What does it look like to truly love and be loved? For this last week of Advent, we invite you to reflect on the biblical meaning of love. Listen to the recording, watch the video, open your Bible to 1 John, and interact with the discussion questions below. If you find this study to be encouraging, tell us on social media using the hashtag #BibleProjectAdvent. We’d appreciate hearing from you.
Message Question How did Carissa’s message remind, challenge, or encourage you today?
Video Question What surprises you about this definition of love?
The God of the Bible doesn’t just express love, he is love. As a triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—he has always been and always will be an others-centered, self-giving, communal being. Jesus fully embodies the love of God, and he demonstrated it most clearly when he gave his life on behalf of humanity. When people learn to trust Jesus’ love for them, they join in God’s community of life and love, and their very nature is transformed to live a life of love with him.
Before you begin to study, pray for God’s Spirit to help you understand his love in a fresh way.
According to the passage, what is the source of love? How did God show his love to us, and why did he do it? Why should we love others? Take time to rediscover and marvel at the answers the passage provides to these questions.
Review 1 John 4:16. Have you learned to trust that God loves you? If so, describe your experience of receiving his love. If not, what do you think would change in your life if you fully trusted that God loves you?
No one has seen God, but God lives in the one who loves (vs. 12). In this way, God’s life can be seen through people who choose to speak and act in sacrificial love. How have you seen God’s life through people’s love for one another? How can you love and show God’s life to someone else today?
Turn your reading and reflection into a prayer. Talk to God about how his love amazes you, be honest about how you struggle to trust it, and ask for help to receive and share his love today.
Jesus teaches his followers to seek other people’s well-being without expecting anything in return and to extend love to even their enemies. Sacrificial, selfless, and forgiving love imitates the very character of God himself.
How do Jesus’ words encourage and challenge you today?
Note how God himself is kind to people who commit evil. What does this say about God’s character?
Do you have a person in your life that you struggle to love? Take time now to imagine how God sees that person. What do you imagine he desires most for them? How do you think Jesus would personally address them, and how can you join him today?
Turn your reflections into a prayer. Express your gratitude to God for his merciful love and be honest about the ways you have withheld love from others. Pray for the people who have mistreated you and ask for God’s help to love like he does.