Open Your Bible
These verses and any linked articles/stories are intended to help jumpstart you in your own studies. MOST VERSES ARE BEST UNDERSTOOD WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE WHOLE LETTER in which it was written. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have your own bible and seek on your own. no one or any resource can replace one-on-one time with the king.
Love. We all want it and need it. We all think we give it. But do we know what (or Who) love is? The "love" of some can hurt, feel unkind and manipulative, or leave us feeling shamed. Others accuse us of not being loving because we don't agree with everything they do or say. So is love letting people do and say what they want? Should love from others leave us feeling robbed? Do we know God's love and how deeply He loves us? Can we receive His love? How should WE express love to others? Let's take a look at how the One who says He IS love, defines love.
Bible versions used will vary and some may be paraphrased.
We suggest using BibleGateway.com to look up the verse in your favorite version.
1 JOHN 4:7 Beloved, let us [unselfishly]love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. [AMP]
1 JOHN 4:8 The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] [AMP]
1 JOHN 4:9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him.[AMP]
1 JOHN 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath]. [AMP]
1 JOHN 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another. [AMP]
1 JOHN 4:12 But if we love one another [with unselfish concern], God abides in us, and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] is completed and perfected in us. [AMP]
ROMANS 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. [AMPC]
God’s Love Expressed Toward Us
The original Hebrew language has many forms of love that we don't delineate in our language or culture. Also, I'm not an expert in this are so am not qualified to teach on the different types of love. All I can do is point out types of love I find in scripture. The verses below are example of how God expresses His love to us.
ROMANS 5:8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. [AMPC]
ISAIAH 49:15 …I will not forget you…
ISAIAH 49:16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; [Oh Zion] your walls are continually before me.
ISAIAH 49:16 Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me. [AMPC]
Pause and think about this. I love the amplified version as it paints a picture to which we can relate: tattoos imprinted on the palms of God's hands. When this verse says "your walls are ever before me" this is God's way of saying he stares at the image of us on his hands. In scripture, Zion/Jersualem/Israel all were symbolic of His people. This applies to those of us, now, who have been born again and are found in Christ, Yeshua. That means that God, the maker of heaven and earth, has an image of you on the palm of his hands and he is always remembering you. i.e. You are always on His mind!
Malachi 3:10 I [God] will open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing until there is no more need.
Malachi 3:10 See if I won’t open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs. [CJB]
Malachi 3:11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil.
Malachi 3:11 “For your sakes I will forbid the devourer to destroy the yield from your soil; and your vine will not lose its fruit before harvest-time,”
says Adonai-Tzva’ot. [CJB]
Proverbs 2:8 Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance…
SOME OF THE WAYS GOD’S LOVE IS EXPRESSED IN PSALM 3:3-4
- Is a shield for me
- He lifts my head (when I’m discouraged)
- God is my glory
- Adonai (the Lord God) answers me (i.e. He has a voice and cares enough about us to talk to us)
- He sustains us at night
PSALM 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace; for, Adonai, you alone make me live securely. [CJB]
PSALM 142:7 …for Thou shall deal bountifully with me… [KJV]
PSALM 139:3-5 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. [NKJV]
Adonoai is the Creator of all things - the universe! But still, He chooses to be acquainted with every detail about me. He birthed me, created me exactly the way he wanted! Wow. Little 'ol me; and the God of the UNIVERSE knows me intimately.
Love Expressed BY Us
1 CORINTHIANS 13:1 If I were to speak with eloquence in the earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. [TPT]
1 CORINTHIANS 13:2 And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. [TPT]
1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value. [TPT]
HAVE I LEARNED TO LOVE? Jesus tells us the greatest thing we can have is love. But what does love look like? The following verses give us an idea of how God defines loves. But truly, the entire Bible is an expression of God's love. We just need to look at it and read it with a different perspective. A few years ago, God told me to start reading the Bible with the perspective of, "What do these verses reveal about who God (the Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit) is?". I used to read with the underlying question of "What should I do?" or "How am I supposed to live?", But that left out love. Sure, it was from a heart of obedience, but God wants our love FIRST. Then, out of that we are able to live holy IN LOVE. Otherwise, like the verses above, we're doing spiritual things but with the wrong motives. PRAYER: "Father, teach me to love. Show me how to have a heart of love, first. Show me where my motives are wrong and where I'm doing things to look spiritual or religious but I don't have a heart of love."
What is Love?
From 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Passion Translation)
- Love is large and incredibly patient (also, “love patiently endures mistreatment” or “love transforms the spirit”).
- Love is gentle and consistently kind to all.
- It refuses to be jealous (or “boil with jealousy”) when blessing comes to someone else.
- Love does not brag about one’s achievements.
- It does not inflate its own importance.
- Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect
- It does not selfishly seek its own honor.
- Love is not easily irritated (or overly sensitive).
- It is not quick to take offense.
- Love joyfully celebrates honesty (also, “reality” or “truth”).
- It finds no delight in what is wrong (injustice or unrighteousness).
- Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.
- Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
- Love never stops loving (or, “it never falls down”).
1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love. [AMPC]