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Does the Bible teach that God is love?

Bible teach God is love

The Bible does teach that God is love, yet it also describes that He is much more than just love. In 1 John, the apostle John affirms twice that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). In many other passages, the Bible describes the love that God expresses, but only John actually says that God is love. Clearly, John is not implying that God is only a concept or that He is equal to love. On the contrary, John consistently recognizes God as personal, but described as love. While love is a central attribute of God, there are other divine attributes that are important, and one in particular may be even more definitive of who God is.

While John records that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), he also records the scene in heaven with the four creatures who constantly say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 4:8). John explains that God is love, but he also communicates that the creatures God surrounds Himself with repeatedly affirm His holiness. It seems that God most wants to be understood as being holy, or totally set apart.

The scene John records in Revelation is similar to what Isaiah sees in Isaiah 6. God is sitting on His throne, and Isaiah sees seraphim who are constantly calling out, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isaiah 6:3, AMP). Isaiah understands the grace, compassion, and lovingkindness of God (Isaiah 43:4; 48:14; 61:8; 63:9). At the same time, Isaiah records the priority God places on His own holiness. This helps us understand that God’s love is much higher and “more” than any kind of love we could imagine. As Isaiah also records, God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). In other words, even God’s love is defined by His holiness. We should remember that, while God is love and He is very loving, love is an expression of His holy character. Consequently, we have to rely on Him to define what love is and how He wants us to express that love.

Thankfully, God does exactly that. He affirms His love for all humanity (John 3:16) as expressed through Jesus Christ. He challenges those who have believed in Jesus to think like Him, maintaining the same love (Philippians 2:2) and following His example of humility and service to others (Philippians 2:5–8). Because God has loved us, we ought to love Him and each other (1 John 4:19). If we are loving God with the holy kind of love He expects, we must also be loving our brother (1 John 4:20).

God is holy, and He is love. He has expressed His love to the whole world in many ways, but most significantly through Jesus Christ. He expects us to receive His love by believing in Jesus (Romans 5:1–2), and then we need to learn more about how to love Him and love others in a manner worthy of our calling (Ephesians 3:14–19; 4:1). God is holy. God is love. As we have become His children by belief in Jesus Christ, He expects that we would reflect both holiness and love (1 Peter 1:15–16; 1 Thessalonians 4:9).

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Does the Bible teach that God is love?
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This page last updated: February 16, 2023