Sunday, May 8, 2011


Here's a loaded question. What is love? What is your definition of love? That is a question that has gotten quite a few strange looks and answers when I have asked it. Christians will say, well God is love. We know God is love, but that is a definition that defines an attribute of God rather than a definition of the word. I have been looking into scripture and listening to sermons on love, and I have come across an interesting little fact, the Bible never defines the word love. Amazing isn't it? The Bible never defines love, rather it describes it.

We all know or have heard the love chapter found in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen. Movies have this in them, weddings, and many people quote parts of it all the time.

1 Corinthians 13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I made verses four to seven bold in this chapter because that is the biblical description of love. Now, as we read these verses we see that love is described by adjectives here, as in all our English translations (the translation I used here is the NASB). An interesting fact though, is if you study the Greek version of this, the language they penned it in biblical times, you will see that all these words were used in verb form. What is a verb? Well it's a word that shows an action. This is the description of love, these things in action.

Something we always miss in the definition of love is we say it's a feeling, or abstract, or an attitude. Well according to this I would have to disagree. Love is not an attitude, for attitudes are not reliable. Love is also not a feeling, though that's how our society defines it this day. Lets be honest, how reliable are our feelings? One day we feel one thing and the next it's different and so it goes. If we rely on feelings we are in essence relying on our own wisdom (man's wisdom is foolishness to God).

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends

I could give many more examples of God's love, for His love is always in action. Read the scriptures and make note of every time God shows His love in an action, your page will fill up with verses rather quickly.

Many people these days are all about God's love, and that's good in a sense, however it is more times than not turned into a mushy crazed feeling that totally misses the true aspect of what His love is. Another thing (and this drives me crazy) is that so many progressives, liberals, and emergents are overemphasizing God's love, to the point of turning God into something He is not. A type of love that goes contrary to what scripture teaches, to the extent of turning God into a universalist, or a pacifist "sissy". Don't fall for these foolish teachings, for they are heresy and contradict God's word over and over. God is love, and thankfully so. Lets just be discerning and know the true essence of that love. May god's peace and blessings be with you.

This is a portion of a sermon by John MacArthur, (the best modern day preacher since Spurgeon) who inspires me to write these blogs and who fills my head with much of the information I use, and it is a story that shows the true demonstration of love (in action):

Abraham Lincoln made a lot of friends, made some enemies. One man who became a... rather outspoken enemy was named Stanton, some of you historians remember him. Stanton just despised Lincoln. In fact, in print he called him "a low, cunning clown." And on one occasion he nicknamed him "The original Gorilla." And he said that: "It was ridiculous for people to go to Africa wandering around trying to find a gorilla when they could find one easily in Springfield, Illinois." Very bitter toward Lincoln and Lincoln never ever replied to him, never said a word to him.

It came time to choose war minister for the United States government and Lincoln chose Stanton. Somebody said, "Why?" He said, "Because he's the best man."

The years wore on an the biographer said this, "The night when the assassin's bullet tore at Lincoln's life, in the little room to which the President's body was taken there stood that same Stanton, looking down into the silent face of Lincoln in all its ruggedness and speaking through his tears these words, quote: 'There lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen,' end quote."

He never accepted Lincoln's politics but he couldn't resist his patience. He couldn't resist the non-retaliating spirit of the man.

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