Question: "What does it mean that love always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
Answer: First Corinthians 13:7 lists four specific actions that love “always” performs. The fourth and final one is that love “always perseveres” (NIV) or “endures all things” (ESV). There is a persistence to love, even in the tough times.
The Greek word hupomenei carries the idea of “remaining” or “enduring.” Love doesn’t quit or give up. Love lasts. The love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a fleeting romance or a fading feeling. Instead, godly love always perseveres. During good times and bad, the love of God’s people endures the challenges of life and remains steadfast.
In the wedding vows, a husband and wife take each other “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” The basis of this pledge is the fact that love perseveres.
Jesus modeled enduring love: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). During His most difficult night, He washed the feet of His disciples and prayed for them. His love even endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
Earlier in his epistle, Paul had spoken to the Corinthian believers regarding endurance: “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Such perseverance in the face of opposition can only come from the love of God rooted in the heart.
Endurance for the sake of endurance is not the point of this teaching. It is endurance motivated by love for God and others. “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (1 Peter 2:20). We are called to endure for what is right. We must show love whether or not it is convenient or easy.
A person with God’s type of love will consistently seek what is best for his loved one. There is no fair-weather friendship in love. It’s not an on-again, off-again proposition, but a commitment to always seek the highest good, no matter what adversity befalls.