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The Golden Text of the Bible: The Greatest Motive Is Love

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

The word for love in this verse is agapao. This word and the term phileo are often contrasted with one another with agapao meaning divine love and phileo meaning brotherly love. The meanings of these terms overlap considerably in many contexts, but there are some significant differences — phileo is likely to focus upon love or affection based upon interpersonal association, while agapao focuses upon love and affection based on deep appreciation and high regard. Perhaps we could extend the thought that while phileo is properly used only of a relationship between equals, agapao links persons of different conditions; i.e., rulers and fathers. Therefore, it is a generous love, full of thoughtfulness and concern. It is in this sense that God loves the world.

The gospel promotes a relationship between God and man — a relationship that is based on the love of God. God’s love was so great that He was willing to send His Son to death for our sins (Romans 5:8). When someone obeys the gospel of Christ, they have to manifest the characteristics of love just like God (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

An anonymous statement says, “If there is anything better than to be loved it is loving.” Because God loved you, you need to love the truth (cp. 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Loving the truth means following the truth. We will study more about following truth as these articles continue, so please keep reading.

Kyle Campbell

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