Summary: What is love? Our society tells us so many deceptive things about love, but what does God’s word say about it...


Date Written: August 22, 2012

Date Taught: August 22, 2012

Church: OPBC (Wed Night)


Series Title: A Study of 1 Cor 13 [LOVE]

Sermon Title: What is Love - Introduction

Text: 1 Cor 13 NIV (read ALL passage here)


What is love? What does it mean to say that we ‘love’ someone? Our world has its own meanings and we know that it twists this word to places that God did NOT intend…

Love in today’s world is all about a physical attraction and personal happiness. Love is used in just about every case in today’s world as a noun… like it is something we can HOLD or TOUCH or SMELL!

We hear people say things like “I fell in love with him!” or the opposite of that “we have drifted apart and we have fallen out of love” as if love was a place where we can park our hearts and dwell for a lifetime!

I believe it is safe to say that our world’s view of love is far removed from the love God describes in His word. We can study all throughout the Bible on love and we can come to a good knowledge of what God reveals to us as TRUE love…

Let’s take a look at some of the words for love in Scripture:

In the OT there is…

There is the Hebrew word aw-hab’ which represents wide myriad of things: It can represent God’s love for humanity, humanity’s love for God, humanity’s familial love or love of another human OR it can mean human affection for some other thing such as food or a pet…

There is also the Hebrew word khaw-shak’ which is a word that means to come alongside and attach yourself to… a reference to God ‘choosing’ Israel b/c He loved them!

Another Hebrew word for love is Racham which means to love deeply, to have mercy, to be compassionate or have tender affection, to have compassion upon someone.

In the NT there is…

There are the Greek words:

Philadelphi’a which is a brotherly love for those around you

Philathanpi’a which is a general love of humanity; a benevolent love wishing to meet the needs of others

Eros which is the erotic and romantic love between husband and wife

Agape which is a love that comes without conditions or strings attached… it is a love that loves for love sake… this is a picture of God’s love for us!

There are many other words from Scripture, both in the OT and the NT that are translated into our ONE English word we call love…

But what does the word love mean in our society today? According to Wikipedia on the internet, in English, the word love refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes of the human condition. Love is described as an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment.

However, what Wikipedia says and what our common culture reveals are two different things. Our society places so much emphasis on what I would call the ‘Hollywood’ culture or ‘Hollywood bias’ when it comes to almost any subject.

Today when ‘love’ is mentioned in Hollywood it generally means that 2 people have come together in what Hollywood would consider a meaningful sexual relationship.

In our society today things are quite backward from what God has set forth in His word about love and companionship. In God’s plan a person would commit in love to another person thru a cultural ceremony and then a sexual relationship would begin.

However, today, that commitment and ‘love’ is NOT a prerequisite to a sexual relationship… but society actually believes that a sexual relationship leads to a loving relationship.

But I don’t want to get too far off what we are talking about here and that is LOVE and what LOVE really is for the believer! I am NOT here to talk about sex, but about love. I want to further condense our study on love to a particular focus on love and that is the love believers are called to have for those around them and for the world.

We know that, as believers, we are called by God to love those in the world, those who are fellow believers and those in our lives that God has placed there… we are called to love ALL people regardless of who they are, what they do, or how they treat us… and this is a really difficult job!

Have you ever thought about what that command from God means? God has told us to love Him with all our hearts, soul, body, mind and strength AND to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! Or if we boil it down to a phrase… we are called to Love God and Love people!

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