The word love is very prominent in everyday life. It can be heard mostly in
popular songs and sprinkled liberally in most movies and television serials, especially
the soapies. Regrettably, much of the reference to love is very superficial,
associated only with emotions and, too frequently, really only associated with sex.
The Bible concept of love is much different. There are two words in the New Testament
that are translated as love in English. One of them covers the ideas of
affection and emotion, and the other suggests something more substantial having
morality and principle. The noted Bible analyst, James Strong suggests that the first
mostly relates to the heart and the second relates to the head.
Which do you think is the word used in John 3:16? "For God
so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall
not perish but have eternal life." Yes, it is the latter. Gods love was
of incredible depth and substance, so much so that he gave his only Son so that others
might be saved from eternal death.
There is another interesting use of the two words in the New Testament. You might
recall this passage. "When they had finished eating, Jesus said
to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?
Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you. " (John 21:15)
The words used for love in this verse are different in the original Greek
text. Jesus asked Peter if he had a substantial, principled love for him, and Peter
answered that he had great affection for Jesus. Peter had not, at that stage, reached
maturity in his love for Jesus.
What about our love? Is our love for our families and for Jesus substantial, as was
Gods love for us in providing his Son? Or is it only the superficial, affectionate
variety so evident in current society? Affection is important, but the Bible has suggested
that it must go hand in hand with love of a much deeper nature.
How Important is
Doctrine literally means a tenet, a belief or
teaching. It might be religious, political or philosophical. While some people
have a doctrine about some aspect of their life, many others avoid using the term because
they see it in a context of a fixed belief and prefer to be more flexible.
Probably the word is used mostly in connection with religion and the Bible. You might
be interested to know that the word doctrine occurs 51 times in the Bible.
Most of the occurrences are in the New Testament. The first usage was in reference to
Jesus. "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds
were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their
teachers of the law." (Matt 7:28-29.) (The word teaching here is
translated as doctrine in the King James Version.) It was evident that
Jesus doctrine was more authoritative than the doctrine of the church teachers.
Jesus alludes to the importance of doctrine in
"Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If
anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or
whether I speak on my own. "
It is obvious that the Christian should
follow Jesus doctrine as it came from his Father.
The Apostle Paul refers many times to the need for adhering to sound doctrine or
In his letter to Timothy (1 Tim 4:6), for example, he writes
you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus,
brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have
The Apostle John was also adamant that the doctrine or teaching of Jesus was the only
doctrine that the Christian can accept. "Anyone who runs ahead
and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in
the teaching has both the Father and the Son."(2 John 1:9)
It is important, then, for us to make certain that we know what the real doctrine or
teaching of Jesus is. And, as for avoiding doctrine and being flexible, Paul had this to
say: if we are mature "Then we will no longer be infants,
tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and
by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Ephesians 4:14)