Three things happened recently, none directly related to the others, that cause me to bring them together, because of their subject.
One, Nelson Smith wrote a 475-page book that looks at every appearance of “love” in the NT, some form of the Greek words agapao/agape. I received a copy of it two days ago.
Two, Ron T. ends his remarks on the recent HuffPo article critical of the church with a thought on the nature of love. Seems to be a proper way to end a review of that article.
Three, I’m reading a Brazilian brother’s book on the love that transforms. He uses 1 Cor 13 as the basis for his work.
I don’t know the history of the copy of Smith’s book in my possession. It was apparently in some library, perhaps of some congregation. A library pocket and card, with no indication of ownership, are still on the inside back cover. The card is blank; no one ever checked it out. (It could be the second or third or fourth card, replacement for one or more previous cards, but I have my doubts.) The 1997 book is in very good condition, a sign that it was little used. (If the library card came from a private library, we’ll assume differing study habits rendered this simple work unnecessary.)
All that to say this: I can stand to study more and apply better the love of Christ in my life. Do we meditate carefully over a reference to love whenever it appears in a Bible text, or do we skim over it to get to the supposed important points more to our interest?
One post-NT writer said others observed of Christians, “See how they love each other!” Jesus said our mutual love is our badge to the world. “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another” Jn 13.35.
James pulls in the OT commandment, following the Lord Jesus, and dubbed it the royal law, the defining quality of our treatment of others: “But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” Jas 2.8.
Showing to everyone, friend and enemy, the love of God is the ultimate DNA test of sonship: “Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete” Mt 5.48 CEB.
Love lasts. All else fades. We may not be reading books or articles about love, but let us highlight it in our Bibles, see it in our heavenly Father, and imitate that selfless, sacrificial love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.