Daily Bible Study Tips –

God is Love: Love One Another

Love one another, because love comes from God.

In fact, God loved us enough to send us his son.

God loves us.

Because God loves us, we should love one another.

More of God is Love

This page was most recently updated on 8/20/2016.
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I decided to do a little study called “God is Love,” and of course the first scripture I thought of was ... “God is love,” 1 John 4:8. But when I started reading the passage, I realized that there’s just too much content, too much theology, too much love in it to comment on in one day. So what we’re going to do is read one or two verses from 1 John 4:7 – 5:3 on Monday, and then read four or more other scriptures that agree with, illustrate, or elaborate on the verse from John during the rest of each week. Most of the readings are going to be short, so read them three or four times. The translation of John 4:7 - 5:3 is my own. If it sounds like your translation, it's because John's Greek is very simple and straightforward. Okay? Let’s begin.

Love one another, because love comes from God.

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (5/9/16)

Love begins with God. Those who know God and are born of God do love and will love one another. John sees no possibility of loving God and not loving each other.

Leviticus 19:9-18, 34 (5/10/16)

Loving one another is not a matter of warm, fuzzy feelings. God has very concrete ideas about what it means to love your neighbor. For example, you need to make sure they are fed, treated honestly, paid on time, and not lied about or hated. Furthermore, foreigners are to be treated exactly the same way. Why? “Because I am the LORD your God.” Love comes from God.

John 13:34-35 (5/11/16)

For three years, Jesus has led the disciples, taught them, and told them where to go, what to do, and what not to do. Now he has washed their feet as a servant. It is in this context that we must understand the “newness” of the commandment that he gives them, to love one another just as he has loved them. The idea that God’s people should love each other is not new; the idea that we should love each other as servants, not equals, is new.

Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-22, 28-29, 6:1, 6:4-5, 6:9, 6:23-24 (5/12/16)

Paul’s arguments are typically so long that it’s easy (and all too common) to cherry-pick a verse or two and use it to prove whatever you want to prove. This is especially true of Ephesians, where the argument we’re looking at today starts way back in Chapter 4 and runs through to the end of Chapter 6. (I have cherry-picked several verses for this study.)

Paul summarizes everything in 5:1-2, “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love,” and 5:21, “Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ.” All the rest of the three chapters is a series of concrete examples, similar to the ones we read in Leviticus. So maybe you aren’t in a parent/child, husband/wife, or master/slave relationship. These are only examples; the principle is that whatever relationship you are in with anybody, it should be governed by love, because you are both God’s children.

Hebrews 13:1-7 (5/13/16)

It’s easy for me to believe that God loves me and I should treat myself well. It’s fairly easy for me to believe that God loves you and my church leaders, and I should treat you and them well. It gets harder when I have to love total strangers and even criminals. Bearing in mind Jesus’ instruction to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16), but also knowing that God’s love extends to strangers and criminals, I try. Cautiously.

In fact, God loved us enough to send us his son.

1 John 4:8-9, “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. The love of God was shown to us in this way: that God sent his unique son into the world so that we might live through him.” (5/16/16)

“God is love” means that the divine nature of God is love. It doesn’t mean that love is God or that God can’t have other divine characteristics, such as, “God is light” (1 John 1:5); “God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29); “God is God of gods” (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalms 136:2, Daniel 2:47, 11:36”; or “God is my/our/a God of salvation.” A few more “God is...” statements may border on metaphor, e.g., “... your dwelling place” (Deuteronomy 33:27); “... my strong refuge” (2 Samuel 22:33); or “... a righteous judge who feels indignation every day” (Psalms 7:11).

So “God is love” isn’t the only definition of God in the Bible, but it appears to be one of only five: love, light, consuming fire, God of gods, and salvation. John says that salvation is a manifestation of God’s love.

Exodus 34:5-7; Joel 2:13b; 1 Kings 8:22-23 (5/17/16)

The Hebrew word chesed is hard to translate into English. Depending on the translation, you might see steadfast love, mercy, love, lovingkindness, or gracious love when this word is used in connection with God. When it’s used in connection with people, it can be translated keeping faith or loyalty.

Probably the most frequent description of God in the Bible is some variation on “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” No matter how you translate, God is love.

Psalms 103:1-14 (5/18/16)

David sings that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God loves us as tenderly as a father, even though we are dust.

Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 4:14-21 (5/19/16)

God loves us enough to save us from our own sins. Pretty amazing, really.

Galatians 4:1-7; 1 Peter 3:18, 1:3 (5/20/16)

God, who loves us as tenderly as a father, has the problem that we have run away. He sends Jesus, whose name means “God saves,” to bring us salvation and buy us a ticket to go home.

God loves us.

1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son, a propitiating sacrifice for our sins.” (5/23/16)<

We all want to be first – first to accomplish something, first to get to the finish line, first to ... whatever. If necessary, we make up categories. I could say, for example, that I was the first woman to start a daily online Bible study at St. John’s. Not the first to start a study, a Bible study, or a daily study; not the first woman to start a Bible study; not the first to start a Bible study at St. John’s; and probably not the first to start an online study. But definitely the first to start a daily online Bible study at St. John’s UMC in Albuquerque!

We want to be first so much that we want God to love us because we loved God first. The truth is much more amazing than that: God loved us first.

Deuteronomy 4:35-40 (5/24/16)

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew who God was, but by the time their descendants left Egypt, the children of Israel had forgotten. At the burning bush, God had to introduce himself to Moses (Exodus 3:6). Even so, Moses asked a telling question (Exodus 3:13): “If I come to the people of Israel, ... and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” It’s hard for us to imagine this, but the children of Israel had no idea who their God was! So when, about 40 years later, Moses says to them, “he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power,” it’s a reminder that the initiative in this relationship was totally God’s.

God loves every one of us, whether we know who he is or not. Bear that in mind the next time you are dealing with an unbeliever.

Hosea 3:1-2, 11:1-11 (5/25/16)

The prophet Hosea could not bear to give up his adulterous wife; even after she deserted him and fell into slavery, he bought her back. Hosea understood that God loves us even more than he loved his wife. When we desert God and fall into the slavery of sin, God longs for us and wants to buy us back.

Psalms 8:1-9 (5/26/16)

King David knew that God loves us, and he thought it was astonishing. God is so majestic, so glorious, that we could well imagine that he doesn’t even notice us. (As a matter of fact, this is almost exactly the theological position of Deism.) David knew that isn’t true, but he still asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”

John 16:23-28 (5/27/16)

One of the last things Jesus told his disciples is that God loves us.

Because God loves us, we should love one another.

1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love one another.” (5/30/16)

How many times have we heard God say, “Be holy, because I am holy”? God wants us to imitate him. You’ve heard me say before that I don’t think the Bible anthropomorphizes God so much as it tries to theomorphize us – to entice us to adopt the characteristics of God. Since one of God’s chief characteristics is love for us, John encourages us to love one another.

Deuteronomy 10:12-19 (5/31/16)

Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God, and the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor. Both those commandments are in this brief passage from Deuteronomy (and several other places). It also gives the reasons: love God because God loved your ancestors and you, and love your neighbor because God loves your neighbor.

Romans 12:9-17 (6/1/16)

Love is an action, not a feeling.

1 Peter 4:8-11, 2:16-17 (6/2/16)

Peter begins and ends this little passage with loving one another. He shows us that love is action by giving specific examples: hospitality, service, and honor not only for the deserving but for everyone. And in this election year, let’s try to remember to honor our public officials as well, remembering that we should always speak as one who speaks the oracles of God.

2 John 1:3-6 (6/3/16)

“Love one another” isn’t a new commandment. From the time God started giving us commandments, this was one of them. Jesus said it was the second most important commandment of them all. John thinks we need a reminder now and then, and so do Moses, Peter, and Paul, as we’ve seen this week.

More of God is Love
Love One Another
Dwelling in God's Love
Love God; Love your neighbor.

Copyright 2016 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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