10 Most Important Bible Verses on Love

10 Most Important Bible Verses on Love June 12, 2013

If you had to choose one, which is the most important love verse in the Bible?  Why would you choose one over the other?  What seems to be the most important verses in the Bible on love?

For God So Loved the World

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

Some manuscripts take the first part of this verse, God so loved the world and render it as “for this is how God loved the world.”  I like that very much.  When we get closer to the literal Greek wording of this verse, it gets even better.  We could read it as:  “For this is how God loved the world, that He gave His one and unique Son, that whoever believes in Him will never perish but have everlasting life.”  Either way you read it, this Bible verse may be the most important verse of all for it displays such a sacrificial love – a life-giving love – which is unequaled and unmatched in all the world.  Love is a verb and it’s what you do…and this act at Calvary was the most supreme act of love that has ever been displayed.  That Christ died for us while we were still His enemies and most unworthy sinners at that, shows that love is an act of the will and not a feeling in the heart.

Greater Love Has No Man

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

We could paraphrase this verse to read, No one has a greater love than that which he or she would willingly die for their friend. This reminds me of the many veterans who are serving and who have ever served their countries for their nation’s freedom.  Many did give their lives to defend what we often take for granted.  I have heard true stories of veterans who threw themselves on hand grenades to save their fellow soldiers lives but didn‘t live to tell about it.  Those whom they saved retell this most selfless act.  That kind of love reflects the agape love of God.   The agape love is the greatest love that there is and it is the type of love that gives a person over to sacrificing their own life to save another.  This love was most abundantly displayed on the cross by Jesus Christ.  He gave His life as a ransom for the many (Mark 10:45, 1 Tim 2:6).

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Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

It is natural to love your family and friends, but to love those who hate you and persecute you?  Wow.  God loved us before we even existed (Eph 1) and died for us while we were still sinners and His enemies.  By the way, anytime Jesus says “You have heard it said” He is referring to the Old Testament laws and so when Jesus follows that by saying “but I say to you,” He is referring to the New and better Testament.  This is a difficult one indeed and it can’t be done in human strength but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.  In this reference in Matthew, Jesus says that God is gracious even to those who are sinners, sending sunshine and rain to them…which are essential to life.  The analogy might be that God even gives the sinner’s good things in life because He is a benevolent God.  This is why good things sometimes happen to bad people.

Love Is Unselfish

First Corinthians 12:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

First Corinthians chapter 13 may be the greatest chapter on love in all the Bible and love is displayed here by many tangible evidences.  It is patient; with people and circumstances.  It is kind; to people and animals.  It doesn’t brag; about self but brags about others and glorifies God and gives Him the credit.  It isn’t arrogant; lording over people your position, power, or knowledge.  It isn’t rude; but polite and displays manners and proper etiquette.  It doesn’t insist on its own way; but give precedence and priorities to others, even if it has to compromise.  It isn’t irritable; it is not easily provoked to anger by people or circumstances.  It isn’t resentful; it rejoices when others succeed, even at their own expense.  It doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing; it never delights in other people’s sins…instead, it rejoices in the truth of the Bible, it bears all thing (all means all), believes all things (gives people the benefit of the doubt), hopes all things (hopes for the best for all concerned) and endures all (all, like being used, abused, persecuted and so on).   These things are love.

Love Your Neighbor as Your Self

Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The religious leaders were trying to trip Jesus up by asking Him which was the greatest commandment and Jesus nailed it spot on when He said that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, might, mind, and soul.  But we are also to love our neighbors.  Who are our neighbors?  In the Parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus showed that all men and women are our neighbors and so we should love them as well, even if they were a “Samaritan” to us.  Part of this command is not obeyed by many good Christians…the part where we are to love ourselves as our neighbors.  When we hate ourselves and are extremely hard on ourselves, we are breaking this commandment where we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Love One Another

John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

In what is called the High Priestly Prayer in John 13 and 14, Jesus gave the disciples, and by extension, all who would be His disciples, a new commandment.  This new commandment was to love one another “just as” or in the same manner that Christ loves us.  That is a big-time love my friend.  By this love we have for one another “all people will know that you are my disciples” and so this love for one another is evangelistic and it is diagnostic…diagnostic in the sense that it proves that we are either His disciple or we are not.  In the church today there are both wheat and tares and Christ will separate them some day.  Those who are His inherit eternal life…those that are tares, are plucked up and burned.

If You Love Me, Obey My Commandments

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

At first glance, this doesn’t appear to be worthy of being on anyone’s top 10 list of Bible verses on love, but wait…let me explain why I chose this one.  We display our love for others when they ask us to do something and we do it willingly because we love them.  If we truly love Jesus, why wouldn’t we want to please Him by obeying what He has told us to do?  Obedience is preferred over sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22).  Samuel asks a rhetorical question in this verse:  “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” God would rather have a person obey Him than to offer many or costly sacrifices because obedience shows respect and love for the one to whom it is given.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

First Peter 4:8  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

My children and grandchildren sin and will sin again but no amount of sins will ever stop me from loving them.  My friends have sometimes sinned against me too but to display my love for them, I am willing to forgive them, whether they ask my forgiveness or not.  Since we are all sinners, I can not cast the first stone and many times I have caught them in a sin but never mention it to anyone else.  Love does not gossip and when see others sin and don’t tell other people, we are covering for them.  The exception is that if it hurst the church…like gossip.  If they acknowledge their sin, repent of it, and confess it, then it is covered by God and so why would I gossip to others to say, “Hey, did you hear about so and so and what he/she did?”  Jesus death on the cross, and the love displayed in that action, covers all of our sins (2 Cor 5:21).   Proverbs 17:9 says much the same thing as the author writes, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” and that “love covers over all wrongs” (Prov 10:12b).

Love of a Friend

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

I have a close, special friend of mine who is a man and I am not ashamed to tell him that I love him.  I love him more than a brother.  This man is honest enough to tell me the truth, even when he knows it hurts and he is open enough to hear a friends rebuke.   King David and Jonathan had a love like this as described in 1 Samuel 18:1 “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” What a precious thing. Their souls were knit together…they were made of the same fabric, so to speak.  Jonathan loved David “as his own soul” which reminds me of Jesus’ second commandment of the two greatest…to love your neighbor as yourself.  This was repeated later in 1 Samuel 20:17 when “Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

Marital Love

Genesis 29:20 “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

Husband and wives love is reflective of Christ’s love for the church and the church of her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:25-28 is one of the best descriptions of how a husband should love his wife, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Men, there is no “plan B.”  This is an imperative command.   Men are to love their wives as themselves and as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her.  The greatest thing a husband can do for his wife is to love her.  Women, the greatest need for a man is to have respect for him because respect is interpreted as love just as women interprets love as respect for her.  Men and women have different needs and so for men it is to be respected and for women it is to be loved.  The husband and wife relationship is like that of Christ and the church in that it is a sacrificial love.  When a man loves his wife, he would willingly give his life for her while the wife would more easily submit for a man willing to do this.


To me, these are the 10 most important verses in the Bible on love. You may have different ones.  If you do, please leave a comment and tell us which is your favorite Bible verse or verses on love.  What Bible verse is the most important to you and why?  Add your favorite Bible verse on love in the comments section below so that we might add it to our Bible verse love bank and by doing so, we can accumulate a vast treasure trove of God’s infinite love for those who Christ died for and even for those who are outside of the faith.  There is no greater love, there is no love more sacrificial, and there is no love that dies in your place, than that of Jesus Christ who died for us while we were still His enemies.  Paul wrote of this exact thing in Romans 5:6-8,  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you have not yet repented, confessed your sins, and trusted in Christ to save you from God’s wrath, then you don’t know the full extent of Gods’ love yet.  John 3:36 says that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on himbecauseWhoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:18). I pray that is not you.

A good book to check out: 7 Biblical Signs Of The End Times

Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts

Article by Pastor Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.

Resources: The Holy Bible (NIV Version),

photo credit: YannGarPhoto.wordpress.com via photopin cc

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  • “LOVE” this article. It is amazing how many times the Bible tells us that we must love one another. So many times we hear “I just don’t love him any more” or “I never really loved her”, etc. These and similar statements are so “anti-Bible” because truly we are commanded to love everyone … even our enemies. My favorite has got to be:

    “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good
    to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45 KJV)

    I think we all need to memorize this passage so that the Holy Spirit brings it back to the front of our brain when we think we just don’t love someone.

    Thanks for this Jack, I am so encouraged by it today.

    • Jack Wellman

      Wow…love your idea about memorizing that passage Pam. Very good! One of the greatest mistakes, even among Christians, is that love is a feeling (a noun) instead of or more like action (a verb, what you do). Thank you for your encouragement.

      • Pauline Lewinson

        I like your list Jack. My favorite after John 3:16, is
        If You Love Me, Obey My Commandments
        John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
        I am amazed at how many people do not take this verse seriously!

        • Jack Wellman

          Amen Pauline. I think that verse shows that love is not just a feeling but an action, a verb, it is what you do and how amazing what He did for us. Thank you kindly.

  • Jerry Lynch

    Love is the only obedience of God; there is no other type. In such love of God, the commandment comes from our own heart and not in response to some set of laws; there is no ought to but a joyful want to.

    And if we are to love others as Jesus loved us, no longer as we love ourselves, then the only type of love is unconditional and selfless, which shows itself in various forms of expression, such as for our mate, friends, or children (and maybe not for chocolate, sports, and guns).

    It is amazing how much resistance I have encountered over the decades when turning the topic to love, as if the subject suggests in itself a certain naivete or vagueness about doctrine for the speaker. Quick cautions not to forget God’s justice, as if love were clueless about it. If God is love, justice is merely a component of that love and not something separate and distinct from love.

    Many Christians, and I mean many, seem to see a weakness in this talk of love, as if the speaker is some hippie (can’t tell you how many times I got accused of that) or teenager with a puppy affection to hug everyone response to life, lacking in any backbone to confront evil. Again, love is the whole character of God, all that He is and ever will be. Does God lack such backbone?

    Love, true love, is not blind or permissive but always has what is for the ultimate well-being of any soul as its end, which may mean, and often does, painful truth. Love has no expectations of a certain result or reward.

    No thought, no mental effort can teach us anything about love, and love
    is the only true knowledge we will ever have of God and the only vision of reality. Get rid of all you hold dear, both material and mental possessions alike. Let
    yourself be totally without virtue or image or any support for your faith but complete trust in God. Give Him all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength—and all means all; have nothing left for or of yourself. Let there be no room for boast. Be a means without ends, the sole purpose of life the moment you are in as the loving companion of God.

    Love gets all its strength from humility and humility is a gift from God. We are empowered by grace to surrender, to put all of our trust in God. God is jealous, but His jealousy is not covetous but wholly compassionate, overflowing with mercy and forgiveness.


    If your government declared the people you love most dearly in the world enemies of the state and ordered you to napalm their homes, would you rush to do so? This is what it means to go to war. Christ made it ruthlessly clear. The “enemy” is as much your loved ones as your friends, neighbors and family. You are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but your love is not his to take and use for his purposes. Love resides in the kingdom of heaven. Love is God’s to do with as He pleases. Only through trust in God, not certainty of belief, can the soul remain safe.
    Christians who believe it is okay to go to war are still living in the Old Testament, still living under the Law and the rules for a physical kingdom. This changed with the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Our kingdom is not of this world. The necessity for government and armies, with its border and honor to defend, is gone for the citizens of heaven. We now live in a spiritual kingdom where love is our only function and fulfillment. Our allegiance is to love alone. No events, no circumstances and conditions, decide the way of love. It is not influenced by causes or demands. The world has nothing of value that love either wants or caters to. Love is reality itself.

    • Jerry Lynch

      Love is the whole purpose of truth.

      Through Christ, love is now the “I am” both of God and man.

      • Jack Wellman

        Well said Mr. Lynch. I love your quote in the first comment sir…that love is the only obedience to God. Outstanding. That is just what Jesus was speaking about in the two greatest commandments.

    • Rosemary Mardjoedi

      ,I am bless reading about what łove in christ is all about. I will use it as a tool in my life. I also learn to write in english

    • lee

      Resistance to evil is also obedience to God

    • Amen. “Love and obedience are inextricably interwoven because all the commandments of God are summed up in the law of love.”–F.F. Bruce


  • tehsilentone

    “Men, there is no plan B.”

    even if you marry two women apparently?

    • Nine

      That started with Sarai offering Abram her maidservant in order to have a son. It was a mistake they made due their lack of faith. God delivered Isaac to Sarah anyway, but that doesn’t mean He condoned their choice to use Hagar for birthing Ishmael. Deuteronomy also commands kings not to take ‘many wives’, but most kings of Israel did just that.

  • moechtegern7

    I found a mistake. I only found it cause i was looking for this passage. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 not chapter 12. Thank you for the great insights.

  • Tom Tindell

    1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Not 12.

  • I love the opening line of Proverbs, where it talks about a wise man
    seeks wisdom, if more people read the opening of Proverbs they would
    know life is about wisdom and not money. The wise can find a way to make
    money, but money cannot make you wise. God Bless all who read this.
    Excellent work on amassing these very important scriptures. 5/5

    • Marichu Malalay



  • Herod Bhebe

    I like Genesis 29 v 20 it explains 1coritn 13 v 4 that talks about patience.Truly it seen that the love of Jacob for Rachel was really he was patient for 7 years and another 7 years again because Laban gave him Leah instead of Rachel

    • Jack Wellman

      Nicely stated my friend. That indeed is one that could have been included too. Thank you so much.

  • Julius C. Sistrunk

    Thanks for the powerful scriptures on love, I have a very powerful one to add,1 John 4: 7-21 read it. I wrote a song entitled Talking Is Easy But Living Is The
    Thing.. Its all about that Agape Love

  • james delinois

    John 3 :16 show me God is love and 1 corinthians 13:1-13 ; 1 JOHN 4:16 ;1 JOHN3:14.

    • Jack Wellman

      Mr. Delinois….love these three comments you made sir….and the gospel truth and spot on. Thank you .

  • james delinois

    Love is the whole purpose of God’s Creatures

  • james delinois

    There happiness when there is love, true love is health and life not money. Love without truth is hypocrisy

  • james delinois

    A church assembly without love is a place of hell

    • Jack Wellman

      Amen…so very true. Good point.

  • John Lawless

    Point one, God l0oves us. I don’t think this can be argued against. My point is the elevation of love to such a point it has overshadowed God’s other very important attribute and that is his attribute of holiness. I do not believe God ever intended his attribute of love to overshadow his attribute of holiness. God’s holiness is spoken of over 800 times in the Scriptures. Yes God loves us but that love originates in and finds its origin in God’s holiness.

    • Jack Wellman

      Amen to that Mr. Lawless. Isaiah thought he was a dead man when he saw the glory of God but so would I. He said “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Isaiah 6:5a). The word “woe” is a word meaning judgment and “ruined” basically means dead” so when Isaiah saw God’s glory he essentially said “Woe to me…I’m a dead man!” That’s why anytime anyone saw a vision of God or what is called an epiphany of God, they fell to the ground on their face.

      When Isaiah say the glory of God filling the temple he wrote about the angels over the glorious throne of God “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). This is the only attribute that is ever mentioned 3 times in all the Bible. These angels repeated this over and over again…holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…” This was all the angels ever proclaimed. Perhaps one Holy is for the Father, one is for the Son of God, and the other is for the Holy Spirit. Maybe the holy, holy, holy reflects God’s omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (everywhere present), and omniscience (all knowing). It could reflect His eternality as He was, is and will always be, but personally I think that holiness is His greatest attribute for Moses was told to take off his sandals for where God is, the ground is holy. Anywhere God is, is holy by necessity. In the Jewish vernacular, saying something twice is the greatest emphasis made…like Jesus saying “Saul, Saul, Moses, Moses, Abraham, Abraham…” but when something is repeated 3 times, it is off the charts emphasized…the most emphasis that the Jewish language had was repeating something twice so 3 is the greatest emphasis possible, therefore I believe that God’s greatest attribute is His holiness. Never was it written that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, grace, grace, grace although He is all of these, but only is it ever said 3 times about God “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

      • John Lawless

        Very well stated. I have a paper I have written as part of my doctoral studies on holiness at academia.edu. I believe the holies statement is not for the three but is the angels putting emphasis on the idea of God’s holiness. Hebrew does not have an exclamation point so the triple mention is for emphasis. As you so expertly stated holiness is the only attribute of God that receives this triple emphasis.

        • Jack Wellman

          Thank you Mr. Lawless. I believe that God’s holiness is the most overlooked of all His attributes, even though it may be His greatest. You may be right about the three statements by the angels as not being for the Three Persons of the Trinity but for the holiness of God being emphasized to the nth degree.
          I know that R.C.Sproul of Ligonier Ministries purpose is to reveal the holiness of God as part of their mission statement and the more I see of God’s perfect holiness and why I love His radio ministry, Renewing Your Mind. The more I see just how far I fall short of it and no wonder that God’s grace is so amazing.

  • Wonderful to see someone point out the true sense of John 3:16. In our lazy use of language we have forgotten that “so” means “thus.” https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/imghttpimg-2/

  • loveendures

    Very nicely described.

    Crucifixion was not the will of God. Only the Incarnation the Resurrection were the actions of God. God restrained Himself on that Friday, so we can have full freedom and Love came in that freedom.

  • David Mossmann

    That’s really awesome! Like it! It can really change us into a better person to think on bible verses like this!

    I’m curious how you like my page if you have the time to look at it 🙂

    God bless!

  • Elijah

    Absolutely, Love is God, to obey God we have to love him, his only through love that we can partner with him.

  • John 3:16 is the one that initially crossed my mind. Not in a trite way, but as the basis for our faith. Without it, nothing else matters.