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What Is Love According to the Bible?

 

 

David Sanford

 

 

When I’m at a barbeque and spot a bag of original Lay’s, I’m known to walk over, grab a couple, and remark, “I love potato chips!” When I’m at that same barbeque and spot my oldest granddaughter, I’m known to run over, give her a hug, look straight into her eyes, and say, “I love you, Havilah!” Is my love for my granddaughter the same love I have for a potato chip? Of course not!

 

The word “love” has an extremely wide spectrum of meanings. So, what is “love” according to the Bible?

 

What Love Is Not

1. Love is not God. Instead, God is love (1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16).

 

2. Love is not sex, but couples express their love physically in sexual ways, including intercourse, which sometimes leads to the birth of a child. Biblical examples include (Genesis 4:1; Genesis 4:17; Genesis 4:25; Genesis 29:23; Genesis 29:30; Genesis 38:2; Ruth 4:13; 1 Samuel 4:19; 2 Samuel 12:24; 1 Chronicles 2:21; 1 Chronicles 7:23; Isaiah 8:3).

 

3. Love is not fearful (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18).

 

What Love Is

1. Love is the greatest virtue (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, especially 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It is the chief fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in and through our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

2. God is the source of all true, giving, ongoing love. God’s love for us is fully expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 5:8-10; Titus 3:5).

 

God’s love is also fully expressed by adopting us as His children (John 1:12; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; 1 John 3:1). In both cases, God loves us with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17; Jeremiah 31:3).

 

 

3. “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another” (2 John 1:6, NLT). Indeed, the greatest commandment’s second half is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:34; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31-33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).

 

The greatest commandment’s first half is to love God wholeheartedly (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 13:3; Deuteronomy 30:6; Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

 

Biblical Examples to Follow

1. Like Job, I cling to God, who loves me and is in control, in the midst of my deepest pain (Job 1:21).

 

2. Like Ruth, I care loyally for my loved ones (Ruth 1:16).

 

3. Like Jehoshaphat, I face trials and danger with songs of praise for God’s faithful love (2 Chronicles 20:21).

 

4. Like Nathanael, I am known by God and loved (John 1:49).

 

5. Like the Samaritan Woman, I am satisfied because God knows me, loves me, and fills me (John 4:42).

 

Biblical Commands to Obey

1. I rejoice in God’s incredible love for me (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Psalm 31:7; Psalm 59:16; Psalm 107:8; John 3:16; John 15:10-11; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Titus 3:4; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:9-10).

 

2. I love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind (Deuteronomy 6:5; Joshua 23:11; Mark 12:30; 2 Thessalonians 3:5).

 

3. I love God and obey His commands (Deuteronomy 11:22; Joshua 22:5; John 21:17; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 6).

 

4. I love God’s people (John 13:35; Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 13:8; Colossians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Philemon 4-5; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 2:7; 1 John 3:11-17; 1 John 4:20-21; 2 John 5-6).

 

 

5. I love my spouse (Genesis 29:20; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Ephesians 5:25-28; Colossians 3:19; Titus 2:4).

 

6. I love my children (Proverbs 3:12; Proverbs 13:24; Luke 15:20).

 

7. I love my relatives and friends (Ruth 2:11; 1 Samuel 18:1; Romans 12:9; Romans 13:8-9).

 

8. I love my neighbors as myself (Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:34; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).

 

9. I love those in need — widows, orphans, the poor, immigrants, refugees, and others who are downtrodden and oppressed (Leviticus 19:33-34; Deuteronomy 10:19; Proverbs 29:7; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 Timothy 5:3; 1 Timothy 5:16; James 1:27; James 2:5; 1 John 3:17).

 

10. I hate evil and love what is good (Psalm 34:14; Proverbs 11:27; Amos 5:14-15; 1 Timothy 6:11; 1 Peter 3:11; 3 John 11).

 

11. I do not love the things of this world, which are temporal at best (Psalm 119:36; Ecclesiastes 5:10-11; Matthew 6:24; Mark 10:21-22; John 12:25; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; James 2:5; 1 John 2:15).

 

12. I choose to love the Lord, live for Him, and enjoy His rich blessings (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:15; Psalm 25:12; Psalm 65:4; Proverbs 22:6; Isaiah 56:4; Romans 6:16-19).

 

Biblical Truths to Affirm

1. I believe God offers incredible, deep peace to those who love Him and obey what He commands (Psalm 119:165; Luke 2:14; 2 John 3).

 

2. I believe God is jealous for my wholehearted commitment and love (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 6:15; Joshua 24:19; Psalm 78:58; Ezekiel 5:13; 1 Corinthians 10:22; 2 Corinthians 11:2; James 4:5).

 

3. I believe God is rich in unfailing love to all who love Him, trust Him, confess their sins, experience His forgiveness, and obey Him wholeheartedly (Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 7:12; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 25:10; Psalm 32:10).

 

 

That, my friends, is what biblical love is and what it looks like in our lives. Enjoy!

Matthias David
Matthias David
Working in His vine, as He does even more at mine.
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