At Compassion International, we strongly believe that every child is loved by God and deserves to be reminded of that love. We work hard to share God’s love with children in poverty so nobody feels unseen or hopeless.

The Bible helps us understand how to live a life of love. Four kinds of love are expressed in the Bible, and we explore each below.

  • Brotherly/friendly love.
  • Family love.
  • Romantic love.
  • God’s unconditional love.

God’s Love for Us

“It’s often said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. That may be a simplification, but it’s true that the Bible is chock-full of verses that help us understand a fraction of how much God loves us. Being loved by God is our foundation for other kinds of love in our lives. As the Apostle John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NIV). Grasping how much we are loved by God opens our hearts to reciprocate that love and share it with others in our lives.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

— Psalm 143:8, NIV

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.

— 1 John 4:16, NIV

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

— Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

— 2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

— John 15:13, NIV

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”

— Isaiah 43:4, NIV

a pastor stands with a group of students

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, NIV

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

— 1 John 4:8, NIV

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

— Romans 8:38-39, NIV

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

— Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

— Psalm 30:5, NIV

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

— Romans 8:35, NIV

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

— Romans 5:5, NIV

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

— 1 John 4:10, NIV

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.

— Psalm 42:8, NIV

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

— Psalm 103:8, NIV

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

— Ephesians 5:2, NIV

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.

— Psalm 94:18, NIV

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

— Psalm 63:3-4, NIV

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

— Psalm 86:5, NIV

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

— 1 John 4:9, NIV

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

— Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

— Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

— Psalm 33:5, NIV

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

— Romans 8:37, NIV

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 and sisters.

— 1 John 3:16, NIV

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

— Isaiah 54:10, NIV

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

— Psalm 103:13, NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

— John 3:16, NIV

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

— 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV

Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

— Psalm 40:11, NIV

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

— Psalm 31:16, NIV

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

— Joel 2:13, NIV

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

— Psalm 57:10, NIV

It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.

— Psalm 44:3, NIV

Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

— Psalm 115:1, NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

— Romans 5:8, NIV

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

— Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

— Zephaniah 3:17, NIV

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

— Psalm 86:15, NIV

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

— Jeremiah 31:3, NIV

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

— Galatians 2:20, NIV)

a grandmother kisses her grandson

Our Love for God

Loving God is a natural result of understanding his love for us. Love for God stems from being in awe of who he is and what he’s done, being grateful to him for his love, protection and faithfulness to us in our lives, and reciprocating a fraction of his love for us.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him.

— 1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV

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, NIV

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

— Mark 12:30, NIV

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

— Luke 10:27, NIV

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

— Psalm 116:1-2, NIV

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

— John 14:21, NIV

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

— John 14:15, NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, NIV

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

— John 14:23, NIV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

— Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NIV

a grandmother hugs her grandson

Our Love for Others

The Bible says that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27). This can be more difficult than loving God because our love for God is responsive in nature. But within our families and communities, we often must make the first move in showing love.

Sometimes we don’t even like those we are called to love. But loving others is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to add a moment of grace to their life, to obey God and to share the love of God that has filled our hearts.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

— 1 Peter 4:8, NIV

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

— John 15:12, NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

— Romans 12:10, NIV

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

— Ephesians 4:2-3, ESV

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

— 1 John 4:12, NIV

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.

— 1 John 4:20, NIV

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

— Proverbs 31:8, NIV

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

— 1 Thessalonians 3:12, NIV

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12, NIV

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

— Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a, NIV

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

— Mark 12:31, NIV

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

— 1 Corinthians 10:24, NIV

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

— Romans 13:10, NIV

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

— Matthew 5:44, NIV

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

— 1 John 3:11, NIV

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

— Hebrews 13:1-2, NIV

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

— 1 John 4:11, NIV

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

— John 13:34, NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

— 1 John 4:7, NIV

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

— Galatians 5:14, NIV

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

— John 13:35, NIV

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

— Romans 13:9, NIV

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

— 2 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

— 1 John 4:21, NIV

“‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

— Matthew 19:19, NIV

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

— 1 John 3:17, NIV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

— Proverbs 17:17, NIV

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

— Matthew 22:36-40, NIV

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

— Proverbs 17:9, NIV

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

— 1 Peter 1:22, NIV

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

— John 13:34-35, NIV

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

— Luke 6:35, NIV

Romantic Love

If you bring the guidelines for loving others to your romantic relationships, you will still be loving your significant other well. But here are a few verses expressly for romantic love.

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. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one's house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

— Song of Solomon 8:6-7, NIV

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.

— Ephesians 5:25-26, NIV

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

— Ephesians 5:33, NIV

a girl hugs her sponsored child's mother

The Role of Love in the Christian Life

With a foundation of being loved by God and a calling to love others, it’s no surprise that love plays a major role in the Christian life. Keep reading these Bible verses about love to learn more about the various parts of our lives and relationships that are affected by love.

Do everything in love.

— 1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

— Colossians 3:14, NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

— Proverbs 3:3-4, NIV

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

— Ephesians 4:2, NIV

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

— Romans 12:9, NIV

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

— Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

— Proverbs 21:21, NIV

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

— Ephesians 4:15, NIV

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

— 1 Timothy 4:12, NIV

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

— 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

— Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

— 1 Timothy 6:11, NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. (Philippians 1:9, NIV

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

— 2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

— Galatians 5:13, NIV

“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

— John 17:26, NIV

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.

— Colossians 2:2, NIV

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

— Galatians 5:6, NIV

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called.

— Ephesians 4:1-4, NIV

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

— 1 John 3:18, NIV

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

— Romans 12:9-10, NIV

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

— Jude 2, NIV

The Love Chapter

In one of the most famous passages of Scripture, Paul outlines the value of love and what it looks like to tangibly love. Loving God and people is the most important thing we can do in our lives.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 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. 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

— 1 Corinthians 13, NIV

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