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Session 11

God is love

Read: 1 John 4:7-17

Our culture is obsessed with love. Romance novels and movies teach us that love should make us feel good and we should do whatever it takes — even if it’s wrong — to get it.

But sex-crazed passion isn’t all there is to love — if that’s even love at all.

When the New Testament was translated from Greek, at least four words were translated as love:

  • storge (liking someone through the fondness of familiarity),
  • philia (the love between friends),
  • eros (the sense of 'being in love'),
  • agape (unconditional 'God' love).

With so many emotions wrapped up in one word, it’s easy to see how the idea of love can be misconstrued.

In a letter to early Christians, John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, gives us a better way to understand love. 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.”

Love is not something God does; it’s who He is. God is the source of our ability to love. And when we look to God as the standard of what loving looks like, it changes how we treat each other.  

God’s love is best demonstrated in Jesus’ life and death. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God’s love is self-sacrificing; it doesn’t rely on feelings or lust. God’s love is forever and complete; it’s not keeping an eye out for someone or something better. When we look to culture, love has become a confused, muddled word. But in Christ, love has been redeemed.  

Only when we truly know God are we able to love as He loves. John’s challenge to the churches in his day is the same challenge we face today. Having experienced this love, we are called to go out and share it with others (1 John 4:11).


  • What is one way God has shown that His love is different from what the world offers?
  • What is one way you can show God’s love today?

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