Tag Archives: Love of God

Love

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

I have trouble finding uplifting topics about which to write these days. If you are a Christian, and a conservative, the outlook, except for the hope of the Rapture, seems less than cheery. But today is Valentine’s Day, so what better topic to cover than “Love.”

The English word “love” appears 311 times in the King James Bible, 131 times in the Old Testament and 180 times in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, “love” is used to translate eight different Hebrew words. The most common Hebrew word translated as “love” is ‘âhab, and its first appearance is in Genesis 27:4 when Isaac asks Esau to prepare some “savory meat such as I “love.” The Hebrew word ‘âhab means “to have affection for (sexually or otherwise),” so it allows for a lot of latitude in the way that it can be used, much like the way we use the word “love” in our day. I “love” Whataburger!

The second most used Hebrew word translated “love” is ra‛yâh used nine times and all in the Song of Solomon. The word means “a female associate” and it is used in the same way we would use it in speaking to a girlfriend or wife – “my love.”

The third most used Hebrew word translated “love” is dôd (translated “love” seven times), which means “to boil, that is (figuratively) to love; by implication a love token, lover, friend; specifically an uncle.” I can easily associate “boil” with “love,” i.e., “passion,” but I do not get “uncle,” which is the way it is often translated. The Song of Solomon finds the most uses of the word dôd, which makes sense considering the content of the poem. It is used in Proverbs 7:18 by the adulterous woman seducing the fool, and in Ezekiel 16:8 describing God’s passion for Israel. Also in Ezekiel 23:17 it is used to describe Israel’s and Judah’s passion for idolatry like an adulterous woman.

There is no word in the Old Testament (that I could find) that describes God’s love like there is in the New Testament. Love appears as a verb (agapaō) 140 times and as a noun (agapē) 117 times (sometimes translated “charity”). Strong’s Dictionary translates it as “affection or benevolence,” but biblical scholars have long assigned greater meaning to the word. Indeed, when reading the “Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) in the KJV, agapē is translated as “charity” because “charity” better conveys the deeper significance of the word. As charity is selfless giving without expectation of reciprocation, so agapē expresses the love of God completely.

John expressed God’s love in the third chapter of his Gospel, “For God so loved (agapaō) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus said (our starting verse), “Greater love (agapē) hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). He proved this by giving His own life on the cross to rescue us from eternal damnation.

In like manner, Paul exhorts, “Husbands, love (agapaō) your wives, even as Christ also loved (agapaō) the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Love unselfishly without expecting anything in return. Although, I believe you will be rewarded.

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More Than Conquerors

More Than Conquerors

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

One of the greatest passages on the security of the believer is found here in Romans 8:31-39.  Paul begins this passage with a challenge reminiscent of David’s challenge concerning Goliath:  “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).  Surely David would have responded with the words of Paul, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (our verse).

In his counsel to Job, Eliphaz affirms, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).  Someone once said that even as Christians we are in one of three states of trials: we have either experienced trials, we are experiencing trials, or we will experience trials.  We are not immune from trouble, but in the midst of those trials we are encouraged that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

That “power,” “love” and “sound mind” are a result of the answer to Paul’s follow-up question:  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35)  If God did not spare His Own Son, but allowed Him to die on our behalf, will He then not freely provide or us in every way (Romans 8:32)?  Even the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) is unable to bring a charge against us because it is God Who has declared us just (Romans 8:33).

We are encouraged then, that nothing can come between us and God’s love for us.  Not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35).  Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). So, Christian, go forth fearlessly with confidence that the battle has already been won, and we are more than conquerors!

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