What Does the Bible Say About Love?

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Greek has four different words that we all translate to “love” in English:

Agape: God’s eternal, selfless and self-giving love.

Fileo: The love you feel for your relatives and friends.

Storge: The love you naturally feel for your close family.

Eros: The selfish, emotional, and sexual love.

God is agape-love at its core; he loves selflessly, unconditionally and gives himself to us. We humans are normally driven by a selfish love that leads us to put ourselves first and treat other people badly. Because God wants to save us from this sinful behavior, God became human and gave his own life for us. By following Jesus, we learn to love God, ourselves, our fellow man and even our enemy.

Bible Verses

16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(Jn 3:16)

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.(1 Jn 4:7–21)

25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”(Lk 10:25–27)

44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(Mt 5:44)

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.(1 Co 13)

Study Questions

  1. What is the difference between “human” love and “divine” love?
  2. How do you love God with all your heart?
  3. How do you love your fellow man as yourself?
  4. Is it possible to love your fellow man as yourself if you don’t love yourself?
  5. Is all love always good?
  6. What is the opposite of love?

Additional Bible Verses

Romans 5:6-8, 1 John 3:1, Ephesians 5:25, Luke 15:11-32, Romans 8:38-39, John 14:23, Romans 8:29, Philippians 2:1-5, John 13:34-35, John 15:9-17

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