Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing devotions pulled from my study What is Love? based on 1 John 4.
To download a 14-day Bible study to accompany these devotions, click here.
If you want to read this series from the beginning, click here.


What is the fullness of love? That’s a big concept using words that aren’t entirely clear. Last week we ended by talking about how the more we learn about God and His love, the more can draw upon that love to love others even more. It’s a continual, growing process called regeneration in Christ.

This week, we’re going to see the specific example the apostle John gives us of that love, and what it means for us today. FF Bruce quote

Love Is a Choice

The followers of Jesus are children of God, and they should manifest the family likeness by doing good to all, even to those who deserve the opposite. ~FF Bruce, British biblical scholar

Pull up 1 John chapter 4 and look at verse 8. The apostle writes, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Notice the word choice there. John said whoever does not love. That means love is a choice. Whether it’s an active choice because the person irritates you or a passive choice out of laziness or busyness, it’s a choice to love.

Now, we get to the part when John defines love. Look at verses 9-10.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

A quick grammar lesson before getting to the fullness of love.

Look again at verse 10: This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us. That’s called a parenthetical negative. Did I lose you? Hang with me. A parenthetical is adding a bit of information to a sentence to further define what was previously stipulated.

Basically I mean this: John made a statement: THIS is love. Then he defines it for us by adding in additional (parenthetical) information.

But he starts his definition with the negative—emphasizing that we in and of ourselves never loved God. It’s a big neon arrow pointing straight to a key concept down in verse 19: We love because God first loved us.

John finishes verse 10 with the statement by throwing out the fullness of love, Jesus on the cross, a standard we can’t possibly hope to achieve on our own. Yet, the cross is a practical demonstration that God’s love is all about relationship, and when that relationship is broken (as it was in the garden of Eden back with Adam and Eve), His love focuses on restoration.


Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are. ~Phillips Brooks, American Episcopal clergyman

What a great place to pause for this week: God’s love focuses on restoration. In His fullness of love, He wants to be in relationship with you, but it’s not all lovey-dovey, easy-peasy. More on that next week.



Enjoying this series? You can purchase the study that includes discussion questions to make this all very personal and help you grow in love. It’s downloadable, so print only the pages you want. And it’s only $2!

What Is Love? Bible Study

What is love? We can give examples of love and talk about being in love, but what exactly is it? Do we have a defining moment, an ideal expression to live up to or look for? The apostle John goes deep into love in 1 John chapter 4, telling us exactly what love is.

This 14-day study includes questions to help you define what you think love is and what God may want you to do or change. Download is printable and formatted for half sheets of standard paper (5.5″ x 8.5″).

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