Jesus taught that loving God and our neighbor was highest priority—“first and greatest commands” (Matthew 22:36-40). His most detailed teaching on love is how to love our enemy (Luke 6:27-35). In his final teaching moment with the disciples, he introduces his new command—to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34).
The list of verses below shows how the Apostle John continued teaching Jesus’ priority of love in his writings. There is simply nothing more important than loving God and others. Nothing! Spend a season of time to read and meditate upon these passages so the priority of love sinks deep into your heart, soul and mind. You could also use these verses as a study in a group.
- “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:4-6)
- “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)
- “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” (1 John 3:10-11)
- “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)
- “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7)
- “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
- “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:20-21)
- “And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 5-7)
Loving Father, help us to follow the apostles’ example of being Jesus’ hands and feet through loving others as he loved them (and us!). Open our hearts and minds to the sacrificial love of Christ as we give thanks for all you have done for us through your Eternal Son. For you alone are worthy of honor and praise, because you loved us first. Amen.