What is love? That’s obvious, we all know the answer to that – don’t we? It’s surely one of the most confusing words in the English language! 

After all, loving chocolate/fish’n’chips/Dartmoor/football.......etc hardly expresses the same sentiment as the intimate ‘sweet nothings’ in a couples’ romantic relationships!

So, what is it? Love has formed the basis for countless novels, poems, dramas and songs. It can be all-consuming, uplifting and motivating, or, when it breaks down, heartbreaking and devasting.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, the movements of ‘hippies’ and ‘flower-power’ urged the people of the world to live at peace with one another, to ‘make love, not war’. 

A certain artist created a huge range of (very twee!) cartoons, such as ‘Love is....the little things we do for one another’. 

But what IS it? Is it ‘just’ an emotion or a feeling, or is it a lifestyle of habit?

Unsurprisingly, the Bible has hundreds of references to love, from three main aspects. There’s ‘brotherly love’ or kindness between people, and there’s physical or romantic love. Then there’s the dominant theme of the New Testament, that of ‘agape’ love, the selfless, all-giving love that God has for His created world and people.

One of the most well-known passages describing love is often used at weddings, and includes ‘love is patient and kind, not envious, boastful, proud, rude, selfish or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs, rejoices in truth, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.’ (1Corinthians13).

John (one of Jesus’ followers) tells us in his first letter (ch4) that God IS love, He loves us (unconditionally), and that we are to love one another. Do we? Can we ‘love our neighbours (and even our enemies) as ourselves?’ By asking Jesus into our lives, we can.  

David King

Okehampton Baptist Church