Love is at the heart of the Christian message and so the Bible has lots to say about it. Here I list some of my favourite Bible verses about love.
The book of 1 John talks about love a lot. In 1 John 4:7-21 (entitled God’s Love and Ours in the NIV), love is mentioned a staggering 27 times. The passage talks about how ultimately, love comes from God, because God is love. God has shown us his love and therefore, we should show this love to others. Let’s explore some key verses in this letter:
1 John 3:11
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
Love is at the centre of the Christian message. As Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
The greatest demonstration of love is that Jesus died for us, so that we can be free from judgment.
1 John 4:7-9
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Love originates from God. He didn’t wait for us to love him before he loved us; he always has. What’s even more powerful is that God doesn’t just say he loves us, he acts on it. He shows us this love in the person of Jesus.
1 John 4:10-12
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
In sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, God did something incredibly costly to himself. He has always been full of love and chose to deal with the consequences of our sin himself.
1 John 4:16-18
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I really like the phrase “there is no fear in love”, as it shows we don’t need to fear or worry about judgment. We can have confidence that the punishment we deserve was poured out on Jesus on the cross.
1 John 4:19-21
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
God loved us first, and so we should love him, too. As a result, our love for God, whether it exists or not, will be shown in our actions.
Other Bible Verses About Love
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is one of the most famous verses of the entire Bible. I have often thought of it as the gospel in a nutshell. It speaks of the wonderful truth that God so loved the world.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
This passage is commonly read out at weddings, and it’s easy to see why. As two people declare their love for one another, these verses tell us about what love looks like in practice.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The Apostle Paul highlights how God shows us his love, just as we saw earlier in 1 John 3:16.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What’s the key to being a Christian? Love God, love others. If we live out these two commands, everything else will follow naturally.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
I love the book of Proverbs. It’s full of wisdom and offers some fascinating insights into how we should live. Here, Solomon is telling his son to keep God’s love and faithfulness (sometimes translated as mercy and truth) close together so that others will see it too.