Love. The idea of love can mean a lot of things in today's broken world. The word can be twisted and it can be taken too lightly. (We can love our kids and also "love" pizza?) Since love is central to the Gospel and Christianity, it's important to understand what the Bible teaches about love.
Love is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Each Bible verse on love gives us insight into God's love for us and how God wants us to relate to each other. Here are 7 core truths the Bible teaches us about love.
God is Love
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- 1 John 4:7-8
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
- 1 John 4:16
God is love. What a wonderful truth! Love is at the core of Who God is, and everything He does is permeated by love. He is perfect, unfailing love.
Some people mistakenly assume God is an angry dictator, but His character is far from that. GOD IS LOVE. You can't separate the two! Love soaks through everything He is and everything He does. When He created you, it was full of love. Spend a moment thinking about the fact that perfect love created you!
Therefore, when we seek a relationship with Him, we don't need to be afraid or ashamed. We are approaching the One Who embodies LOVE. Because God is love, we can trust Him. Just as God is faithful, so is His love. It is constant and unchanging for us. Before the creation of the world, God's love was ever-present, and God's love will last throughout eternity.
God's Word, the Bible, is permeated with His love. When we read scripture, we see how God's great love for us weaves through the pages.
God is the source of all love
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
- Romans 5:5
We love because he first loved us.
- 1 John 4:19
The Bible verse about love in Romans says that "God's love has been poured out into our hearts." What a beautiful image! God's love filling every nook and cranny, being poured out until it overflows to those around us.
When we recognize God as the source of all love, we can rely on Him to give us the strength and ability to love others with His love. He has unfailing love for us, and He has unending love to flow through us to our neighbors.
We are to love others because God loves us
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
- John 13:34
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- John 13:35
Everyone we meet is someone God loves. If we are ever tempted to hate someone, we need to remember there is a 100% chance that God loves them unconditionally!
As we remember this in our daily lives, it will help us to see others as God sees them. It will lead us to love others. We are called to be a conduit of God's love to those around us.
It's not always easy! But, it is impossible to love God and not, in turn, love others. Trust the Holy Spirt to help God's love flow through you to those around you.
Related Post: 5 Simple Ways to Show God's Love to Others
Love is the greatest virtue
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
- 1 Corinthians 13:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Colossians 3:13-14
When we have love in our hearts, we can have hope. We are faithful to each other because of our love for another. Joy comes from love. Kindness is born out of love.
Love is the engine that drives all other virtues. It is the driving force that sets all other virtues into motion. In Galatians 5:22-23, it is the primary fruit of the Spirit. From love, all other fruit follows.
If we focus on love, on truly loving God and loving others, other virtues will develop in perfect unity.
Love fulfills the law
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
- Matthew 22:37-40
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
- Romans 13:10
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself."
- Galatians 5:14
These Bible verses teach us that the law can be summed up in one word: Love. Love is the very heart of God, and love is at the heart of God's law for us. We can fulfill God's commandments through loving God and loving our neighbor.
We can try to muscle our way through, or go through the motions, or following God's law. But, as it says in Matthew, everything "hangs" on these two commandments of love. If there's not love, everything we try to do through our own strength will fall. Love has to be the source and center of everything we do.
Related Post: 5 Truths About Loving Difficult People
Love is sacrificial
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8
and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- Ephesians 5:2
Love requires sacrifice. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus, His only Son, to live with us. Jesus sacrificed His position in heaven to come to earth and be with us. He walked alongside us and felt pain, temptation, and rejection. Jesus loved us and sacrificed Himself on the cross to save us. He sacrificed His perfection for our sin. This is how much God loves us.
We, too, need to show love through sacrifice. Walking in the way of love, as Ephesians says, means we will need to offer something of ourselves. Maybe we need to sacrifice some earthly desires or possessions. We may be called to do things we don't really want to do in order to show love to another. Perhaps we will need to sacrifice our comfort zone in order to share the hope of the Gospel.
But, this is what love is! And we have hope, because Jesus knows what it means to sacrifice in love. He is our strength and our comfort when we need to give ourselves for the sake of love.
Nothing can separate us from God's love
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:38-39
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
- 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
Love preceded the foundation of the universe, and love will last throughout eternity. Pure love will always endure. God's love will never, ever fail.
No matter what you are going through, what you must endure, this promise stands. Through the good, bad, and ugly, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. It doesn't matter what's in your past. It doesn't matter what you've done or what's been done to you. God still loves you with an everlasting, unshakable love. He isn't scared away by your secrets or your sins. In fact, He will own them for you. He'll take them to the cross and set you free.
His love never fails.