Here we focus on the general concept of love for God and neighbor. The application or expression of this love is the focus of two other sections of this website: "Love for God" and "Love for Neighbor." Various character qualities that may be an expression of love are also found on a different page.
What is "love"? The world tends to distort it, pervert it, or sometimes leave it undefined or open for each person to "decide for himself." God, however, not only defines it, but shows us how to have it, toward whom we should have it, when, why, etc. Scripture not only defines it by giving us facts and commands, but it illustrates it by examples. And when we think we have finally understood the concept, Scripture expands it even further and applies it to every aspect of life - even to those people we would rather keep it away from.
A short overview of what it means to love one's neighbor.
My own translation.
This page has links to several articles about character qualities listed in 1 Corinthians 13. (These studies are included on the "Character Qualities" page.) At present, articles are available for only some of the character qualities. (Maybe someday in the future...)
This includes: 1) a worksheet that focuses on the general concept of love (as defined by the Bible), and 2) "Teacher's notes."
Though the phrase "love for neighbor" is based on a passage in Matthew, the main focus of this worksheet is on the application of this command to one's life, as shown in 1 Corinthians 13. Included are the worksheet and some "Teacher's notes."
Sometimes, when people express rage or anger to someone who they believe has done something wrong, they claim they are giving him "a piece of their mind." As followers of Jesus, we must respond differently.
A specific focus on love for enemies
This is an overview of what "love for enemies" is all about.
Many character traits that the world considers the opposite of "love" are not that way, according to the Bible! Or they are that way only part of the time.
This is part of a study on values and priorities. The section about Matthew 5:43-48 is mainly a list of questions for personal reflection, based on these verses. The section about "hate" looks at a verse that describe "hate" as necessary - and shows that there is no contradiction between the two passages. [Note: One section of the study uses the "Value Chart" (a link is included for that page), but you can skip it, if that is not the purpose of your study.]
Here are instances in which both concepts are found in the same passage. This includes passages where: 1) the fear and love are being directed toward the same object (such as toward God), 2) the one is a response to the other (such as fearing God results in the receiving of his love), or 3) the two concepts are just in the same context, but not in any way that implies contradiction. In only one instance does fear and love go against each other.
This passage describes a type of "fear" that is not compatible with "love." False teachers sometimes use this verse (out of context), when attacking the concept of "fear of God," which they claim is incompatible with "love for God."
The Bible says...
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
But I tell you: Love your enemies ... that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45)