The Highest Form of Love


Agape is the highest form of love. This kind of love is not something we can work up on our own; it is an outflow of the Holy Spirit.

How God Loves: The Fruit of the Spirit

It’s a good idea to remind ourselves what the Bible teaches regarding love. We pray it helps you care for others as Christ does.

In the 105 verses in 1 John, love is mentioned more than 40 times. That’s a lot of verses in such a short epistle about love. With seven words, however, the apostle John summarizes his teaching on this important topic, “We love, because He first loved us.” We love Him because He first loved us, and we love others because He first loved us.

Agape is the highest form of love. Of the many times love is mentioned in the New Testament, most of the references are to agape love. This is what John 3:16 speaks about. This love is totally sacrificial and committed to the well-being of another. This is God’s kind of love. It is a fruit of the Spirit who indwells us (Gal. 5:22). When we look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, we can look at it like this:

  1. Joy is love enjoying.
  2. Peace is love resting.
  3. Patience (or long-suffering) is love waiting.
  4. Kindness is love reacting.
  5. Goodness is love choosing.
  6. Faithfulness is love keeping its word.
  7. Gentleness is love being able to empathize.
  8. Self control is love being in charge.

This kind of love is not something we can work up on our own; it is an outflow of the Holy Spirit. It is amazing that love is so complex, and yet John, “that apostle whom Jesus loved,” summarizes it so beautifully by saying, “We love, because He first loved us.”

This excerpt is adapted from Dr. Stanley’s online article, “About Love.”

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