What Is the Meaning of "God Is Love" from 1 John 4:8?

1 John 4:8 says "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." So what does it mean that God is Love?

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What Is the Meaning of "God Is Love" from 1 John 4:8?

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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.1 John 4:7-10 NIV

God is Love - Bible Reading and Prayer of Love

1 John 4:8 - “God Is Love”

The following is commentary by Matthew Henry on 1 John, Chapter 4:

Verses 7-13: As the Spirit of truth is known by doctrine (thus spirits are to be tried), it is known by love likewise; and so here follows a strong fervent exhortation to holy Christian love: Beloved, let us love one another. 

Verse 7. The apostle would unite them in his love, that he might unite them in love to each other: "Beloved, I beseech you, by the love I bear to you, that you put on unfeigned mutual love.’’ This exhortation is pressed and urged with a variety of arguments: as I. From the high and heavenly descent of love: For love is of God. He is the fountain, author, parent, and commander of love; it is the sum of his law and gospel: And every one that loveth (whose spirit is framed to judicious holy love) is born of God, The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. The new nature in the children of God is the offspring of his love: and the temper and complexion of it is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love, Gal. 5:22. Love comes down from heaven.II. Love argues a true and just apprehension of the divine nature: He that loveth knoweth God, He that loveth not knoweth not God, 

Verse 8. What attribute of the divine Majesty so clearly shines in all the world as his communicative goodness, which is love. The wisdom, the greatness, the harmony, and usefulness of the vast creation, which so fully demonstrate his being, do at the same time show and prove his love; and natural reason, inferring and collecting the nature and excellence of the most absolute perfect being, must collect and find that he is most highly good: and he that loveth not (is not quickened by the knowledge he hath of God to the affection and practice of love) knoweth not God; it is a convictive evidence that the sound and due knowledge of God dwells not in such a soul; his love must needs shine among his primary brightest perfections; for God is love (v. 8), his nature and essence are love, his will and works are primarily love. Not that this is the only conception we ought to have of him; we have found that he is light as well as love ch. 1:5 ), and God is principally love to himself, and he has such perfections as arise from the necessary love he must bear to his necessary existence, excellence, and glory; but love is natural and essential to the divine Majesty: God is love. This is argued from the display and demonstration that he hath given of it; as 1. That he hath loved us, such as we are: In this was manifest the love of God towards us.

John Gill on 1 John 4:8 KJV "God is Love"

"He that loveth not, knoweth not God"

If a man loves not the children of God, those that are born of him, he does not know, so as to love God, the Father of them; for to pretend love to God, the begetter of them, whom he sees not, and not love those who are begotten by him, and are visible objects of respect, is a contradiction, and cannot be reconciled: see ( 1 John 4:20 ). This clause is left out in the Ethiopic version, and is transposed in the Syriac version, which reads the text thus, "for God, is love, and whoever loveth not, knoweth not God". By which reading, the following reason stands in close connection with ( 1 John 4:7 ).

"For God is love"

he loves himself; there is an entire love between the three divine Persons, who are in the strictest, and in the most inconceivable and inexpressible manner affected to each other; their love is natural and essential: God loves all his creatures as such, nor does he hate any of them, as so considered; and he bears an everlasting, unchangeable, and invariable love to His elect in Christ Jesus; of which an instance is given in the following verses, and is a reason why the saints should love one another; that they might be like their heavenly Father, by whom they are begotten, and of whom they are born, and whose children they are; seeing he is love itself, and in his breast is nothing else but love.

God Is Love - Related Bible Verses

“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

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:16-19

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NIV

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations" Deuteronomy 7:9

Sources    

1 John 4 Commentary - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete) - Biblestudytools.com

1 John 4:8 - Commentary & Verse Meaning - Biblestudytools.com


Originally published March 09, 2020.