This post begins a four-part web series studying the concept of biblical love as detailed in the most important passage on the subject. Through careful exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13 we will attempt to understand the biblical theology of love and its practical application.
Although much has been spoken and written on the subject, it is a needful emphasis for at least four reasons:
1. God is love.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. ~ 1 John 4:8
2. God loves us.
God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God – the agony of the cross. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.” ~ C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves.
3. Our love is flawed.
Since love is one of the most important attributes of God, it follows that therefore our understanding of love is bound to be most under attack by the world and the god of it. This is why false views of love are promoted in Super Bowl ads and chick flicks. This is why we are afraid of close relationships and friendships with others. Paul called Timothy “his beloved son”, yet we are afraid to show love toward others because our concept of love is shaped by our culture.
4. God’s Word places a high importance on love.
It is the first in the list of fruit of the Spirit-filled life:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love . . . ~ Galatians 5:22
It is the first and greatest commandment:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. ~ Matthew 22:37-39
In the next post we will learn from 1 Corinthians 13:1 why love is the most important character quality of a Christian.