Category: Love


God’s love, as described in the Bible, is clearly unconditional in that His love is expressed toward the objects of His love (that is, His people) despite their disposition toward Him. In other words, God loves because it His nature to love (1 John 4:8), and that love moves Him toward benevolent action. The unconditional nature of God’s love is most clearly seen in the gospel. The gospel message is basically a story of divine rescue. As God considers the plight of His rebellious people, He determines to save them from their sin, and this determination is based on His love (Ephesians 1:4-5). Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words from his letter to the Romans:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Reading through the book of Romans, we learn that we are alienated from God due to our sin. We are at enmity with God, and His wrath is being revealed against the ungodly for their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). We reject God, and God gives us over to our sin. We also learn that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and that none of us seek God, none of us do what is right before His eyes (Romans 3:10-18).

Despite this hostility and enmity we have toward God (for which God would be perfectly just to utterly destroy us), God reveals His love toward us in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the propitiation (that is, the appeasement of God’s righteous wrath) for our sins. God did not wait for us to better ourselves as a condition of atoning for our sin. Rather, God condescended to become a man and live among His people (John 1:14). God experienced our humanity—everything it means to be a human being—and then offered Himself willingly as a substitutionary atonement for our sin.

This divine rescue resulted in a gracious act of self-sacrifice. As Jesus says in John’s gospel, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is precisely what God, in Christ, has done. The unconditional nature of God’s love is made clear in two more passages from Scripture:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

It is important to note that God’s love is a love that initiates; it is never a response. That is precisely what makes it unconditional. If God’s love were conditional, then we would have to do something to earn or merit it. We would have to somehow appease His wrath and cleanse ourselves of our sin before God would be able to love us. But that is not the biblical message. The biblical message—the gospel—is that God, motivated by love, moved unconditionally to save His people from their sin.

  Let’s look at how the Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God’s description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8), this is what He is like.

Love (God) does not force Himself on anyone. Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love (God) shows kindness to all. Love (Jesus) went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love (Jesus) did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love (Jesus) did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with. Love (God) does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love (Jesus) was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

The greatest expression of God’s love is communicated to us in John 3:16: “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.” Romans 5:8 proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can see from these verses that it is God’s greatest desire that we join Him in His eternal home, heaven. He has made the way possible by paying the price for our sins. He loves us because He chose to as an act of His will. Love forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

So, what does it mean that God is love? Love is an attribute of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. God’s love is in no sense in conflict with His holiness, righteousness, justice, or even His wrath. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony. Everything God does is loving, just as everything He does is just and right. God is the perfect example of true love. Amazingly, God has given those who receive His Son Jesus as their personal Savior the ability to love as He does, through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 23-24).

What is storge love?

The ancient Greek language had four words to describe different types of love: agape, phileo, eros, and storge. Only two of these Greek words are used in the New Testament, agape (self-sacrificial love) and phileo (brotherly love).

A third type of love, eros, expresses sexual love, but the word is nowhere to be found in the New Testament. The fourth Greek word for love is storge, which relates to natural, familial love such as the love between a parent and child. In the New Testament, the negative form of storge is used twice. Astorgos means “devoid of natural or instinctive affection, without affection to kindred.”

Romans 1:31 describes sinful humanity as having “no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” The Greek word translated as “no love” is astorgos. The other instance of this word is found in 2 Timothy 3:3, where it is translated “without love.” Paul warns that one mark of the “terrible times in the last days” (verse 1) is that people will lack natural love for their own families.

In Romans 12:10 we find an interesting compound: philostorgos is translated as “be devoted.” The word combines philos and storge and means “to cherish one’s kindred.” Believers in Christ, children of the same heavenly Father, are to “be devoted to one another in love.” As part of God’s family, we should show loving affection toward each other and be prone to love. Philostorgus is used only once in the New Testament, and that’s in Romans 12:10.

You can see it, you can feel it!!!!! And so it is with God’s love for you!!!!! It’s always present!I love you!!

In 1 Corinthians 13:7, we see that love is more than an abstraction or ideal; it is action. Four specific actions are “always” performed by true love, and the second is that love “always trusts” (NIV) or “believes all things” (ESV).

First, we should understand what this description of love does not mean. The fact that love believes all things does not make a loving person a dupe. Neither does it mean that love is naïve, undiscerning or credulous. We’re not talking about gullibility here, and a foolish lack of skepticism is not a part of love.

The Greek word translated as “believes” is a form of the verb pisteuo, which means “to believe, place faith in, or trust.” The word is a common one, used 248 times in the New Testament. Many times, this word is found in contexts in which belief is an expression of love.

Those who love will always “believe” in the other person. There is no second-guessing or questioning of whether the person should be loved. Love is simply given. It is unconditional. The loved one does not need to perform anything or achieve a certain goal in order to be loved. Just as Christ loves His children unconditionally, He calls us to love others. Love is based on who He is, not on what others do.

Some scholars suggest this teaching of “love always trusts” is directly connected to Paul’s rebuke of lawsuits earlier in his letter. In chapter 6 we read of believers bringing lawsuits against one another in the local courts. Love that “always trusts” would not do such a thing.

A person with God’s type of love will “always trust.” That is, he will not be suspicious of the one he loves. He will be slow to believe any damaging news concerning the loved one and will always give the benefit of the doubt. Whatever the situation, love is ready to trust. To trust someone means that you are “ever ready to believe the best” (AMP) of him or her. The loved one may have a checkered past or be in some other way undeserving of trust, yet true love is able to look past that and meet the need of the individual. Mistrust, cageyness, and suspicion are at odds with godly love.

If brothers and sisters in Christ would believe in one another, setting suspicion aside and extending unconditional love, what a difference it would make in the church! When our focus is on Christ, we can show His love to meet the needs of others.

The final verse of 1 Corinthians 13 lists three things that will always remain: faith (pistis), hope, and love. The Christian need never be without these gifts. His nature is to believe and to love.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the famous Bible chapter on love, the apostle Paul details God’s greatest gift. Part of the description of love is a list of negatives—what love is not. One of these negatives, found in verse 4, is love “does not boast.”

The Greek word translated here as “boast” means “to brag or point to oneself.” In contrast to the kindness and patience mentioned in the beginning of the verse, boasting is not a mark of love. Paul’s mention of boasting is significant, given his teaching against arrogance elsewhere in the epistle.

Earlier portions of this letter reveal that the Corinthian Christians were boasting about many things. They touted their allegiance to different apostles, creating division within the church (chapters 1–3). They were critical of Paul (chapter 4). They boasted of their tolerance for immorality within the church (chapter 5). They sued each other in court (chapter 6). These and other arrogant actions are ultimately countered in chapter 13, with love as the proper corrective. According to verse 4, real love does not boast. There’s no arrogance in love.

The actions of the Corinthians are sometimes  evident among today’s believers. Rather than live with kindness and patience (verse 4), many promote division within the church, criticize church leaders, brag of their enlightened attitude toward sin, and bring lawsuits against fellow Christians. The remedy for these flaws is found in 1 Corinthians 13. A Christian who exhibits godly love will not boast.

The reason that love does not boast is simple: love is focused on the loved one, not on oneself. A braggart is full of himself, magnifying his own accomplishments and too occupied with self-aggrandizement to notice others. Love turns the perspective outward. A person with God’s type of love will magnify others, focus on their needs, and offer help with no thought of repayment or recognition. When someone says, “Look at how great I am!” it’s braggadocio talking, not love.

Paul had chances to boast, but he chose not to. He had served the Corinthians without a salary, completely gratis, but he did not boast of his sacrifice. Instead, he wrote, “If I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Elsewhere, Paul wrote that no Christian has a right to boast about salvation: we are saved by grace through faith, “so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9; see also Romans 3:27-28).

Boasting is unloving and sinful. Those called to reflect Christ should strive for the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5), showing a love that draws people to the Lord and gives glory to the heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16).

First Corinthians 13 offers one of the Bible’s richest expositions regarding love. Verse 4 notes that love “does not envy.” So, selfish jealousy is at odds with God’s type of love.

The Greek word translated “envy” means “to burn with zeal.” Literally, the sense is “to be heated or to boil over with envy, hatred, or anger.” In the context of 1 Corinthians 13, the idea is that love does not focus on personal desires. It is not eager to increase possessions. God’s type of love is selfless, not selfish.

Envy is the opposite of God’s command not to covet (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21). “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). The one who truly loves will be in conformity to the Ten Commandments, and envy will be excluded.

In contrast to God’s command, the Corinthian believers were ranking some spiritual gifts as more important than others and envying those who had the “best” gifts. In chapter 12, Paul points out that the different gifts are meant to serve one another and build up the church. No one person has all the gifts, but each child of God has at least one, and love demands that each gift be used to serve others rather than self.

“Envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). When we crave what someone else has rather than being grateful for what God has given, we hurt ourselves. Instead of envying others, we are called to love them.

True love—God’s love—rejoices when others are blessed. There is no room for envy. Love does not seek to benefit itself and it is content with what it has, because its focus is on meeting the needs of the loved one.

First Corinthians 13:7 lists four specific actions that love “always” performs. The fourth and final one is that love “always perseveres” (NIV) or “endures all things” (ESV). There is a persistence to love, even in the tough times.

The Greek word hupomenei carries the idea of “remaining” or “enduring.” Love doesn’t quit or give up. Love lasts. The love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a fleeting romance or a fading feeling. Instead, godly love always perseveres. During good times and bad, the love of God’s people endures the challenges of life and remains steadfast.

In the wedding vows, a husband and wife take each other “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” The basis of this pledge is the fact that love perseveres.

Jesus modeled enduring love: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). During His most difficult night, He washed the feet of His disciples and prayed for them. His love even endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Earlier in his epistle, Paul had spoken to the Corinthian believers regarding endurance: “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Such perseverance in the face of opposition can only come from the love of God rooted in the heart.

Endurance for the sake of endurance is not the point of this teaching. It is endurance motivated by love for God and others. “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (1 Peter 2:20). We are called to endure for what is right. We must show love whether or not it is convenient or easy.

A person with God’s type of love will consistently seek what is best for his loved one. There is no fair-weather friendship in love. It’s not an on-again, off-again proposition, but a commitment to always seek the highest good, no matter what adversity befalls.

Many Christians use the cliché “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” However, we must realize that this is an exhortation to us as imperfect human beings. The difference between us and God in regard to loving and hating is vast. Even as Christians, we remain imperfect in our humanity and cannot love perfectly, nor can we hate perfectly (in other words, without malice). But God can do both of these perfectly, because He is God. God can hate without any sinful intent. Therefore, He can hate the sin and the sinner in a perfectly holy way and still be willing to lovingly forgive at the moment of that sinner’s repentance and faith (Malachi 1:3; Revelation 2:6; 2 Peter 3:9).

The Bible clearly teaches that God is love. First John 4:8-9 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” Mysterious but true is the fact that God can perfectly love and hate a person at the same time. This means He can love him as someone He created and can redeem, as well as hate him for his unbelief and sinful lifestyle. We, as imperfect human beings, cannot do this; thus, we must remind ourselves to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

How exactly does that work? We hate sin by refusing to take part in it and by condemning it when we see it. Sin is to be hated, not excused or taken lightly. We love sinners by being faithful in witnessing to them of the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ. A true act of love is treating someone with respect and kindness even though he/she knows you do not approve of his lifestyle and/or choices. It is not loving to allow a person to remain stuck in sin. It is not hateful to tell a person he/she is in sin. In fact, the exact opposites are true. We love the sinner by speaking the truth in love. We hate the sin by refusing to condone, ignore, or excuse it.

What is phileo love?

The Bible speaks of two types of love: phileo and agape. Both are Greek terms and appear at different points throughout Scripture. The Greek language also had terms for two other types of love, eros and storge, which do not expressly appear in the Bible.

To better understand phileo love, we need to take a brief look at the other types of love. Storge is an affectionate love, the type of love one might have for family or a spouse. It is a naturally occurring, unforced type of love. Some examples of storge love can be found in the stories of Noah, Jacob, and siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). While eros is important within a marriage relationship and is created by God (see Song of Solomon), it can also be abused or mistaken for storge love. The Bible is clear that sexual immorality (out-of-control eros) is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Agape speaks of the most powerful, noblest type of love: sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. This is the love that God has for His people and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins. Jesus was agape love personified. Christians are to love one another with agape love, as seen in Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

Finally, we have phileo love. Philia refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy. The Scriptural account of David and Jonathan is an excellent illustration of phileo love: “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. . . . And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1-3).

Since phileo love involves feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we do not have phileo love toward our enemies. However, God commands us to have agape love toward everyone. This includes those whose personalities clash with ours, those who hurt us and treat us badly, and even those who are hostile toward our faith (Luke 6:28; Matthew 5:44). In time, as we follow God’s example of agape love for our enemies, we may even begin to experience phileo love for some of them as we start to see them through God’s eyes.