The Spectrum of Love

Drummond breaks down Paul’s “amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is,” by assigning 9 ingredients to what he describes as “The Spectrum of Love”from verses 4-7

Rainbow of lights

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

Right out of the gate, Drummond writes the following word picture.

“It is like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colours – red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colours of the rainbow – so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism, of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its element are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?

The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients: –

Patience:             ‘Love suffereth long’                                                                                             Kindness:           ‘And is kind.’                                                                                                           Generosity:        ‘Love envieth not.’                                                                                                 Humility:            ‘Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.’                                             Courtesy:            ‘Doth not behave itself unseemly.’                                                       Unselfishness:   ‘Seeketh not her own.’                                                                                             Good Temper:    ‘Is not easily provoked.’                                                                           Guilelessness:    ‘Thinketh no evil.’                                                                                                 Sincerity:             ‘Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.’

… – these make up the supreme gift. …We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth. Religion is not a strange or added thing, but the inspiration of the secular life, the breathing of an eternal spirit through this temporal world. The supreme thing, is short, is not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.”

There are an incredible amount of great quotes to choose from and I am telling you it is difficult to limit what I want to write here, but I do want to whet your appetite for more.

Under Kindness Drummond write:

“The greatest thing says some one a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children. I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are. How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How super-abundantly it pays itself back – for there is no debtor in the world so honourable, so superbly honourable, as Love. Love never faileth. Love is success. Love is happiness. Love is life. ‘Love I say,’ with Browning, ‘is energy of Life.”

I am not going to quote it here but the explanation of “Courtesy” is probably one of my favorites, Drummond uses the example of Robert Burns who is describe as “no truer gentleman in Europe than the ploughman-poet” because he loved everything and everyone.

“The next ingredient is a very remarkable one: Good Temper. ‘Love is not easily provoked.’ Nothing could be more striking than to find this here. We are inclined to look upon bad temper as a very harmless weakness. We speak of it as a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, a matter of temperament, not a thing to take into very serious account in estimating a man’s character. And yet here, right in the heart of this analysis of love, it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.”

I’ve fallen into the category of being one of those who has over the course of my life given in to being angry, ill-tempered. The temptation was to not quote on this part at all, yet it is so powerful and convicting. The LORD continues to mold and shape me. He gave me a prayer when I wasn’t even 30 years old, “God save me from being angry, how can I be helpful in this situation. Not my will but thy will be done.”  There is hope for me! Drummond proclaims it here.

“Analyse, as a study in Temper, that thunder-cloud itself as it gathers upon the Elder Brother’s brow (this is the Elder brother of the Prodigal son). What is it made of? Jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness – these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul. … Hence it is not enough to deal with the Temper. We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humours will die away of themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in – a great Love, a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours, sweetens, purifies, transforms all. This only can eradicate what is wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner man. Will-power does not change men. Time does not change men. Christ does. Therefore ‘Let that mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.’ Some of us have not much time to lose. Remember, once more, that this is a matter of life or death.”

Now for some one liners:

“The only greatness is unselfish love.”

“The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having and getting anything, but only in giving.”

“It is better not to live than not to love.”

“Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love?”

“So much for the analysis of Love. (although, I’ve just given you a taste of it here.) Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn to Love.”



Published by: Catherine Mullaney

First and foremost, I am a child of the Living God who is found as One God in Three persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. I have been married to the same man for over 25 years, together we have three adult children. I love my family and God’s and I know that both are trying to love me. Over my lifetime, I hope that I have also been a good friend, faithful citizen of the Kingdom, thoughtful, kind, open, and that I will continue to do so by God’s grace. If you were to look at my weekly calendar, you might describe my life as diverse so no one can stick me in the Christian box or the recovery box or any box for that matter. People don’t belong in boxes anyway. I am grateful to be human. I enjoy living in New England. I love a great game of golf, catching a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, a good book, to write with pen and paper, fruitful conversations, to sing and dance, to walk. One of my signatures in this life is my laugh and I love to “sign.”

Categories The Power of LoveTags, , , 2 Comments

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