Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS|
Love is a word that is hard to define. In First Corinthians we are told that love is patient and love is kind; that it does not envy, or boast and isn't proud; love isn't rude or self-seeking or easily angered; it doesn't keep a record of wrongs; love always protects, it always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres; it never fails. God has a character of complete love and he calls us to love like he does.
Love in the Bible
One of the clearest themes in the Bible is the theme of love. The word is used on hundreds of occasions and there are hundreds of stories illustrating love.
The author of love is God. 1 John 4:8 says that "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." The pattern of God's love is clear through both the Old Testament and New Testament. Throughout the history of ancient Israel he repeatedly brings them help and good things, and this is despite the people repeatedly turning away from them. Ultimately, God has shown his love by sending Jesus who sufferred to save us.
In the New Testament, the word love has been translated from three different Koine Greek words: philia, agape and storge. Philia is often used to describe the brotherly love of friendship. Agape is often used to describe the love of choice of the mind that is unconditional and limitless. And storge is often used for the the natural affection of families.
Loving each other
- Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
Later, in the Gospel of John, Jesus says
- Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Jesus shows us this love when he lay down his life for us.
Passages about love
Perhaps the most famous Bible passage about love comes from 1 Corinthians 13
- If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain--these three. The greatest of these is love.
Stories of love in church history
- All you need is love