there is not sufficient evidence that the original will fully bear this sense; and perhaps it would be better to take it in the sense of contain, keep in, as a vessel does liquor; thus Plato compared the souls of foolish men to a sieve, and not able, stegein dia apistian te kai lhqhn, to contain any thing through unfaithfulness and forgetfulness. See Parkhurst and Wetstein. Some of the versions have stergei, loveth, or is warmly affectioned to all things or persons. But the true import must be found either in cover or contain. Love conceals every thing that should be concealed; betrays no secret; retains the grace given; and goes on to continual increase. A person under the influence of this love never makes the sins, follies, faults, or imperfections of any man, the subject either of censure or conversation. He covers them as far as he can; and if alone privy to them, he retains the knowledge of them in his own bosom as far as he ought.

Stephen J. Cole: Selfless love bears all things. The word can mean either to bear up under or to protect by covering. If it has the first meaning, then it would be the same as “endures all things” (end of 1 Cor. 13:7). I prefer the second meaning, to protect by covering. Love doesn’t broadcast the problems of others. Love doesn’t run down others with jokes, sarcasm or put-downs. Love defends the character of the other person as much as possible within the limits of truth. Love won’t lie about weaknesses, but neither will it deliberately expose and emphasize them. Love protects.

F.C. Cook: Beareth all things. AV not right here: for this idea occurs below in the word "endureth". Besides, the Greek STEGein properly means either to keep in, as a cup holds wine, or to keep out, as a house-roof or a waterproof keeps out rain. The essential sense is that of tightness, whether of tightness against pressure of the inward or of the outward circumstances determine. Render here, as in 1 Cor. 9:12, "is proof in all things", or "keepeth all things", i.e. is proof against all such things perhaps as provocations in the shape of studied affronts or shafts of slander. The application, however, may be "holds tight" or "keeps close all deposited trusts". The essential sense, in this case, remains unimpaired: the circumstantial varies.

Henry Drummond: Charity delights not in exposing the weakness of others, but "covereth all things".

Charles Ellicott: Beareth all things.--The full thought of the original here is that love silently endures whatever it has to suffer.

Joseph Exell: Magnanimous. “Beareth all things,” or “covereth all things.” The tendency of love is to hide rather than expose the faults of others instead of blazoning them abroad.

Exell & Spence: Beareth all things (see on 1 Corinthians 9:12). Endures wrongs and evils, and covers them with a beautiful reticence. Thus love "covereth all sins" (Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8).

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible:  Beareth all things -- The burdens of fellow Christians, and so fulfils the law of Christ, which is the law of love; the infirmities of weak believers, and the reproaches and persecutions of the world: or "covers all things", as it may be rendered, even a multitude of sins, as charity is said to do, (1 Peter 4:8) not by conniving at them, or suffering them to be upon a brother; but having privately and faithfully reproved for them, and the offender being brought to a sense and acknowledgment of them, he freely forgives them as trespasses against him, covers them with the mantle of love, and industriously hides and conceals them from others.

Frédéric Louis Godet: The verb STEGo- (tego), "to cover", might here signify, as usually in Paul's style (1 Cor. 9:12), "to bear"; but it would be difficult to avoid a tautology with the fourth term, hypoMENein, "to endure". It is better therefore to understand the word in the sense of "to excuse". Charity seeks to excuse others, to throw a mantle over their faults, charging itself, if need be, with all the painful results which may follow. This conduct is explained by the following term, "it believeth all things".

John W. Gregson:  Love is like an unfolded umbrella inviting others to shelter; it covers other's faults with silence.

Matthew Henry:  It beareth all things, panta stegei. Some read "covers all things." So the original also signifies. Charity will cover a multitude of sins, 1 Peter 4:8. It will draw a veil over them, as far as it can consistently with duty. It is not for blazing nor publishing the faults of a brother, till duty manifestly demands it. Necessity only can extort this from the charitable mind. Though such a man be free to tell his brother his faults in private, he is very unwilling to expose him by making them public. Thus we do by our own faults, and thus charity would teach us to do by the faults of others; not publish them to their shame and reproach, but cover them from public notice as long as we can, and be faithful to God and to others. Or, it beareth all things.

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown:  Beareth all things -- without speaking of what it has to bear. The same Greek verb as in 1 Cor. 9:12. It endures without divulging to the world personal distress. Literally said of holding fast like a watertight vessel; so the charitable man contains himself in silence from giving vent to what selfishness would prompt under personal hardship.

B.W. Johnson:  Beareth all things. Bears up in spite of all things evil, and is not overcome. This is the idea of "beareth." Love bears up against the tide of evil, as the rock against the waves.

S. Lewis Johnson:  Bears all things, that’s endures all things. It’s kind of a different word from the word that means to endure in other places, but this is essential to the force of this particular word. Love is neither impatient nor malicious nor does it opt for the wrong meaning in the events that happen in our lives. Love bears all things.

Now, back in 1 Cor. 9:12, there was occasion to use this because there in verse 12 we read if others are partakers of this right or view, are we not even more. Nevertheless, we have not used this right but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Paul said that he, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, had the right to the support of the Corinthians. That was his right as a minister of the gospel of Christ, he was to live off the gospel. But he did not insist that they pay him. He looked to the Lord. Love bears all things.

In other words, the apostle says I had the right to your support. I was the apostle who brought you to the knowledge of the Lord. And it’s your responsibility to support those who minister the word of God to you. I had that right, but I did not insist upon it. The apostle looked to the Lord constantly for all of his support. He never appealed for funds. He never sent out prayer letters. He never stood up before people and told them of the things he was going to do and ask them to send in checks. He didn’t do any of that. He looked to the Lord. And so, consequently, the things that happened we know were the Lord’s doing. How do we know what the Lord’s doing is, in so many of our Christian works today, when having the methods of big business, applying them, knowing that certain ways of sending out appeals for funds always produce money, how do they know that that’s from the Lord? Well, you can say they’re Lord letters, but there is hardly any evidence that you can specifically point to. But if you say, we will look to the Lord alone then that, it seems to me, is a legitimate test.

And the faith that we have in the truths of the word of God in our Lord in the things that are said in holy Scripture give us a sure ground for believing that if a work is of the Lord, the means will be supplied to support it. If the means does not come in, then we adjust to that as well. That’s a word from God to us. To my mind that’s the way a church should operate. I am grateful to God that, through the years of Believers Chapel’s existence, to my knowledge, there has never been sent out an appeal for any funds. Not one dollar, so far as I know. And I hope when I get to heaven, which is not far off, I can look down and say, Well, they are still looking to our great God in heaven for the needs that exist.

Keith Krell:  Love bears all things. The phrase “bears all things” comes from a Greek word meaning to cover something. It is related to the word for roof--a covering that offers protection from the hostile elements. 1 Peter 4:8 says that love covers a multitude of sins. That is precisely the meaning here. Love protects other people. It doesn’t broadcast bad news. It goes the second mile to protect another person’s reputation.

There are two very relevant applications: First, love doesn’t nitpick. It doesn’t point out every flaw of the ones you love. Second, love doesn’t criticize in public. This is perhaps Paul’s primary meaning. Love doesn’t do its dirty laundry for the entire world to see. That’s why I cringe whenever I hear a husband humiliating his wife in public or a wife making snide remarks about her husband. I always think, if they do that in public, what do they do in private? As a friend of mine once told me, “There are many times in my life when I’ve been sorry I opened my mouth. But there has never been a time I’ve been sorry I kept silent.” When it comes to needless criticism of other people, that’s excellent advice.

Paul Kretzmann:  All things love tolerates; not in the sense of covering and protecting wrong, but in the sense of suffering that which may be inflicted from outside. The emphasis is upon "all. " No matter how grievous the insult on the part of those whom love has enfolded, love will continue with unabated strength.

Lange & Schaff:  The conclusion of this description is made up of four positive statements. The first xdvro art yet is variously rendered. The verb may be construed either as in 1 Cor. 9:12, "it suffereth all things," and so be referred to the pains and privations endured for the benefit of others (Burger), in distinction from the virouivu, endureth, that follows, which is referred to the trials and persecutions inflicted by others. Or it may be rendered "covers up all things," i. e., "conceals and is silent about those faults of others which a malignant selfishness would gladly expose; as Benoei. very finely says: "hides to itself and to others." So rendered it would stand in easy connection with the "rejoicing not in iniquity" of ver. 6, and also would suit well with what follows. [Jon. Edwards interprets the clause as denoting a disposition which makes us willing for Christ's sake to undergo all sufferings to which we may be exposed in the way of duty! But this, however, truly it may be asserted of love, is hardly consistent with the drift of the passage. It is better to adhere to the strict meaning of the verb stegein, to cover, which, as used by Paul, carries with it the idea of covering over and bearing in silence whatever may be put upon one. So Stanley and Wordsworth].

Cornelius a Lapide:  Like a beam which sustains an imposed weight, or rather, like a palm-tree, which does not yield under its own weight, but, like an arch, is the more strong. Rightly says Augustine (in Sententiis, sec. 295): "The fortitude of the Gentiles comes from worldly lust, but the fortitude of the Christians from the love of God which was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us, not by any determination of our own will."

Steve Lewis:  Bears all things (stego) = This Greek verb is related to the noun stege ("roof"), so the verb means to cover or protect. Love keeps out resentment as the roof keeps out the rain. This means that in our interpersonal relationships there is a willingness to conceal or bear with the faults of others.

J.J. Lias:  beareth all things. Suffers, Vulgate, and so Wiclif and Tyndale. See 1 Corinthians 9:12, where the same word is used. Here it means to endure patiently indignities and affronts, save of course where the well-being of others requires that they should be repelled.

John Lyth:  Beareth (covereth) all things--with a mantle of charity--as far as circumstances will admit.

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