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What is Christian Love?

Updated on June 27, 2011

What is Christian Love?

Often times as Christians, or for people whom are regularly around Christians, we may hear the term "Love" repeatedly. This may be in many different contexts, it may refer to love for a spouse or family member, as well as a friend, fellow Christian, and even a complete stranger. Below is what this authors humble opinion of the Apostle Paul's explanation of love, what love is, and what it is not, and how it may apply to us today.

1Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

In today's society there are many examples of hollow "sacrifice." Friends and family whom say they are "sorry," but there failure to repent shows that their words are merely "clanging cymbals." Actions that people take in public, for recognition, such as a politician kissing a strangers baby as a photo opportunity, or a wealthy person extending charity to someone who is less fortunate, but doing so publicly, in order to draw media attention are prime examples of impure acts of "love." Is this really love, or just away to inflate ones self image, and draw good publicity?

  • Regardless of what we may say, it is not our content that may or may not make the difference, but the spirit, or reason for which we are communicating.
  • Why? How often have you wondered why someone is doing something? Ego, selfish ambition, public recognition (like the Pharisee), or is it out of love?
  • Is it truly self sacrifice, or are they being the proverbial "martyr?"


Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (1Co 13:7 ESV)
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Co 13:7 ESV) | Source

Now that Paul has laid out what love is not, or at least why it is not love if the motive is not "pure", he spells out what TRUE love is:

1Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Love. Love is what should set Christians apart from the "world." Throughout Scripture, love is mentioned NUMEROUS times. When Paul was explaining "love" to the Church at Corinth, he was talking about love as an action, not as an emotion. When you read through the passage above, he does not speak of love as something that you have to "fall" into, or be "born" with. Love is either a positive action (or attitude) or the failure to react with a negative action (or attitude). Love is selfless, if you are loving, you cannot be preoccupied with yourself, you must think of others before yourself.

  • One example of true love (be a bit of an extreme example) would be someone who donates a kidney to someone else. This would be a selfless act, but it would be an even more serious act of "love" if this person was a complete stranger.
  • Someone who embodies Christian love would never be happy to hear of tragedy in any ones life. Regardless of the lifestyle or relationship that the "loving" person has with the individual who is suffering, they would only be concerned with helping them improve their situation.
  • A loving person never gives up, they are forgiving, and they have an insatiable desire to seek out the truth, regardless of the pain the "truth" may cause. (Much like parents whom repeatedly are taken advantage of by a child with a substance abuse issue. That's love.)

The Bible speaks repeatedly about Love, below you will find a number of versus that are "easy wins" when it comes to more fully grasping the concept of Christian love.

Matthew 5:44, 5:46, Mark 12:31, John 3:16, 13:35

See also Agape (Love in Greek)


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    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Hi biblicaliving.


      Love is an art of deeds expressed surpassing any vocabulary.

      Voted interesting.

    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      James, Thanks. I feel that many Christians have turned into a "clanging cymbal." At times, I even find myself guilty of this. Thank you, and God Bless!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Ah yes, love. Your message is lovely and well put. Thank you for publishing this needful Hub. It is very good!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      You are a great job, very concise and clear. Because of James 3:1, we indeed must live and write in the utmost integrity. So many fail to recognize that and put falsehoods into their writings, most without maoice. But we know Satan has evil intentions and will use anything to cause a falling away or confusion. Recently a person was confused after reading one of my Hubs. I was devastated that I might have written something to create that. But we corresponded over email and she now knows God's stand on the subject.

      Have a great day. HB

    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Hyphen, thank you, I appreciate your support and encouragement. I am trying to be careful and do a good job with all of my hubs, but especially with my Hubs that focus on the Gospel. James 3:1 ESV:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

      When I am writing about Jesus/the Bible etc., I hope that I am teaching, and being salt and light to the world. Thank you, and God Bless!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Often I wonder why love is such an issue for human beings. Just today I thought about parents who state "I would die for my child." And Jesus did just that. With that example, it all seems so simple. So why do we make it so difficult?

      I believe we often think it must be a huge act when really love is a compilation of many little loves. Loaning a cell phone to a person whose car has broken down, returning a shopping cart for a disabled person, just small seeming things that make a big impact in one's life. These are the loves that validate the words of Jesus, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35.

      This is a great reminder, thank you for this Hub.