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The Importance of Love

God’s benevolent concern for humankind. All religions have some idea of the importance of love. Christian theology stresses the importance of love because God has revealed that he is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both what God is and what he has done; God always acts in love.

Love is a transitive reality—that is, it requires an object. In the Bible, love is described as personal (between persons) and selfless (desiring the best for others). Christians see God’s love in sending his Son to die on the cross to save sinners (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Christians are to be known by the fact that they love God and others (John (13:34-35). Their love is not to be like the love the world has (Luke 6:32, 35). Love is best seen in actions and in most cases is to be identified with what we do—in our compassion and commitment to those around us, regardless of the object’s virtue (1 John 4:19). Our loving attitudes and behavior are to reflect God’s love. Jesus said that only two commands are needed to govern our lives: love of God and love of neighbor. If such love is demonstrated, all the law and prophets are fulfilled.

The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton , IL; 1984), p. 353