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This page modified October 23, 2009
Note: The Love Lab is no longer being updated at this location. To see the latest version of this page, visit Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly at StudyLove.org.
Versions   Greek   Texts   Commentators
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
(ouk asche-moNEI)
Versions
KJV, ASV: "doth not behave itself unseemly"
Darby: "does not behave in an unseemly manner"
YLT: "doth not act unseemly"
NKJV: "does not behave rudely"
ICB, NCV: "Love is not rude"
MNT: "is not rude"
NIV, NET, Good: "It is not rude"
RSV, NRSV, NLT, CEV, ESV, LB: "or rude"
GWT: "it isn't rude"
ISV: "and never is she rude"
NJB: "it is never rude"
REB: "never rude"
AMP: "it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly"
Rot: "Acteth not unbecomingly"
ED: "not acts unbecomingly"
NASB: "does not act unbecomingly"
Wey: "She does not behave unbecomingly"
LONT, UTV: "does not behave itself unbecomingly"
WEB: "doesn't behave itself inappropriately"
HCSB: "does not act improperly"
MKJV, NWT, LITV: "does not behave indecently"
Wes: "Doth not behave indecently"
CLNT: "is not indecent"
TEV: "love is not ill-mannered"
Mur: "and doth nothing that causeth shame"
CPV: "It does not act up"
DR, Rhe: "Is not ambitious"
BBE: "Love's ways are ever fair"
WENT: "Love does not do things that are not nice"
Mes: "Doesn't force itself on others"
Wyc: "it is not coueytouse"
Tyn: "dealeth not dishonestly"
Bis: "Dealeth not dishonestlie"
1st: "it is not ambyciouse or coveitouse of wirschippis"
Gen: "It doeth no uncomely thing"
Vul: "non est ambitiosa"
CEI: "non manca di rispetto"
RVR, SSE: "No es injuriosa"
NBLH: "No se porta indecorosamente"
FD: "il n'agit pas avec inconvenance"
FLS: "elle ne fait rien de malhonnête"
BPKS: "nije nepristojna"
Luther: "sie stellet sich nicht ungebärdig"
Elb: "sie gebärdet sich nicht unanständig"

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Into the Original Greek
(All from Zodhiates, Word Study Dictionary of the NT, 1992, unless otherwise noted.)
Root, Definitions, and Cross-References
Word: asche-moNEo- (807)

Definitions:

STRONG'S:  To be (that is, act) unbecoming.

THAYER:  To act unbecomingly.

ZODHIATES:

  1. To behave in an ugly, indecent, unseemly, or unbecoming manner.
  2. To be disgraced, suffer reproach.
Love in its speech and action seeks to contain no evil, but seeks to change the evildoer.

References:

  1. --
  2. 1 Cor. 7:36; Sept.: Deut. 25:3.

 

Word: aSCHE-mo-n (809)

Definitions:

STRONG'S:  Properly shapeless, that is, (figuratively) inelegant.

THAYER:  

  1. Deformed.
  2. Indecent, unseemly.

 

Word: SCHE-ma (4976)

Definitions:

STRONG'S:  A figure (as a mode or circumstance), that is, (by implication) external condition.

THAYER:  The habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life, etc.

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Full Texts of Selected References
Deut. 25:[1-]3--When men have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty. 2 If the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and have him flogged in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves. 3 but he must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that, your brother will be degraded in your eyes. (NIV)
Alt.:--... not more; lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight. (RSV)
Alt.:--... lest ... your kinsman should be looked upon as disgraced because of the severity of the beating. (NAB)
Alt.:--... and your brother is actually disgraced in your eyes. (NWT)
Alt.:--... then thy brother should seem vile unto thee. (KJV)
Alt.:--... more than that would humiliate him publicly. (TEV)

1 Cor. 7:[35-]36--I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, (ouch HIna BROchon hyMIN epiBALlo-) but that you may live in a right way (pros to EUsche-mon) in undivided devotion to the Lord. 36 If anyone thinks he is acting improperly (asche-moNEIN) toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. (NIV)
Alt.:--... not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order ... 36 ... not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry -- it is no sin. (RSV)
Alt.:--... but I do want to promote what is good ... 36 If anybody thinks he is behaving dishonorably ... (NAB)
Alt.:--... not that I may cast a noose upon you, but to move you to that which is becoming ... 36 But if anybody thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virginity, if that is past the bloom of youth, and this is the way it should take place (NWT)
Alt.:--... not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely ... 36 ... that he behaveth uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require (KJV)
Alt.:--... I am not putting difficulties in your path but setting before you an ideal, ... 36 ... not behaving honorably toward the woman he loves, especially as she is beginning to lose her first youth and the emotional strain is considerable (Phillips)
Alt.:--... Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper (TEV)
Alt.:--... not that I may throw a snare over you, but for the honorable and constant attention to the Lord without distraction ... Note: "Snare," an allusion to a small casting net, something like the lasso of the South Americans, which was in use among the Romans and Persians, to throw on the heads of their adversaries, and thus entangle them. (ED)

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Comments
William Barclay:  Love does not behave gracelessly. It is a significant fact that in Greek the word for grace and the word for charm are the same word. There is a kind of Christianity which takes a delight in being blunt and almost brutal. There is strength in it but there is no winsomeness. Lightfoot of Durham said of Arthur F. Sim, one of his students, "Let him go where he will, his face will be a sermon in itself." There is a graciousness in Christian love which never forgets that courtesy and tact and politeness may possibly be regarded as lesser virtues but they are lovely things.

BT Internet:  ajschmonew, behave improperly

"The adjective ajschmwn occurs in the NT only at 12:23, where Paul alludes to 'unpresentable' parts of the body, i.e., those which good taste and public respect expect to be clothed. In all three contexts the contrast defines the opposition between on one side courtesy, good taste, good public 'manners', and 'propriety', and on the other side thoughtless pursuit of the immediate wishes of the self regardless of the conventions and courtesies of interpersonal life. Thus 'Agape is not ill mannered' (Spicq). Love does not act in ways which are 'contrary to the requirements of propriety and good order, committed by some ill-mannered members' (Hering)." --Thistleton

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 33:  "Doth not behave itself unseemly." "Nay, why," saith he, "do I say, she 'is not puffed up,' when she is so far from that feeling, that in suffering the most shameful things for him whom she loves, she doth not even count the thing an unseemliness?" Again, he did not say, "she suffereth unseemliness but beareth the shame nobly," but, "she doth not even entertain any sense at all of the shame." For if the lovers of money endure all manner of reproaches for the sake of that sordid traffic of theirs, and far from hiding their faces, do even exult in it: much more he that hath this praiseworthy love will refuse nothing whatsoever for the safety's sake of those whom he loves: nay, nor will any thing that he can suffer shame him.

And that we may not fetch our example from any thing base, let us examine this same statement in its application to Christ, and then we shall see the force of what hath been said. For our Lord Jesus Christ was both spit upon and beaten with rods by pitiful slaves; and not only did He not count it an unseemliness, but He even exulted and called the thing glory; and bringing in a robber and murderer with Himself before the rest into paradise, and discoursing with a harlot, and this when the standers-by all accused Him, He counted not the thing to he disgraceful, but both allowed her to kiss His feet, and to bedew His body with her tears, and to wipe them away with her hair, and this amid a company of spectators who were foes and enemies; "for love doeth nothing unseemly."

Therefore also fathers, though they be the first of philosophers and orators, are not ashamed to lisp with their children; and none of those who see them find fault with them, but the thing is esteemed so good and right as to be even worthy of prayer. And again, should they become vicious, the parents keep on correcting, caring for them, abridging the reproaches they incur, and are not ashamed. For love "cloth nothing unseemly," but as it were with certain golden wings covereth up all the offences of the beloved.

Adam Clarke:  Verse 5. (6.) Doth not behave itself unseemly] ouk aschmonei, from a, negative, and schma, figure, mein; love never acts out of its place or character; observes due decorum and good manners; is never rude, bearish, or brutish; and is ever willing to become all things to all men, that it may please them for their good to edification. No ill-bred man, or what is termed rude or unmannerly, is a Christian. A man may have a natural bluntness, or be a clown, and yet there be nothing boorish or hoggish in his manner. I must apologize for using such words; they best express the evil against which I wish both powerfully and successfully to declaim. I never wish to meet with those who affect to be called "blunt, honest men;" who feel themselves above all the forms of respect and civility, and care not how many they put to pain, or how many they displease. But let me not be misunderstood; I do not contend for ridiculous ceremonies, and hollow compliments; there is surely a medium: and a sensible Christian man will not be long at a loss to find it out. Even that people who profess to be above all worldly forms, and are generally stiff enough, yet are rarely found to be rude, uncivil, or ill-bred.

Geneva Notes:  It is not insolent, or reproachful.

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible:  Doth not behave itself unseemly -- By using either unbecoming words, or doing indecent actions; for a man unprincipled with this grace will be careful that no filthy and corrupt communication proceed out of his mouth, which may offend pious ears; and that he uses no ridiculous and ludicrous gestures, which may expose himself and grieve the saints; accordingly the Syriac version renders it, "neither does it commit that which is shameful": such an one will not do a little mean despicable action, in reproaching one, or flattering another, in order to gain a point, to procure some worldly advantage, or an interest in the friendship and affection of another. Some understand it in this sense, that one endued with this grace thinks nothing unseemly and unbecoming him, however mean it may appear, in which he can be serviceable to men, and promote the honour of religion and interest of Christ; though it be by making coats and garments for the poor, as Dorcas did; or by washing the feet of the saints, in imitation of his Lord and master: or "is not ambitious", as the Vulgate Latin version reads; of honour and applause, and of being in the highest form, but is lowly, meek and humble.

John W. Gregson:  Love is always courteous and polite; it is never rough, brusque or brutal.

Matthew Henry:  Charity is careful not to pass the bounds of decency; ouk aschemonei--it behaveth not unseemly; it does nothing indecorous, nothing that in the common account of men is base or vile. It does nothing out of place or time; but behaves towards all men as becomes their rank and ours, with reverence and respect to superiors, with kindness and condescension to inferiors, with courtesy and good-will towards all men. It is not for breaking order, confounding ranks bringing all men on a level; but for keeping up the distinction God has made between men, and acting decently in its own station, and minding its own business, without taking upon it to mend, or censure, or despise, the conduct of others. Charity will do nothing that misbecomes it.

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown:  not . . . unseemly -- is not uncourteous, or inattentive to civility and propriety.

BW Johnson:  Does not behave itself unseemly. Discourteously and in a way to shock good manners or morals.

Mark Heber Miller:  (Love) does not behave indecently. The Greek is OUK ASCHEMONEI and is variously rendered: KJV: not behave itself unseemly; MOF: never rude; BER: unmannerly; NAS: unbecomingly; WMS: not act with rudeness. The word is rare and other forms are elsewhere rendered as shameless, indecent, unseemly, or dishonorably. (1 Corinthians 7:36; 12:23; Romans 1:27; Revelation 16:15) It is most often associated with sexual matters, including homosexuality.

In English the word "love" is most often associated with romantic, even sexual, feelings towards another. One thing true AGAPE is not is an emotion motivated by actions which violate God’s law. Thus, this kind of "love" will never be found among the immoral or those seeking to take sexual disadvantage of another. Indeed, one may see the word "scheme" within the Greek.

Other translators lean toward the idea of bad manners or rudeness. Certainly, AGAPE love can never be characterized by those with ill-manners or rude social behavior. Rather, a Christian possessed of this kind of love will be seen to be well-mannered and polite in social matters. Never would a Christian man (or woman) take advantage of their spiritual position in the Church to scheme indecency toward a fellow worshipper.

Robertson's Word Studies:  {Doth not behave itself unseemly} (ouk ascemonei). Old verb from ascemwn (#12:23). In N.T. only here and #7:36. Not indecent.

The Theologian: The Internet Journal for Integrated Theology:  Ouk aschemonei refers to behaviour "in defiance of social and moral standards," often sexual, but verbal coarseness and generally indecent or crude behaviour is also ruled out, since it is guaranteed to tear down others rather than build them up.

Bill Turner:  Love does not behave itself rudely, unbecomingly. or disgracefully.

Love never behaves indecently, or unbecomingly. "Aschemonei" is the present active indicative of "askemoneo," to behave in an unbecoming, indecent, or shameful manner that is open to censure. It is only used here and in 1Cor.7v36., where it speaks of a virgin being shamefully hindered from marriage by a father or prospective husband. The adverb for "decently," is "euschemonos," Paul uses it to state that all should be done decently and in order ("taxis") in the Church. 1Cor.14v40. The present tense shows that Christians who have "agape" love always refuse to act in a disorderly and unbecoming manner.

Christians can experience strong workings of the Holy Spirit and be in perfect order in God's eyes, when men are critical of their response to God's power. Acts.2v13-16. Lk.19v37-40. See also. Heb.5v7. Neh.12v43. 8v6,12. Ps.47v1. 98v4. 126v2. 149v3. 150.v4. Dan.8v18-26. 10v8,11,15,17. Rev.1v7. etc. However, we must realise that what is "seemly conduct" in the secret place of prayer, can be "unseemly conduct" in a meeting of Christians, or when the unconverted are present. Paul informs us in 1Cor.14v17-25., that continual and loud speaking in tongues is undesirable even in gatherings which are composed entirely of believers; and is completely wrong when the unconverted and unlearned are present. We should show restraint in speaking in tongues, shaking, laughing, and anything else that causes consternation in people. We make some allowance for immaturity in young Christians or young converts, but "unruly" Christians are to be gently but firmly warned and controlled. 1Thes.5v14. 2Tim.4v2. Titus.2v15. However, let us beware of any "unseemly discipline," for by being harsh and graceless we can permanently injure people, destroy Christian fellowship, and bring churches into spiritual bondage.

The Holy Spirit is a perfect Gentleman, He will not cause us to get into a frenzy, or act in a way that produces concern, fear, friction, stress and distraction in the saints, and disgust in the outsider. Sadly, every revival always brings its quota of excess and fanaticism. However, the dangers of a powerless, sub-normal, formal Christianity are far worse. Wise leadership, good teaching, and mature example can lead Christians from "unseemly conduct" into the green pastures of a fruitful manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes:  It doth not behave indecently - Is not rude, or willingly offensive, to any. It renders to all their due - Suitable to time, person, and all other circumstances.

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