When I read The Bible it seems as if I am always looking for meaning, for a way to connect the verse or story to my own life. I particularly enjoy stories and verses on love. The quotes below are some of my favorites.
Quoted from the New International Version of The Bible, these verses could leave you feeling dreamy about your current relationship or perhaps rethinking your approach, wondering if you could do more to make your relationships with family members stronger, more loving. They are often spoken in weddings, or printed in anniversary announcements, birth announcements, and even love letters. They also make nice reading when you're feeling lonely or sad.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
The following quote is a favorite for weddings. It reads like poetry, and speaks to the heart in ways that few poets can because of its candid veracity when defining the complicated emotion of love. This complete selection is often used for celebrations, but it is also quoted at times in sections, generally using either verses 4-7 or 11-13.
"(4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily-angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (8) 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. (9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part, (10) but when completenes comes, what is in part disappears. (11) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (12) For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (13) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." --1 Corinthians 13:4-13
1 John 4:16-19
This next quote is important for what it says about love and fear, two emotions that often seem to battle for our hearts. This is an explanation as to why love should win, because "there is no fear in love," and when we guide our actions by feelings of love, we are closer to God.
"(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. (17) This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on that day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. (18) 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. (19) We love because He first loved us." --1 John 4:16-19
The following is from the Book of Ruth, a flawless story about loyalty and love told in 85 short verses. When Ruth made a promise, she did so with all of her heart and soul. When it comes to relationships and committment, we can all learn from Ruth. These poetic words may appear to be speaking of the relationship between a man and a woman, but Ruth is speaking to her mother-in-law. Ruth's husband has died, and his brother and father have died, as well, leaving Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, Orpah, her sister-in-law, and Ruth to fend for themselves. They also lived in Moab, which was plagued with drought. Their situation was a desperate one. Naomi heard that conditions were better in Israel and suggested that the three women should travel there and try to make a better life for themselves in Bethlehem, the place of her birth.
Travel was not easy for these three women who had little more than the clothes on their backs and Naomi felt guilt and remorse for asking her daughter-in-laws to join her on this journey. She told them to return to Moab to their families. The two women sobbed, begging her to change her mind, but Naomi had nothing to offer these two young women. She was aging and could no longer have sons. She had no money or land. Orpah and Ruth sobbed, begging her to change her mind, but Naomi was determined that she was making the right decision. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and returned to Moab.
Ruth, however, refused. She had grown to love her mother-in-law as her own mother. She was committed to her as family. Naomi was of a different religion. Ruth's family were pagans. They lived a very different life, but when Ruth agreed to marry Naomi's son, in her mind, she made a committment to join his family, to live as his family lived and love each and every member of his family as her own. Ruth also kissed Naomi, but instead of turning to leave, she made the following speech, committing herself in love, both to her mother-in-law and to the God of Israel. From that moment on, their souls, and their futures, were bound together forever. It is a beautiful statement of family love and devotion.
"(16) But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (17) Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever severely, if even death separates you and me." --Ruth 1:16-17
The following verses are words of advice quoted from Jesus as he explains the importance of loving everyone, even those who may cause us harm. In time, we all learn that hatred causes more harm to ourselves than it does to those we hate. In this section, Jesus is trying to explain that love can transform you, change you into a better person as you strive for perfection. No, we will never be perfect, we will never be God, but the harder we try to treat others with love and respect, to treat God's world, creations, people with the same love that He would show them, the closer we come to perfection.
"You have heard it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." -Matthew 5:43-48
This last section speaks of the love God has for His people, and His willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate this love. It is said that there is no pain greater than the loss of a child. According to The Bible, God sent his own son, Jesus, to earth and allowed his son to be sacrificed so that the sins of His people, His children on earth, could be forgiven. Jesus, innocent of the crimes he was accused of committing, willingly agreed to sacrifice his life for the good of all others, including his enemies. It was the ultimate act of love.
"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
There are so many verses on love in The Bible that we often have many favorites. Please feel free to discuss your favorites in the comments section below, or discuss your feelings on the verses I have quoted above.