Agape Love; the Genuine Love of God is True Love

Agape Love

God is agape love

1 John 4:7-9 Dear friends, let us continually love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. 8 The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent his unique Son into the world so that we might live through him. (ISV)

Agape love; given to the born again believers

God’s genuine love for us is free; nothing a person does earns agape love. What loving father would require that his children do something to earn love? God is the Father of all who are born into His family. He shows His love by giving us what we need.

This Bible study is about the love that is given to those who are born of the Spirit of God. They are the (born again) children of God.

Key Points:

  1. Genuine (sincere/true) love revealed: 1 John 3:16 Here is how we can know what genuine love really is: It was [demonstrated by] Jesus laying down His life [on the cross] for us. And [because of that] we [too] should [be willing to] lay down our lives for [the sake of helping] our brothers [and sisters]. (AUV)
  2. This love is not earned but given because of its source, God. 1 John 4:19-21 We love, because God first loved us. 20 If a man says ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his Brother, he is a liar; for the man who does not love his Brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 Indeed, we have this Command from God—’He who loves God must also love his Brother.’ (TCNT)
  3. Jesus gave a new command: John 13:34-35 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (CEB)
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Agape Love
Fruit of the Spirit (Study 1)
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Agape Love – Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. (NLV)

A conditional gift from God

Agápē is the only form of love gifted by God (to those who have faith in Him). Some believe this is unconditional love in fact according to The Voice translation: “The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love“. Be careful, many phrases like ‘unconditional love’ are not in the Scriptures (Bible) and do not have significant backing or support. Allow me to demonstrate: to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, one must have faith (Galatians 3:14).

Faith in God becomes the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit, without it, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). If we do not have the Holy Spirit, we do not have agape love. Without the Holy Spirit, you do not meet the condition required to receive this (form of) love.


Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14

The love from God is from the Greek ἀγάπη agápē (ä-gä’-pā) love (affection; benevolence {desire to do good}, charity. It is an unselfish (willing to make sacrifices) spiritual love. Jesus says this love (agape love) is the greatest form of love. John 15:13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. (GNT) ♦ This love is more of purpose than of feeling.

Faith, hope, and love are permanent; love is the greatest of the three graces.

1 Corinthians 13:13 So these three things continue forever [endure; remain]: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. (EXB)

To get the best meaning of this love, let us turn to the Scriptures:

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NHEB)

What does love do?

As you learn how to love or as your love matures/grows. These are some of the things agape love will bring about in your life. They are natural acts of true and genuine love.

  • Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 (AKJV), “But I say to you, love your enemies,
    • bless them that curse you, {bless – “speak well of” or “speak well to:”[1]; curse – primarily signifies “to pray against, to wish evil against a person or thing,”[2]; “give them good words for their bad words[3]}
    • do good to them that hate you,
    • and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; {Pray for those who do bad things to you and who make it hard for you. (NLV)}
  • Paul tells the Corinthians, “…Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” [1 Corinthians 8:1 (NSB)].
  • According to 1 Corinthians 13:6, Those who have love are full of joy (rejoices) to see others walking in (living according to) truth.
  • love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins [covers a multitude of sins; Proverbs 10:12; Luke 7:46–47] 1 Peter 4:8 (EXB)
  • 1 John 4:18, There is no [reason for] fear if one [really] loves, but a complete love removes fear [from us] because fear produces punishment [i.e., mental anxiety], and the person who is [always] afraid does not have a complete love. (AUV)
  • Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (The Voice)
  • Agape love is the perfect merger. It brings mercy, kindness, meekness, gentleness, and patience together.

Therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on hearts of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; 13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. If any man has a complaint against another; just as Christ forgave you, so you do the same. 14 And above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. – Colossians 3:12-14 (RKJNT)

Most importantly, love each other deeply
1 Peter 4:8a
Agape love is…

Love is patient, and is kind; [1 Corinthians 13:4 (RKJNT)] ♦ …love is from God… [1 John 4:7 (NWR)] ♦ …love is perfected (accomplished) (matured) through us… [1 John 4:12 (NSB)]

Love does not / is not (never)

love does not envy; love does not boast, and is not arrogant; 1 Corinthians 13:4 (RKJNT)

1 Corinthians 13:5-6 love is never rude, never self-seeking, never easily provoked to anger, never keeps account of wrongs; love never rejoices at evil, but rejoices in the triumph of truth; [based on (OEB)]

[1]Barnes Notes || [2]Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words || [3]Matthew 5 Clarke’s Commentary

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Agape Love
Love of God (Study 2)
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Love of God – God loves you – do you love Him? – Agape Love

Romans 5:3-5 and 8 And not only so, but let us have joy in our troubles: in the knowledge that trouble gives us the power of waiting; 4 And waiting gives experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us.

8 But God has made clear his love to us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us. (BBE)

The phrase ‘love of God’ has two meanings

  1. Love that comes from God to His people. Examples:
    1. He gave us control of and over the earth: Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (KJV) [reference: Hebrews 2:5-9 (key verse: 8)]
    2. He gave up His life and suffered for us [Hebrews 9:23-28 (key verse: 26)].
  2. The respect and adoration people have for and obedience to God.
    1. We must show that we love God by giving our lives to Him [Romans 6:15-23 (key verses: 16, 18 and 22-23)].
    2. We must go through this life in obedient fear and respect for God. (see related ‘Bible studies’ below)
Note: The Scriptures listed are samples of what is in the Bible to support the stated.

Love of God revealed

1 John 5:2-4 By this we know [without any doubt] that we love the children of God: [expressing that love] when we love God and obey His commandments. 3 For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey].. 4 For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]. (AMP)

Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep (obey) my commandments!” [John 14:15 (NSB)] He wants us to do what He says to show our love of God. Prove that you love God, obey Him!

I correct and discipline everyone I love.
Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act
Revelation 3:19 (GW)

Remain in the love of God

John 15:9-10 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (NKJV)

The Lord said in John 14:23-24 If a man loves me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. (RKJNT)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

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Agape Love
True Love (Study 3)
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True Love – Agape Love

1 Peter 1:22-23 You have made your souls pure by obeying the truth through the Holy Spirit. This has given you a true love for the Christians. Let it be a true love from the heart. 23 You have been given a new birth. It was from a seed that cannot die. This new life is from the Word of God which lives forever. (NLV)

Brotherly and Husband Love

Our love (philadelphia; fraternal affection; brotherly love) for other believers in Christ must be genuine, sincere and true love. True love is authentic and pure. It is the faithful love* that a husband must have for his wife. The love that Christ has for the church.

* agapao is the verb form of agape. Reminder: a verb is used to show physical/mental actions, and / or a physical (state of being) / mental (state of mind) condition.

Ephesians 5:25 and 33 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (KJV)

Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives [with an affectionate, sympathetic, selfless love that always seeks the best for them] and do not be embittered or resentful toward them [because of the responsibilities of marriage]. (AMP)

True love is selfless, sincere, and genuine love

Romans 12:9 begins with agape love and verse 10, with philadelphia love. Joining affection for other believers with love from God is a strong message in the New Testament. It is selfless true regard for others. Placing their needs ahead of yours. This portion of the letter to the church in Rome is another example. Do you show these forms of love?

Romans 12:9-11 Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. 11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. (CEV)

True love is shown by actions

Make your love known by what you do for, and how you treat others. You can say you love a person; you prove it when you act like it!

1 John 3:18 My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. (TEV)

The Thessalonians set a good example. Paul acknowledged what they did in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “we thank him for all that you have done because of your faith. And we thank him for the work you have done because of your love. (ERV)”

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Study Outline / Scriptures
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Agape love outline
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  • Summary: 1 John 3:16-23 (focus verses: 16-19; key verses: 16 and 18); 1 John 4:7-11 (key verses:7-9); 1 John 4:17-21 (key verses:19-21); John 13:31-35 (key verses: 24-25)
  • Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:16-26 (key verses: 22-23)
    • Gift from God: Galatians 3:10-14 (key verse: 14); Hebrews 11:1-7 (key verse: 6)
    • Definitions: 1 Corinthians 16:13-18 (key verse: 14); John 15:9-17 (key verse: 13); 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (key verses: 1-3 and 13)
    • What does love do? Matthew 5:43-48 (key verse: 44); 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 (key verse: 1); 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (key verses: 6 and 7); 1 Peter 4:7-11 (key verse: 8); 1 John 4:17-21 (key verse: 18); Colossians 3:12-17 (key verses: 12-14)
    • Agape love is: 1 John 4:7-16 (key verses: 7 and 12)
    • Love does/is not: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (key verses: 4-6)
  • Love of God: Romans 5:1-11 (key verses: 5 and 8)
    • Two meanings: Genesis 1:26-31 [(key verses: 26); reference: Hebrews 2:5-9 (key verse: 8)]; Hebrews 9:23-28 (key verse: 26)
    • Revealed: 1 John 5:1-5 (key verses: 2-4); John 14:15-18 (key verse: 15); Revelation 3:14-22 (key verse: 19)
    • Remain: John 15:9-17 (key verses: 9-10); John 14:19-24 (key verses: 23-24); Romans 8:31-39 (key verses: 38-39)
  • True love: 1 Peter 1:22-25 (key verse: 22)
    • Brotherly/Husband: Ephesians 5:22-33 Key verses: 25 and 33); Colossians 3:18-25 (key verse: 19)
    • Selfless: Romans 12:9-21 (key verses: 9-13)
    • Actions: 1 John 3:16-23 (key verses: 16 and 18); 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 (key verse: 3)
  • Conclusion: 1 John 4:12-19 (key verse: 12); 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 (key verse: 4)
Agape Love

Agape love is perfect love

1 John 4:12-19 No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us. His love is made complete in us. 13 Here’s how we know that we are joined to him and he to us. He has given us his Holy Spirit.

14 The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We have seen it and are witnesses to it. 15 God lives in anyone who agrees that Jesus is the Son of God. This kind of person remains joined to God.

16 So we know that God loves us. We depend on it. God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love is joined to God. And God is joined to them. 17 Suppose love is fulfilled among us. Then we can be without fear on the day God judges the world. Love is fulfilled among us when in this world we are like Jesus.

18 There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear. That’s because fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love. 19 We love because he loved us first. (NIRV)

Agape love is perfect love, it comes from God. You freely receive it and it cost nothing to use it. Give it to others, show them how to use it. Let everyone know that you are a loved child of God; love others and God with agape love.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 My dear friends, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you to be his people. (CEV)

Show your agape love! Be blessed—I love you, ♥ Tim ☺.

Love never ends.
{never fails;
will never become unproductive}
1 Corinthians 13:8
Related Bible studies:

What We Hope For || Respect God; It is Absolutely Good Advice For Life || Fear God

Question for “agape love”: Is God the source of your love?

Note: The Greek word eros is not used in the New Testament. What is Eros Love?

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

If you have questions or care to discuss this, send me a private email message using this form:

Copyright information:
(AKJV) American King James Version – public domain. || (AMP) Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ( || (AUV) It is our understanding that the An Understandable Version is in the creative commons via e-Sword. || (BBE) Bible in Basic English – public domain. || Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible Scripture quoted by permission. || Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission. || (ERV) Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: EASY-TO-READ VERSION © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center, Inc. and used by permission. || (EXB) The Expanded Bible Scripture taken from The Expanded Bible. Copyright ©2011 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. || (GNT) and (TEV) Scripture quotations marked (GNT) are from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission. || (GW) Scripture is taken from GOD’S WORD®, © 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group. || (ISV) Scripture taken from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version®. Copyright © 1996-forever by The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission. || (KJV) King James Version 1769 revision – public domain. || (NCV) Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. || (NHEB) – public domain – You may publish, copy, memorize, translate, quote, and use the New Heart English Bible freely without additional permission. Wayne A. Mitchell Mark D. Harness. || (NIRV) Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version®, NIrV® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. The “NIrV” and “New International Reader’s Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ || (NLV) It is our understanding that the New Life Version is in the public domain via New Life Version – || (NSB) The New Simplified Bible may be quoted without express written permission of the publisher. Please give credit to the New Simplified Bible when quoting from it. New Simplified Bible. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Copyright (c) 2003. || (NWR) The Noah Webster’s Revision of the KJV 1833 – Public Domain. || Open English Bible (OEB) The OEB is under a Creative Commons Zero licence – that is, it is in the public domain. Read the current release of the OEB New Testament online. || (RKJNT) Revised King James New Testament – public domain. || (TCNT) It is our understanding that the Twentieth Century New Testament, copyright 1904, is in the public domain via Twentieth Century New Testament – || (The Voice) The Voice Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bishop Pettiford

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