Terms in the Bible are specialized words of particular significance. In Coming to Terms we explore the significance of these terms to deepen our understanding of biblical truth through a question and answer and fill in the blank format.
(Fill in the blanks where applicable to gain a deeper understanding of the term. I’ve used the New Living Translation for the Scripture passages.)
Unpacking the term
Love is not just a word. It’s a term loaded with significance especially as it relates to God’s love. It is multi-faceted and manifested in all kinds of human and human-divine relationships. Love is a core attribute from which with other attributes such as grace, mercy, and kindness flow. It is a term that must be held in balance and understood in the context where it is used.
What does it mean when John tells us in 1 John 4:8, “God is ______”? It means He is the essence of love. He demonstrates love in everything He does. He defines what love is. The theme of the entire Bible is the self-revelation of God’s love. First Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us what love and God are like.
In the Bible we see God’s love manifested to different recipients.
We read in John 3:35 and 14:31 of the love of the Father for the ______ and the ______ for the Father. The Father takes pleasure in the Son (Matthew 17:2-5) even before the world began (John 17:24). In John 15:10 Jesus demonstrated His love to the Father through His submission and _____________.
God who is love created all things and providentially cares for all He has made. In Matthew 5:45 and 6:26 it says He gives his sunlight and rain to both the _______ and the good and even provides for ________.
This God of love created man in his image and likeness and with the capacity to love unashamedly (Genesis 2:25). But sin entered the scene and immediately distorted human-to-human relationships (Genesis 3:7, 12) and human-to-divine relationships (Genesis 3:10, 12, 23) with fear, accusation, shame, and separation.
What does God do to re-establish a relationship with man and personally bridge the gap? John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:1-5 tell us it’s because of His saving love for the ________ God sends His Son to rescue rebellious sinners and provide them with eternal life. In this He defines and displays real love “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Because of our sinful condition our hearts are impure and our ability to love is twisted. And because our hearts direct the choices and decisions to love we cannot love either God or others unselfishly. This is a condition that God has to correct before we can truly love. So in this we see His selecting love for His people (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Ezekiel 11:19 says He chooses to give some a new ______.
What else is required to be able to love unselfishly? According to John 3:3 and 1 John 4:7-8 because we are born with a sinful nature we must be ______ again by God’s Spirit. His Spirit pours His love into our hearts awakening a genuine response of love for God and others.
God’s active love for us is our pattern for loving others (1 John 3:16-18). Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loves us (John 15:12). In Matthew 22:37-39 it says the greatest human duty we have is to love God with the totality of our being and our ____________ as ourselves.
Who is our neighbour? Luke 10:29-37 says anyone who is in need is our neighbour and Luke 6:27-36 says even our ___________ is our neighbour. We are to treat others with respect and concern and put their interests on par with our own.
Why are we to, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12) and even love our enemies? Because, “Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:30-31, 35-36).
Finally, we also see in Scripture God’s love toward His people manifest in a provisional and conditional way—conditioned on obedience (John 15:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2). As believers, Jude 21 tells us God loves us with the love of a father for his children and tells us to _________ in his love by obeying Him.
By abiding in Him we become channels of His love to others (John 15:1-11). God’s love abides on us and He is pleased with us when we love as He does. Hebrews 12:6 tells us because He loves us He also ____________ us so we will be loving obedient children of the living God.
What can you do to love God and others as you ought?