Bible Study Moment: God is Love

God is love.

This phrase appears twice in 1 John 4:7-21. There is a lot more in these verses to make it very worthwhile to read.

I’ve come to understand this statement as being more than giving a characteristic or attribute of God but stating God’s essence. So if asked, “Where have I seen God?” I think of examples of love being expressed. And it doesn’t matter who is expressing the love. At times it is easier to see God in the actions of someone who says that they don’t believe in God than it is in some who not only say that they are a Christian but claim that what they are doing is God’s will.

What I mean by love is how the apostle Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love isn’t jealous or arrogant or rude or irritable. Love doesn’t brag or seek its own advantage or keep a record of wrongdoing. Love isn’t happy with injustice but is happy with the truth.

Love is patient, kind, puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

A question that comes up is “How can we love someone that we don’t like?” Here is where understanding that love defines God helps, and understanding that as we mature as Christians we are called to become more Christ-like. (See Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 11:1 and other verses.) So we love because our nature is becoming as one who loves regardless of the likeability of the recipient, as God has loved us, which brings me back to 1 John 4.


Mark Phillips