Love in the Bible: From God's Love to the Most Romantic Scriptures

Bible Cross Bible Verses About Love
Tetra Images / Getty Images

The Bible contains a treasure trove of scriptures about love, including passages that speak of the most romantic love (eros), brotherly love (friendship), and divine love (agape). At His core, God is love, the Bible says. But love is not merely an attribute of God's character; love is His very nature. God is not just "loving." God alone loves completely and perfectly, for He is love.

Want to know more about the meaning of love? This selection is just a small sampling of the many scriptures on the topic.

Love Triumphs Over Lies

The love story of Jacob and Rachel, in the book of Genesis, is one of the most captivating episodes in the Bible. It is the story of love triumphing over lies. Jacob's father Isaac wanted his son to marry from among his own people, so he sent Jacob to find a wife among the daughters of his uncle Laban. There Jacob found Rachel, Laban's younger daughter, tending sheep. Jacob kissed Rachel and fell deeply in love with her. 

Jacob agreed to work for Laban seven years to earn Rachel's hand in marriage. But on their wedding night, Laban deceived Jacob by substituting Leah, his older daughter. In the darkness, Jacob thought Leah was Rachel.

The next morning, Jacob discovered he had been tricked. Laban's excuse was that it was not their custom to marry off the younger daughter before the older one. Jacob then married Rachel and worked for Laban another seven years for her. He loved her so much that those seven years seemed like only a few days:

So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. (Genesis 29:20)

The Most Romantic Scriptures

The Bible affirms that a husband and wife can fully enjoy the pleasures of marital love. Together they are free to forget life's cares and delight in the intoxication of their love for each other:

A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. (Proverbs 5:19)
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine. ( Song of Solomon 1:2)
My lover is mine, and I am his. (Song of Solomon 2:16)
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! (Song of Solomon 4:10)

In this succession of four amazing things, the first three refer to the world of nature, focusing on the wonderful and mysterious way things travel in the air, on land, and in the sea. These three have something in common: they do not leave a trace. The fourth thing highlights the way a man loves a woman. The previous three things lead up to the fourth. The way a man loves a woman is an expression, meaning sexual intercourse. Romantic love is wonderful, mysterious, and perhaps the writer suggests, impossible to trace:

There are three things that amaze me —
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman. (Proverbs 30:18-19)

The love expressed in the Song of Solomon is the absolute devotion of a couple in love. The seals over the heart and arm symbolize both possession and undying commitment. The love is so strong, like death, it cannot be resisted. This love is eternal, transcending death:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6)
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned (Song of Solomon 8:7)

Love and Forgiveness

It is impossible for people who hate each other to live together in peace. By contrast, love promotes peace because it covers or forgives the faults of others. Love does not hold on to offenses but covers them up by forgiving those who do wrong. The motive for forgiveness is love:

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12)
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Love Contrasted With Hate

In this curious proverb, a bowl of vegetables represents a simple, common meal, while steak speaks of a luxurious feast. Where love is present, the simplest of foods will do. What value is there in a sumptuous meal if hatred and ill-will are present?

A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate. (Proverbs 15:17)

Love God, Love Others

One of the Pharisees, a lawyer, asked Jesus, "Which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus' answer came from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It can be summed up like this: "Love God with everything you are in every way possible." Then Jesus gave the next greatest commandment, "Love others in the same way you love yourself."

Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:14)

A true friend is supportive, loving at all times. That friend develops further into a brother through adversity, trials, and troubles:

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

In some of the most striking verses of the New Testament, we are told the supreme manifestation of love: when a person voluntarily gives up his life for a friend. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice when he laid down his life for us on the cross:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

The Love Chapter

In 1 Corinthians 13, the famous "love chapter," the Apostle Paul explained the priority of love over all other aspects of life in the Spirit:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

In this passage, Paul described 15 characteristics of love. With grave concern for the unity of the church, Paul focused on love between brothers and sisters in Christ:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 ... (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

While faith, hope, and love stand above all spiritual gifts, Paul asserted that the greatest of these is love:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Love in Marriage

The book of Ephesians gives a picture of a godly marriage. Husbands are encouraged to lay down their lives in sacrificial love and protection for their wives like Christ loved the church. In response to godly love and protection, wives are expected to respect and honor their husbands:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)

Love in Action

We can understand what real love is by observing how Jesus lived and loved people. The true test of a Christian's love is not what he says, but what he does—how he lives his life truthfully and how he treats other people.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

Since God is love, then his followers, who are born of God, will also love. God loves us, so we must love one another. A true Christian, one saved by love and filled with God's love, must live in love toward God and others:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Perfect Love

The basic character of God is love. God's love and fear are incompatible forces. They cannot co-exist because one repels and expels the other. Like oil and water, love and fear don't mix. One translation says "perfect love drives out fear." John's claim is that love and fear are mutually exclusive:

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. (1 John 4:18)
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Love in the Bible: From God's Love to the Most Romantic Scriptures." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 27). Love in the Bible: From God's Love to the Most Romantic Scriptures. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Love in the Bible: From God's Love to the Most Romantic Scriptures." Learn Religions. (accessed March 26, 2023).

Watch Now: Bible Verses About Love