What Does It Mean That “God Is Love”?

the·ol·o·gy noun : the study of God

We study God through His Word each Thursday on the blog. Our goal is to present the truth of God in a way you can digest and apply. This week we’ll tackle the truth that “God is love.”

Google is a bad theologian. Did you know “What is love?” was the most searched phrase in 2012? When it comes to love, we’re all looking for looking for answers. When I plugged the question “What is love?” into the search bar, these answers actually appeared on my screen . . .

  1. Love is chemistry. “Biologically, love is a powerful condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent.”
  2. Love is a force of nature. “However much we may want to, we cannot command, demand, or disappear love, any more than we can command the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain to come and go according to our whims.”
  3. Love is a fever. “Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will.”

No wonder we’re confused. If love is something that happens at a chemical level, we should be able to mix one part feelings and two parts actions and always come up with true love. If love is a force of nature, is it more like a tornado or a sunny day? Is it truly as unreachable as the stars? If love is a fever, should we avoid it like the plague? Is it a sickness we want to catch or one we want to get rid of?

Thankfully, the Bible offers a much simpler definition of love.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).

God = love.
Love = God.

Notice that these passages don’t say that God is loving as if love is simply an action He is prone to take, but that He is love. But what does that mean exactly?

Love defines God. Love is His core. Everything He does is loving. In the same way that being a good student, a musician, or an artist might be so much a part of who you are that it defines you, love is so much a part of who God is that it defines Him. He doesn’t just show love. He isn’t just loving. He is love. It’s who He is.

We see this demonstrated in powerful passages like these:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

But God shows his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

I have a note on my phone that I must read to myself often. It says:

“As I pray, I’ll measure your love by the cross and your power by the resurrection.”

It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that God doesn’t really love me when sin sinks its claws into my life. It’s easy for me to think that God isn’t really loving when things don’t go my way.

But the truth I choose to stand on is . . .

God is love.

It is who He is. It is who He always will be. He proved it on the cross and in a million acts of kindness toward me since.

Love is not a chemical response. It’s not a tornado. It isn’t a sickness.

God is love. He is loving to His very core.

How should this definition of love impact how we live?

PS: I found this post, “Love is Not a Verb,” helpful. You might, too!


About Author

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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