What type of love has been the most meaningful in your life? There are many types of love demonstrated from the Bible—parent to child, husband to wife, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, friend to friend, and brother to brother. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, we find the definition of love:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.”
How does the definition of love above manifest itself in the lives of real people from the Bible?
Lesson #1) The Father to His Children
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)
There was only one tree that Adam and Eve weren’t to eat from; however Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat and she did. Eve gave Adam to eat and he did as well. From that moment sin entered the world and everyone was born into sin. There was a separation between God and man that could only be made right through sacrifice.
God loved us so much that He gave His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us because of our sin. He patiently wants everyone to come to Jesus Christ so that they won’t have to experience eternal death. God is kind in that He allows the sun to shine and the rain to pour on everyone. The Father in heaven is not easily angered, but longs for everyone to come to Christ.
Lesson #2) Jacob to Rachel
“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” (Genesis 29:20).
Jacob was running for his life from his brother and he ended up at his uncle Laban’s home. He met Rachel for the first time and fell in love with her immediately. He worked seven years to earn the right to marry her only to be tricked by Laban. His uncle gave him Leah, Rachel’s sister instead. Jacob had to work seven more years for the love of his life, Rachel.
Jacob  persevered in his love for Rachel by working 14 years to marry her. He did not delight in the evil done by Laban, but he rejoiced in the truth of being married. His love never failed for Rachel even after her death in the desert.
Lesson #3) Naomi and Ruth
“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” (Ruth 1:16).
Naomi left Bethelem with her husband and two sons, but while in Moab—all three men died. Although Naomi strongly encouraged her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to stay in Moab, she refused and instead became a believer in God. Her dedication to Naomi revealed the depth of love she had for her. God blessed Ruth with a good husband, Boaz, and she gave birth to a son who would become the grandfather of King David.
Ruth was not self-seeking after her own interests, but she wanted to be available to help Naomi. By protecting and trusting Naomi, Ruth  set the standard for how a daughter-in-law can show love to her mother-in-law.
Lesson #4) David and Jonathan
“And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself” (1 Samuel 20:17).
After David killed Goliath, King Saul brought him into his home. David and Jonathan became best friends and looked out for one another. When Saul wanted to kill David out of jealousy, Jonathan intervened to save his life. They wanted the best for each other in spite of Saul’s hatred. After Jonathan was killed in battle, King David remembered his friend and took care of his disabled son.
Jonathan did not envy David’s success. David did not boast of the great things he was able to do through the Spirit of God. Their friendship of love always hoped the good of each other. Both young men honored each other’s covenant with each other.
Lesson #5) Paul and Barnabas
“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles” (Acts 9:26-27).
Paul was an amazing preacher for Jesus Christ and the building of the kingdom of God. But he had a bad past—he used to persecute Christians. Therefore many believers had a difficult time accepting Paul into their fellowship. It was Barnabas (also known as the son of encouragement) who took Paul under his wing and convinced the church leaders that he was an effective evangelist and witness for Christ. Paul and Barnabas worked together to build the church. There was a falling out between them over a brother named Mark; yet Paul later asked that Mark be brought to him.
Barnabas kept no record of wrongs against Paul  when others were afraid of him. Paul was not boastful about the amazing miracles that happened through him. Both men persevered in their love for the Jesus and the church.
How do you show love to those God has placed around you? Your demonstration of love in the face of trials and tribulations is a testament of God’s grace upon your life.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
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