What The Bible Really Says About Love: Understanding The Bible Verses on Love

by Sister McCook

Love is a universal language that speaks to the hearts of all people regardless of race, color, or creed. 

However, the concept of love is often misunderstood and misinterpreted by many, which leads to many challenges and complexities in our relationships. 

Fortunately, the Bible has clear instructions on what love is and how it should be expressed towards one another. 

As Christians, it’s vital that we understand what the Bible teaches about love so we can live our lives in accordance with God’s will and experience true love in all our relationships.

Love in The New Testament

Love is one of the most important topics in the Bible, and there are numerous references to it throughout the scriptures.

In the New Testament, specifically, the apostle Paul emphasized that love is the foundation of all virtues and the greatest of all.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, he lists what love is and what it isn’t, stating that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Paul’s message is clear: the most important virtue we can have is love.

Jesus Telling us To Love Each Other, as A Commandment

Another famous passage that speaks about love is found in John 13:34, where Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

This commandment from Jesus echoes the importance of love in our lives, and it also shows us how we should express love towards one another.

Jesus showed us how to love sacrificially, putting the needs of others before His own interests.

As Christians, it’s our responsibility to follow His example and express love in the same selfless and sacrificial way.

The Bible Teaches That Love is Emotion and Action

The Bible also teaches us that love is not just an emotion, but it’s also an action.

In 1 John 3:18, it states, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

This verse encourages us to demonstrate our love for others through our actions rather than just by speaking words.

It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but it’s much harder to show it through our actions, such as helping someone in need or forgiving someone who has wronged us.

True love requires action and sacrifice.

Loving Our Enemies

Furthermore, the Bible talks about how we should love not just our friends and family but also our enemies.

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

This commandment from Jesus shows us that true love requires us to love unconditionally and without any reservation.

It’s easy to love those who love us back, but it takes true strength and faith to love those who mistreat us or do not like us.

However, as Christians, we are called to love as Christ did and to extend grace to all those around us.

Love and Unity

In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands his disciples to love one another, stating that their love for each other will show the world that they are his followers.

Ephesians 4:3 declares that Christians should make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 emphasizes the importance of all members of the body of Christ working together in harmony to accomplish God’s plan.

In essence, the Bible teaches that love and unity are essential components of a Christian’s life.

Through love, believers can overcome differences and remain unified in their purpose of spreading God’s love and message to all corners of the world.

Whether it’s in our families, communities, or larger society, the Bible teaches us that when we love and unify with one another, we can achieve great things for the greater good.

Agape Love

Agape love is often described as selfless and unconditional.

It’s the kind of love that is spoken about in the Bible, specifically in John 3:16 where it states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse highlights the ultimate example of agape love – sacrificing oneself for the sake of others.

1 Corinthians 13 also speaks about agape love, emphasizing that it is patient, kind, and not jealous or self-seeking.

It is a love that goes beyond mere feelings and emotions and is deeply rooted in actions and commitment.

As we strive to love others with this kind of love, we reflect the same love that God has for us.

Self Love

While the phrase “self-love” isn’t explicitly mentioned in scripture, there are many verses that teach us to value ourselves and recognize our worth in God’s eyes.

The Bible stresses the importance of treating ourselves with the same love and respect we would give to others.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This means that we must first love and accept ourselves before we can truly love others.

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and, as such, we should honor and take care of them.

It is clear that self-love is not only acceptable but is actually encouraged in the Bible, as it allows us to be more compassionate, both to ourselves and to those around us.

True Love

The concept of true love holds a significant place in the Bible. The scriptures define love as pure, selfless, and sacrificial.

In 1 John 4:16, we find that “God is love.”

This passage reminds us that true love emanates from God, and we can experience it if we abide in Him.

In addition, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a well-known scripture that details the characteristics of real love.

It reveals that love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not selfish, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.

John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

This means that true love involves sacrifice, selflessness, and putting the needs of others before our own. 

These verses remind us that love is a choice we make to put others before ourselves and act accordingly.

Indeed, the Bible’s description of real love is the epitome of how God intended us to love each other.

Brotherly Love

Brotherly love is an essential theme in the Bible, and it refers to the bond of love that exists between siblings in Christ.

The book of 1 John 4:20-21 states that if people claim to love God, but hate their brothers and sisters, they are liars.

Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

The Bible also teaches that brothers and sisters in Christ should love one another with an unconditional and sacrificial love, just as Jesus loved them.

In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

As believers, we are called to put others before ourselves and serve them in love.

This love is not based on what we can get in return, but instead, it’s a selfless, Christ-like love that reflects our faith.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is a concept that is highly valued in many cultures and belief systems, and the Bible offers plenty of guidance on this topic.

In fact, one of the most well-known Bible verses on love is John 3:16, which states that “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse highlights the incredible depth of God’s love for us, offering forgiveness and salvation regardless of our past mistakes or flaws.

Another powerful passage on unconditional love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13, which outlines the characteristics of true love, including patience, kindness, and selflessness.

the Bible says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), demonstrating the ultimate act of selfless and unconditional love.

As we strive to follow God’s example and love others unconditionally, we can trust in the promise that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) and that it will never fail (1 Corinthians 13:8).

The Bible Speaks About The Depths of God’s Love For us

Love is a central theme in the Bible, and it provides clear instructions on how to express it towards one another.

True love is patient, kind, selfless, and sacrificial, and it requires us to love not just those who love us but also our enemies.

As Christians, it’s important to understand what the Bible teaches about love so we can live out our faith and reflect Christ’s love to those around us.

How we love others is a reflection of our relationship with God, and it’s our duty to show His love in all our relationships.

May we strive to love as Christ loved and bring glory to Him through our actions.

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