I am continuing my look at the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ described in Galatians 5. Today I’m looking at love.
It would take much more than a single article to cover everything that the Bible has to say concerning love, so I’m not going to try. Instead I’m looking at some key themes.
Firstly, love is the greatest commandment. Jesus explained this in Matthew 22:37-39. In short – the commandment was to love God and to love others. This sums up all the laws in the Bible.
Love For God
Exodus 20:6 talks of the love God gives to those who love him. In the culture at the time, this use of the word love, as owed to a great King, referred to “total allegiance and implicit trust expressing itself in obedient service” . Joshua 22:5 reiterates this definition of Love for God.
Love for Others
The most well-known passge on love is of course 1 Corinthians 13. Not only does this give a good definition of Love in verses 4 to 7, by its position in the middle of a discussion of spiritual gifts, it highlights that love should be our motivation for all our serving and ministry – otherwise it’s totally worthless.
Love for fellow Christians
1 Thessalonians 4:17 encourages ‘brotherly love’, which in the New Testament means love of one Christian for another.
Love For Enemies
Our love for others should extend beyond just fellow Christians, and even the people we like. We are called to love our enemies as well. Jesus told us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27) and several old testamanet verses confirm that this was always God’s heart. Exodus 23:4-5 discusses kindness toward enemies. Leviticus 19:18 made it illegal to seek revenge or even hold a grudge aginst an enemy.
Love and Forgiveness.
Love is a permanent debt.
Romans 13:8 talks about love deing a debt that we owe to all people. This debt is never paid off. We are never “finished loving”. We owe it to others to continue loving and to never stop.
I’d like to finish by quoting in full, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
 NIV Bible Study notes. Copyright (C) 1985; The Zondervan Corporation.
 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.