What does the Bible say about love?
Two different Greek words are translated as "love" in the New Testament,
and they have more specific meanings than our English word "love."
Agapao (verb) and agape (noun). This is the "Christian love" of the Bible.
It means affection, benevolence, good-will,
high esteem and concern for the welfare of the one loved. It is deliberate,
purposeful love rather than emotional or impulsive love.
Almost all of the New Testament references to love are agapao or agape in the original Greek.
The King James Version of the Bible sometimes translates agape as "charity,"
but charity has now taken on the meaning of assistance to the poor rather than benevolent love.
Phileo (verb). This means to love in an impulsive and emotional way.
It is seldom used in the Bible, but there is a play on words (lost in English) in John 21:15-17.
Jesus says to Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love (agapao) me?
" Peter answers, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
" Philadelphia is a related word meaning the love of brothers or sisters (e.g., Romans 12:10).
It is often translated "brotherly love."
►God's love for mankind
Love is one of the attributes of God and an essential part of His nature
►God is love, and all who live in love live in God,
and God lives in them. (NLT, 1 John 4:16
►Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?
And yet not one of them is forgotten before God.
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows. (NAS, Luke 12:6-7)
►If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels,
but do not have love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers,
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions,
and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing. (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
►Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies,
they will come to an end; as for tongues,
they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end... And now faith, hope,
and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13)
►Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,
for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (NIV, Romans 13:8-10)
►We love because he first loved us. Those who say, "I love God,"
and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars;
for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen,
cannot love God whom they have not seen.
The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
(NRSV, 1 John 4:19-21)
►Jesus greatly expanded the scope and importance of love,
saying love of God and love of fellowman are the most important of all the commandments.
The apostle Paul said Christian love was the greatest and most essential of all the spiritual gifts.
Throughout the New Testament, we are encouraged and commanded to live in peace with all God's people
(e.g., Romans 12:17-18) and commit ourselves to genuine love and caring for others (e.g., 1 John 3:17-18). Those are the ways we can put our faith into practice in everyday life.
►Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
►For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,
and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
►Follow the way of love.
►A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.