1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent charity
among yourselves: for charity shall cover the
multitude of sins. (KJV)
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one
another, because love covers a multitude of
In this context, Peter speaks of agape – the
highest form and expression of love.
Agape love seeks the highest good of another
person (Rom. 13:8-10; 1 John 4:9-10).
The Greek word translated “fervent” means
“stretched, figuratively, zealous, earnest.”
It comes from a root which means “to
stretch” or “to extend” (Matt. 12:13; Acts
Love of the brethren should increase and
abound more and more (1 Thess. 3:12-13; 4:9-
10; 2 Thess. 1:3-4).
Solomon expressed a similar idea in saying,
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all
transgressions” (Prov. 10:12).
Again the wise man said, “He who conceals a
transgression seeks love, but he who repeats
a matter separates intimate friends” (Prov.
First of all, love helps us maintain the right
attitude ourselves, cultivating patience,
kindness and understanding (Eph. 4:31-32;
Secondly, it puts the best possible
interpretation on the actions of another;
causing us to expect the best rather than the
worst (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
While love suffers long, it is not spineless,
feeble or blind.
Sin is serious business – severing our
relationship with God (Josh. 7:11-12; Isa. 59:1-
Therefore, it must be confronted and
corrected (Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:5-9).
A change of heart/life is essential; fruit-
bearing is the key (Matt. 3:5-10; Acts 26:19-
There is no limit to forgiveness, provided that
genuine repentance is forthcoming (Matt.
18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4).
Biblical love is both considerate and
corrective (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, especially
a friend who is committed to truth (Prov.
Therefore, let us not refuse such expressions
of concern (Ps. 141:4-5).
In saying “Thou art the man!” Nathan
demonstrated much more love for David than
did Joab, who by acquiescing to David’s plot
became a co-conspirator in crime (2 Sam.
David needed, not a servile, self-serving
sycophant, but a companion who would
speak the truth with clarity and conviction
(Ps. 32:3-5; 51:1-4, 10-13).
By demanding various spiritual reforms,
Nehemiah sought the highest good of Israel (cf.
On the surface, he seemed hard, harsh and
heartless. However, Nehemiah had a high regard
for what was right.
Repeatedly he cried, “Remember me, O my God,
for good” (Neh. 5:19; 13:14, 22, 31).
As a result, he saved the remnant from apostasy.
Israel owed him an eternal debt of gratitude.
In a similar manner, Paul proved a true
supporter when he rebuked Peter for
hypocrisy and prejudice (Gal. 2:11-14).
Peter recognized the sincerity of Paul’s
actions – later referring to him as “our
beloved brother Paul” (2 Pet. 3:14-18).
Divine discipline is for our good that we might
share in God’s holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).
The strongest rebuke, when justly deserved,
is an expression of love (Rev. 3:15-19).
Therefore, let us recognize that church
discipline is restorative in nature (Matt. 18:15-
17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 1 Tim. 1:18-20).
When properly administered, it demonstrates
fraternal love (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
The one who turns a sinner back from the
error of his way shall save a soul from death
and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).