1 John 3
by Philip Layton
God’s love for us should result in love for each other
- Do you think John believes that the devil literally exists (v 8)? What are the implications of your answer?
- Is it possible to have belief without action (v 18)?
- How does verse 23 compare to Matthew 22:36-40?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
People possess two basic desires: to love and to be loved. But how do we truly define what love is all about? According to Bartlett’s Book of Quotations there are some 1,300 different interpretations for the meaning of love given by poets, philosophers and authors. A child loves peanut butter sandwiches. A teenager loves a song on the radio. An adult loves certain clothes. A senior citizen loves retirement. We all love babies! These are all different interpretations of love – and have different implications.
What about God’s love and our love for God in return? For the next two weeks we are going to look at the word ‘love’, hopefully gaining some new insights into the implications of God’s love pouring into our lives – then out to others.
In the Greek language of the New Testament and the first century that followed, there were four distinct words to define the different kinds of love:
Stergo. This is the natural or innate love we have for family members: ‘I love you because you are my mother, my brother.’
Eros. Although not used in the Bible, the Greeks used this word to mean a selfish passion: ‘I love you because you bring me pleasure.’
Phileo. This is social, brotherly-sisterly love. Friend to friend: ‘I love you because I enjoy the friendship we share.’
Agape. This is selfless love. A love from God. To love with no expectation of a response. It’s about self-sacrifice: ‘I love you and only want what is best for you.’
God loves us so much. But he also commands us to love him and to love one another. It’s up to us whether we do so or not. Robert Street says: ‘To love is a choice. To resist loving God and others is our right. But unless we love, we cannot be his disciples and we will have left the greatest command of all unfulfilled.’
Father, thank you for loving me. As we think about this word ‘love’ in the coming days, help me to love you, and others, well.
Video: Gaz Rose