In the Bible, love is not an option, but a commandment. Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”(Matt. 22:37 NIV) The second command is very much like the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39 NIV)The way we show our love for God is by our obedience to Him. When God created man and woman, He supplied them with a wonderful place to live, plenty of food to eat, and commanded them to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”(Gen. 1:28 NIV)In return, God wanted man to show his love by obeying His commandments. Even when Adam messed up by sinning and ushering death into the world (Rom. 5:12), God provided a solution. “For God so lovedthe world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Our love for God is demonstrated by our actions. One of the ways we can demonstrate that love is by obeying the second great commandment. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11 NIV)This links the first two great commandments about love. Godly love is reciprocal. We are responding to what God has done for us. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NIV)
All the words for “love” in the quoted scriptures are a translation of the Greek noun “Agape”or its verb form “Agapao,” but we should know that there are other forms of love in scripture. The Greek language had four different words for love: agape, phileo, storge, and eros.The first three are used in Scripture. A complete picture of the subject of love from Scripture will require further study of how each word is used.
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