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Jesus Motivates Us to Move to a Higher AGAPE Love Walk!

the-greatest-is-AGAPE-love-e1406073920848-608x404(Ver 1.1) I was studying the Bible recently and was led across something that I believe was very good for us all to learn from.  I believe the Holy Spirit pointed this out so that we could learn a potential new perspective on a familiar story that we have all probably heard taught more than once.  This will be a Bible basics subject lesson on one of the most important subjects found in the Bible called love.  Uh oh?  I may have just lost a bunch of readers.  How boring that is, you might think.  You might say to me “I don’t have any problem with my love walk!”  At least that is probably what you think right now.  However, I believe the subject of love is the central theme of the entire Bible and a vastly misunderstood subject.  I believe no other subject comes close to its importance in the Bible and I pray that you will agree.

INTRODUCTION TO LOVE

You may already know that there is more than one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated into the English word “love”. I believe that is a significant problem.  If we don’t spend the time in digging deeper to know the original language words and definitions we will probably miss the most important message that God was trying to teach us.  I believe words matter more than we can imagine, especially God’s words.  I believe the chosen words of God are not by accident, chance or placed into the Bible by random human selection or influence.  God is a highly intelligent being beyond our normal human capability to understand.  Therefore, when God selects two different Greek words for “love” and uses them both in the same verse setting that must mean something very important even if we don’t yet understand what  is.  I pray that you will agree and even if you don’t yet agree I pray that you will at least be open minded enough to continue reading.

I recently read a Bible commenter’s opinion on this subject of the Greek word choices being made in the New Testament. This person believed that each human writer influenced the text and word selection for the love word choice.  They implied that the every Greek love word was synonymously interchangeable and one word could easily be replaced with another without changing the meaning of the verse.  But, I could not disagree any more.  This type of logic removes God’s participation in the word selection process almost completely.  You see I am a firm believer in this next verse that we must use as a foundation to base all of our Bible beliefs on.  I recommend that we all memorize this verse and never let it slip away from our minds:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“All” is one of the key words to focus on first. This verse clearly informs us that it concerns and applies to the whole Bible and every word that it contains.  In the Bible that would include every Hebrew and Greek Word of the original text that produced the translated 783,137 English KJV words.  However, I must disqualify the translated words.  I do not believe that any of the translated words were God inspired.  There are just way too many subjective translator opinions and errors imbedded to be found to conclude it is perfect like I believe the original text is.  I am not saying that we must all learn Greek and Hebrew in order to understand anything in the Bible.  But, I am saying that we all need to become a Berean type of Bible student like is found in Acts 17:11.  These Berean Christians were commended in the Bible for digging deep to confirm whatever is taught by men to be the truth is actually what God stated in the Holy scriptures.  I pray again that you understand how important this is.  Otherwise, we may just fall for any wind of doctrine that sounds the best and ignore what God actually said.

Today’s mini Bible lesson concerns two Greek words primarily that are both translated as “love” in the New Testament. These two Greek words in review are “Agapao” G25 and “Phileo” G5368.  You should be able to notice that these words are obviously two significantly different words based upon appearance, spelling and pronunciation alone and we have not yet attempted to learn the definitions.  We will dig into these love types much deeper as we continue the lesson.

JESUS TEACHES A HIGHER LOVE

Our Bible lesson is found in the book of John chapter 21. It occurs after the events of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, the burial of His body in a tomb for 3 days and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.  I believe that this event that we can study today was Jesus attempting to restore and help Peter to grow into a higher level of confident love following his denial 3 times of Jesus Christ just a few days earlier.  We will begin reading about this event beginning in verse 15 of John 21 and then we will continue reading down until verse 17.  Please read all of the verses carefully as the subject overview and then I will begin to break them down to help reveal a hidden message not easily found in the English translation:

Joh 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

Joh 21:16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 

Joh 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

What did you get out of this reading? Did anything draw your attention from what I originally introduced you to before reading the verses?  Maybe nothing jumped out at you.  That is OK, but maybe the Holy Spirit pointed out something new for you to see and that is really great.  I believe that is God’s way.  He can use the same verse(s) to speak an infinite number of things to each and every person differently.  Let’s go through the verses one at time now and learn what we can see by digging deeper into them rather than a surface only reading, as I like to call it.  Let’s reread verse 15 first:

Joh 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

Jesus suddenly focuses on one disciple named Peter and asks him a very direct and personal question concerning their relationship. I believe Jesus did this on purpose and by design to help strengthen and encourage Peter’s faith.  You might recall in Luke 22:31 the writer Luke gives us some related very important information.  In Luke 22:31 Jesus informs Peter that Satan had desired to sift him like wheat.  But, then Jesus informs Peter that He had prayed that his faith would not fail.  Also later in this chapter of Luke Jesus informs Peter that he will deny him 3 times before the cock crows the night that He would be betrayed.  I believe that Peter is being told these things so that he might be prepared for them and then afterwards that he would also understand that Jesus is fully the Christ as Peter declared in Matthew 16:16.  Remember when Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered to Him saying “You are the Christ the Son of God”.

I firmly believe that Peter like the rest of the disciples struggled tremendously after seeing Jesus taken prisoner, beaten and then crucified on a cross to die. This had to be a major blow to their beliefs in Him.  Once His body was laid in the tomb and the rock was rolled over it and sealed with guards posted in front of it, they had to at least think that they had made a great mistake in following this man.  I just can’t imagine the full impact of the challenges to their faith that they were facing during this time of extreme circumstances.  Give it some thought and see how you may have reacted.  What would you have done after seeing all of this?  I know we can read the Bible now and we may think that we may have been able to stand stronger than they did but I really don’t believe that is true.

No matter how great you believe your faith in Jesus Christ is now, Satan will come to you and try to shake your foundation of faith just like he did with Peter. This is what happened to Peter and I believe that Jesus did all He could do to prepare Peter’s heart for these events.  For example, in John 21:15 Jesus begins a lesson of assurance by asking Peter a basic very personal question.  Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me more than these?”  I believe that Jesus is simply asking “Are you sure that you love me Peter?” It is interesting that Jesus also adds a comparison of Peter’s love level with the other disciples’ love level.  The question contains the key word “more” and this is added by Jesus to teach Peter and us that a love amount can vary in measure, intensity, type and capacity.  Jesus was teaching us that our love level for Him may not be as great as other’s love level yet and that we may need to grow more in our love.  By this question, Jesus is implying we can all grow up in a higher level of love.  Can you see this?

Here is another very important point to make when studying any text in the Bible. We must understand that there were no punctuation marks in the original Greek text that I know of.  No periods, no commas, no exclamation marks, no question marks as we know in the English language.  Therefore, we should be able to understand that the tone of voice being spoken in could potentially be different than we believe changing the entire meaning of the words being spoken.

For example, if Jesus yelled “LOVEST ME MORE THAN THESE!!!” Would a screaming angry and mad Jesus change how we viewed the question?  It would definitely do that for me.  However, that type of Jesus personality screaming at Peter would contradict with His revealed character and nature found in many scriptures verses that reveal Him to be a man of great and intense love, mercy and compassion.  Therefore, this statement cannot be an angry Jesus questioning the loyalty of Peter simply because He knew Peter denied Him.  No, I believe that the words were spoken very softly and graciously to Peter in a great loving and compassionate tone of voice that grabbed the heart of Peter’s attention immediately.  I believe Peter could also see the great concern in the Master’s eyes and perceive the great kindness in the heart of Jesus.

Here is where I want to introduce you to the first Greek word G25 that was translated as “lovest” in the question directed at Peter.   This Greek word represents the highest type of “Agape” divine love.  This category of love is the highest form of any type of love listed in the Bible.  It is always an underserved, unearned and unconditional love type that is being extended to another person regardless of what occurs or how they act towards the person showing it.  I believe this is the most important and highest type of love in the Bible.  This is why my blog is called “AgapeGeek”.  I simply desire to teach the Bible in a way that displays God’s love to every reader.  I hope you understand the basic concepts of the God kind of Agape love.  If you don’t please ask any specific question and I will attempt to explain it with the Lord’s help.

Ok, Jesus asked Peter if he loved “Agapao” Him more than these. The answer to this simple question should have been either “yes” or “no”. However, Peter must have ignored the love word because he does not answer the question correctly at all.  Of course you won’t see this by just reading the English translation.  Only if we dig much deeper into the Greek words can we begin to understand the problem that Jesus was dealing with.

In the English Peter appears to answer correctly by saying “Yes, Lord you know that I love you”.  But, Peter changed the Greek word “love” type from the G25 “agapao” category of love to the much lower and less committed G5368 “phileo” human category of love and that was not what Jesus asked, was it?  You see the “phileo” category of love is merely a fond type of relationship that we can have with a good human friend.  This is a love category on a much subordinate carnal level of conditional feelings.  In other words if a friend said or did something wrong or mean to us, this might change our liking of fondness level or feelings for them.  However, the “agape” G26 type of love that Jesus was asking about would continue on unmoved despite the friend’s wrong actions or words.

I believe I can begin to feel the Lord Jesus heart drop at hearing Peter’s answered response.   I believe there becomes a greater level of sadness upon each of the following question attempts to get Peter to change his answer to raise his love walk with Jesus.  You did notice that Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times, didn’t you?  Why is Jesus being so repetitious?  As we continue to study this discussion further we should be able to see that Peter becomes a little more sad after each question.  I believe the “phileo” love that Peter claimed that he possessed was certainly being tested and I believe that Jesus was teaching Peter to try to come up higher to the “agapao” type of love that He originally asked.  Let’s read the second verse question:

Joh 21:16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Here is another almost identical question and response session as was read in verse 15. However, Jesus asks Peter, do you “agapao” me but drops the “more than these” part of the question.  Why did Jesus omit the “more than these”?  I believe to show Peter to focus on his “agape” love and not anyone else.  And Peter again answers “Lord you know that I “phileo” you.  I believe another difference in this Q&A session from the previous one is the tone of Jesus’ and Peter’s voices being adjusted.  I believe Jesus asked His question with much greater, love, compassion and even some added sadness and disappointment and I believe that Peter answered with even a greater level of grief and frustration not understanding yet why it was asked again.  This is what I believe makes the most sense in the story, but I know this is my personal interpretation and you can believe otherwise if you choose.

I still ask myself and God why the omission of the “more than these” as part of the question. The only answer to that question that I have been able to determine is the fact that Jesus is giving Peter a much greater emphasis to the specific Greek word “agapao” type of love.  I even believe that Jesus is making an implied statement that maybe no one “agapao” loved Him yet.  But this might be wrong since John was one of the disciples there and he is often referred to as the “love” disciple since he wrote more about the subject than all of the others combined.  Now let’s read the last time the question is asked and observe what changes now:

Joh 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Reading the English translation it appears that almost nothing changed. So God is either wasting a lot of words and Peter’s time asking him the same question or we are just missing the point and I believe it is us missing the point.  You see Jesus changed the question dramatically the third time He asks and He used a totally different Greek word this time.  Why would Jesus do this and what was the reason for the modification?  If we dig deeper into the Greek language again we will learn that in the third question Jesus dramatically lowers the love level asked to Peter to a level of “phileo”, Peter’s previous two responses. I believe that Jesus changes His tone of voice to a much greater sound of sadness and hurt.  I believe completely that Jesus was saying this paraphrase “oh Peter, what do you mean that you are only my friend?”

I believe we can begin to see Peter’s change of heart in this attempt of Jesus to get him to love Him on the highest unconditional level. The KJV Bible translates Peter’s feelings as an emotion of “grief”.  The Greek word G3076 that is translated as “grieved” literally means that Peter was greatly saddened by Jesus asking Him 3 times.  However, I believe this is not completely accurate simply because Jesus did not ask Peter the same question the same way, 3 different times.  Either Peter is clueless to what Jesus was attempting to ask him or I am.   Please ask yourself this question and see if you can think of a reason why Jesus comes down to a much inferior love type in the final question.

WHY DID JESUS WANT PETER TO AGAPE HIM?

Please allow me to give you a solid foundation for why I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach Peter about his “phileo” love to change it into an “agapeo” love. We will begin this section with a verse spoken by Jesus before His death on the cross and subsequent ressurtion.  Let’s turn our Bibles to John chapter 14 and read:

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

You see Jesus taught this truth to us that if we “agape” (G26) Him, we will keep His commandments and this certainly implies that we will not let them slip away from our hearts and minds.   If the words of Jesus are first in our minds this will help us so that can continue to do them even in the tough times of persecution and other life challenges. This is why I believe that Jesus asks Peter what appears to be 3 different times in the English KJV translation what appears to be the same question.  I believe Jesus was teaching Peter the difference between just a human friend kind of love that can fail and the God kind of love that will never fail.  The God kind of love will obey Him and the friend kind of love may not obey when the going gets too tough and hard.  I believe Jesus was teaching us all that the road ahead is going to get very rocky and rough and we will need to raise our “love” level up much higher in order to endure it to keep doing what Jesus wants us to do for Him.

Joh 21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 

Joh 21:19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 

We should be able to understand more clearly what Jesus was trying to emphasize to Peter by reading the rest of the story in verses 18 and 19. Reading these verses we learn quickly that Jesus changes from the right now do you love me to the future tense of years to come.  This informs me that the “Agape” love is what is going to be needed to endure the life that Peter was going to experience.  If you read early church history you should find that Peter is crucified upside down on a cross.  Wow what a horrible death that was.  Not to mention the times he spent in jails and chains for preaching the gospel.  If Peter had not raised his love walk to the love level of Agape I do not believe Peter would have been able to succeed in following Christ’s example fully.

All we need to do is to read Acts chapter 2 to find out how quickly the “love” level was raised to God’s Agape type of love in Peter’s life. Remember that Peter goes from denying Jesus 3 time only 50 days earlier to now preaching about Him in public to thousands.  Can you see how this is a fulfillment of the command of Jesus to “Feed my Sheep”?  I can see it very clearly.  This act of preaching was a demonstration of Peter’s divine love and it displays such an amazing transformation from his previous “phileo” level of love commitment to Jesus.

I believe that this is a lesson for each Christ follower.  We do not fully know what will happen to us tomorrow but we can prepare for even the worst possible events by embracing the God kind of Agape Love.  I pray this short Bible lesson was a great blessing to you and an encouraging word from the Lord to raise your love walk with Him.  May God bless you always.

BIBLE ANSWERS: How Can the Bible Be Called a Personal Love Letter Written to Me?

bible-answers2(Ver 1.1)  Today’s Bible lesson contains a response from the Spirit of God to answer a very important question asked by a loyal Agapegeek reader.  My reader asked me why I could call the Bible a personal love letter written from God to you and me.  I have mentioned this concept more than once in other Bible lessons.  I have suggested to peoplet that they read the Bible like it was”a personal love letter from God written to them”.  I firmly believe that if each of us would just change or adjust our perspective of the Bible slightly to see it differently from where we may have seen it before that it would be of great benefit for us to help us learn the truth.  What if we read the Bible as if it was a private love correspondence written from a very dear boyfriend or girlfriend?  How would this attitude change your expectations of the words on the page?  Would you consider the word’s of the Bible more meaningful or to be significantly changed by God’s great love for you?  I really do believe that you would.

I grew up in the age before email and text messaging.  In that age to reach someone of any distance you had to write a letter to them.  Yes, I know the telephone was there and that could be used to convey a lot of the same or even better information with feelings by hearing their voice directly.  But long distance calling was expensive so the best way to normally talk to someone in any length was to write a letter to your love.   While God could certainly boom out His message directly from heaven for everyone to hear, He too has chosen to reach out to us using a written form of messaging.  This raises two questions immediately in my mind and these were 1). for what purpose was the Holy Bible written and 2). what were God’s thoughts for us when it was written?  The intent of the Bible could have been anywhere from an attitude of anger, rage and hate on one side of the pendulum to being from a calm, peaceful and loving attitude towards us on the other side.  Which one was it?

Many people read the Bible as if it was written only by a powerful angry God of judgment and punishment for all of their sins and the evils that they have done in this world.  But I am not one of those and I believe the Bible came from a God with a personal caring attention and a specific communication style of love directed at at all of those that would take the time to read what He said!  I believe that we should each receive the Bible like it was an important special delivery love letter written from the most distant place called heaven from the most special person in our lives and see it as Him speaking directly sweet, kind and loving words written to us.  Look at the Bible as God making well intended promises about what He will do for us and to us when He comes for us because of His great love for us.

My reader said that God’s Spirit on the inside of him witnessed with his spirit that this type of Godly loving attitude of message content was a correct perspective to receiving the Bible.  He also felt that it was a true saying that I wrote about in my Bible lessons when I said we should read it like a love letter from God.  But, yet he still needed scriptural evidence and proof for the defense of this statement to confirm his belief.  In other words how could he defend this stated belief if someone asked him why he believed His Bible was a supernatural personal love letter written to him from God?  What an excellent question and what an admirable quality of Christian character to possess.  For someone to be so open minded and in tune with the Spirit of God but at the same time wanting to verify whatever is taught with the backing of the Bible caused him to be like one of the noble Berean types of Christians found in Acts 17:11.  I hope and pray that you are the same way.  Therefore let’s obtain foundation evidence from the Bible for a belief that God wrote the Bible as a personal love letter.

 

WHY WE NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWER

 Let’s open this Bible study with a directly related discussion to why we need to be able to answer when someone asks us a question about the Bible concerning why we believe the way we do about what is written in it.  What I want you to learn in this initial section is why it is important to learn, know and remember the sound Bible truths in order to respond to the questions of people desiring to understand the foundation basis of our beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ. We will begin reading form the book of Colossians:

Col 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Col 4:4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Col 4:5  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Col 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

This is such an excellent set of verses.  Paul writes to the church of Colossae.  This information should immediately raise the question in your mind “why am I reading a letter written nearly 2000 years ago to someone else originally like it was applicable to me?  This is what many intellectual deceived people will conclude.  I have also heard religious people that graduate from unnamed seminaries use this argument to explain away verses that did not conform to their traditions.  However that is a lie from Satan.  This letter was written to the Church of Jesus Christ and that is me because I’m in the same body of Christ and they were. There is no new body of Christ today from back them.  I hope that you understand that.

Paul writes both a request for prayer as well as to give them instructions on our important subject question do we need to defend our faith to non-believers?  Paul asks for them to pray that God would open a door for him to be able to preach the mystery of Christ to the lost.  Paul expounds clearly and plainly that God’s word contains divine mysteries that are not easily understood by carnal minded unsaved people.  Therefore Paul then asks them to pray that God would show him what to speak so that he could walk in divine wisdom toward them that were unsaved.  This is an excellent prayer for me if you would have the time to do that.  I know if you are witnessing to people it would be a good prayer for you also.  Let’s continue to go through some more of the information found in these verses written to us in the church.

Paul is talking about speaking the right words for the specific situations for those coming opportunities that God was going to present to him through the open doors being prayed for.  Can you understand what Paul needed and why it is even necessary to ask God for this to help others get saved?  Think with me for a moment.  Every man is different.  Each individual being different will respond to only certain personal words.  One answer to one man will be rejected by another.   This is why we need God to help us because only He knows the right words to speak for every person we encounter.

What if someone that is unsaved comes to you and asks you why do you believe in Jesus?  Do you have an answer?  Wow, I think many do not.  Now let me ask you something related to what Paul prayed.  Do you have the answer that they will receive?  Someone coming to you and asking why you believe in Jesus is really no different than if someone comes to you and asks you why are you reading the Bible?  I believe that one possible good answer to that question would be “I read the Bible because this is God’s love letter that He wrote to me personally”.   However this answer may just bring up another direct question about why you said that?  Will you be able to answer that question also?  What kind of proof or evidence do you have to present to anyone in the court of human personal interaction to defend your statement?  I hope and pray that is the reason that you are reading this Bible lesson to find out.

Col 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Look at verse 6 again because this is the main point that I wanted you to see in this introduction.  God says through Paul for our speech (words spoken to the unsaved world) to always be done with God’s Grace (full of grace, spoken in grace, led by grace and even done with and for grace).  Then God says to let your words be seasoned with salt.  Wow now we are getting into more difficult symbolism.  We could spend days talking about the subject of salt but that is not my main subject today.  Therefore let’s move to the last statement in verse 6.

In the last statement in verse 6 God says if we let our words be as the seasoning and preserving salt filled with grace this will cause us to be able to answer any man’s question the way that we should.   What God is saying is you better expect questions concerning your faith and beliefs to come from unsaved people and then you also better expect to give them answers to those questions right away.  Are you ready to do that?

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Today the question asked to me was “Why I believe the Bible is written to me personally as a divine love letter from the Almighty God”.  Let’s get into the subject of why the Bible can be considered a divine love letter written to you and I from the most intelligent and all powerful being that you can imagine named God.

 

WHY SHOULD WE CALL THE BIBLE A LOVE LETTER?

 I’ll begin this section of the subject study by using a very basic important fact presented to us in the Bible about how God identifies to us His character as being love.  This basic foundational fact should be one of the truths that every Christian learns directly after being saved.  Knowing God’s true character and nature will help us to know how to understand the entire rest of Bible.  We should always balance God’s revealed character of love with His stated works and actions.  I will say that this is a complex question to answer and sometimes Bible answers to basic questions are not as easy as reading only one verse but I will still try to answer the question as best as I can in this presentation of message delivery.  Let’s start with seeing this very important basic Bible truth of God’s character found directly in the first epistle of John:

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Notice the declaration of divine character being presented to the church in these two verses that “God is LOVE”!  The Greek word translated as “God” in these verses is G2316 and this Greek word can be transliterated as “THEOS”.   THEOS is one of the dominate N.T. names of God and is found in 1172 verses.  THEOS is LOVE is one of the most vital statements of God’s makeup, character, personality and nature found in the entire Bible.  Love is stated to define who and what God is and this declaration must be the revealed source for His other great qualities such as His morals, His compassion, His mercy and His grace.  God wraps all of His other Bible described attributes in the one word named Love.  This word translated as “love” is the Greek word “AGAPE” (G26) and we all need to learn this word.  According to John 3:16 AGAPE means to give grace, mercy and compassion to someone when it is not desired, deserved, earned or even appreciated.  I am not going to explain that statement further so if you can’t read John 3:16 and see that this is a true statement you need to spend a great deal of time studying on this verse before you continue in this lesson.

God’s (THEOS) divine love (AGAPE) is nowhere close to a normal human type of expressed love.  The God kind of love is unconditional.  God loves us because this is His character and nature and not because of anything that we can do for Him or to Him to earn it.   I would like to make a point that God does not have love because these verses say very clearly that God is love.  There is a huge difference between being something and having something. For example if I had gold that is completely different than saying that I am gold.   Humans fall in love and fall out of love and this is not an example of God’s love (AGAPE).  God is never going to stop loving you because you did something wrong, made a mistake or even told Him that you did not love Him.  Wow, that is difficult to even comprehend.

What we observe from these two statements in 1 John 4:8 and 4:16 is that there is a definite mathematical law that what one (GOD THEOS) is the other (LOVE AGAPE) is.  Each are declared to be the equivalent representative of the other only using a different description, name, title or label.  Wow, that was a very powerful statement of truth.  What I am saying is when you see “AGAPE” you should see “THEOS” and when you see “THEOS” you should see “AGAPE”.  There is no difference between the two by God’s definition.  Remember that this is God’s definition and not mine.  God teaches us that they both are stated to be mathematically equivalent.    This truth is like saying “GOD/THEOS” = “LOVE/AGAPE” in mathematical notation terms.  Let’s check out another verse that claims God is love:

2Co 13:11  Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Here we have further confirmation that God is love.  I like to give more than one verse to prove the statements that I make because God declares in the mouth or two or three witnesses from the Bible let every word be established.   Here is God writing through Paul to say “the God of LOVE”.  It would be perfectly fine to say “the God (THEOS) who is love (AGAPE) and peace will be with you”.   Wow, I just love the Bible.  This is simply teaching us because we have God on the inside of us we have LOVE present.  We cannot or at least should not deny that God (THEOS) is stated to be love (AGAPE).

Ok we have just learned and now should know that God and love are stated to be equivalent and so whatever God does should be concluded to be based upon HIS dominant descriptive quality of Him being LOVE.  Do you understand this logic so far?  Therefore, based upon 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16 and 2 Corinthians 13:8 we have a new mathematical rule to use that states wherever GOD (THEOS) is found LOVE (AGAPE) can be found also by the mathematical law of algebraic substitution.  Using these mathematical commutative laws it is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to say GOD (THEOS) = LOVE (AGAPE) and therefore LOVE (AGAPE) = GOD (THEOS) and we can use either titled name form to describe Him or point others to Him.  Do you understand this very basic mathematical truth reality?  If you do then please read this verse next carefully with this in new information in the forefront of your mind:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Now change the single most important focused subject word “God” (THEOS) found in this verse to the equivalent of “Love” (AGAPE) using the mathematical laws of substitutionary equivalency and reread the sentence:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of LOVE (AGAPE), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Now we should be able to begin to easily understand why I could say that God’s Holy Word was a personal Love Letter written to you and me.    Based upon this knowledge, one of the primary reasons for the purpose of the Bible being given to us is because of GOD/LOVE.  Then God explains in this verse because of His love His Word is beneficial to teach us (doctrine).  This literally means God’s Word instructs us like children helping us to grow up.  The next benefit for God’s word is “reproof” and this is a Greek word that means to give us “proof” or “evidence”.  Uh oh that is exactly what we all need to answer any question.  We are finding the proof that the Bible is God’s love letter simply by studying and learning what He says.  This is us again coming to God’s Word like 2 year old children asking their loving parent why, why and why.  Next the Bible is then stated to benefit us by “correcting” us.  This simply means a confirming repetition of the previous statements that God is turning us away from the ways that are not good for us using His loving Word.  This is exactly the role of a loving parent given to their child in a caring and loving relationship.  The final statement is a Greek word translated as “instruction” which declares the same loving purpose for the Word of God meaning “tutorage”.  God is simply saying My Word will train you in the way you should be going as a wise loving parent will do for any of their children with great love.

What we have just observed is a Loving Heavenly Father that gives us His word in Love and for AGAPE instruction, training and evidence.  This should be changing your perspective of the Bible dramatically by now if you are His child and want to grow spiritually.

 

HOW CAN ALL OF THE WORD OF GOD BE PERSONAL TO ME?

 Jer_29_11We have just gone through a simple quick introduction to the subject of why the Bible is a written love letter from God.  But we still need to connect why the entire Bible should be considered personally written to you and I?  In other words if the Old Testament was originally written to the natural nation of Israel, how do any of these previous Old Testament words apply to us today in the New Testament church?  I will answer that question by saying Old Testament verses do relate and apply to us if we know how to use them.  But let’s begin by taking a specific O.T. example to consider.  We will go back to a verse that is often used by modern church preachers.  This verse is found in the book of Jeremiah.  Yet it this old verse is often quoted to be for us now in the church.

Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

First consider the verse using the knowledge gained from the second section in the lesson on the subject of GOD = LOVE.  Is this verse in Jeremiah 29:11 a love based statement?  I believe it is very clear that it is AGAPE based.  The LORD is speaking in this statement and He declares that He has good plans for the intended reader of this text.  It further says that God has good thoughts of peace towards these people also.   Sounds like a loving father to me, how about you?   If you read the context you will see in verse 1 of this chapter that these words were written to the remnant of Israel that was taken captive into Babylon.  This is clearly not me or you, is it?  So how does this type of verse apply to us in the church?  That is the great question.  Do verses like Jeremiah 29:11 have anything to do with you and I today?

Do you remember that we just learned from 2 Timothy 3:16 that “ALL SCRIPTURE” was given by inspiration of God for our instruction and this statement was written directly to the church and I am certainly in the church.  This verse in 2 Timothy immediately teaches us that even the Old Testament contains inspired words that are at the least important and beneficial for us to learn from.   Do you understand this so far?  Do you agree with this concept so far?

When the church was first established based upon the description given to us in the book of Acts, the disciples preached the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of that day using only the Old Testament writings.  Therefore the O.T. verses were the only divinely inspired Words of God that could be used to verify doctrinal information that they possessed or were presented.  The Old Testament was the only proof and evidence that was present to confirm everything that was being taught by the disciples.  If you read Acts 17:11 as I previously mentioned it declared the more noble Berean Christians searched these O.T. scriptures daily to verify what was being taught by Peter, James, John, Paul and etc.  This should help us to begin to understand the significance of why even the Old Testament is so important to learn and correctly understand for us in the modern church.  It is vital to remember that the Old Testament verses were given by the same inspiration of AGAPE that the New Testament verses were given by.  There is absolutely only one Bible written by only one author and He is the God called LOVE and this fact will sustain us to arrive at the truth if we continue to study and learn.

Christians today often still struggle to understand how a verse written to the Old Testament natural nation of Israel could be applicable to them.  Therefore, let’s examine some verses in the New Testament that help us to understand why they do apply to us.  We will begin by reading a verse found in 2 Corinthians:

2Co 1:20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

 Here is where life could begin to get complicated for many Bible readers.  This is a verse of Holy Scripture that teaches all of us in the church that “EVERY” promise made by God applies to us even if they were made by God during the Old Covenant.   That statement is also a complicated concept that passes over the head of Christians.  They tend to over analyze and see many O.T. promise verses as being only made to the people of natural Israel but that is not what this verse said.  Every is an all-inclusive statement omitting none of them.  That means if God made a promise it is ours by the definition of 2 Corinthians 1:20.   However there is a qualification given in order to be included in this statement.  Did you see it in the verse?  We must pay attention to every detail or we will fall into error easily.

The qualification for God’s promises to be made manifest was given to only those that were “IN HIM”.  I’ll say it again “All the promises of God are given to those that are in Him”.  All the promises of God are Amen (so be it) to ONLY those that are “in Him”.  What does that mean?   This simply teaches us a principle that is not widely taught in the church but I will try to explain this without going into great detail in this lesson.  I’ll begin by asking you “Are you in Him?”  The “Him” is of course referring to Christ Jesus!    You are either “In Him” if you are saved or you are “separated and apart from Him” if not saved.  That is the basic simple truth.

So why is it important for us to be in Jesus Christ?  Wow that is an amazing question to find the answer if you really think about it?  Who was Jesus Christ?  We should already know that Jesus was the Son of God the second person of the Godhead and trinity.  But, we should also know that He was the Son of Man (Adam) and a descendant of Abraham.  The genealogy of Jesus given by divine inspiration in Luke 3 proves to us the natural family lineage of Jesus as direct descendant of the natural nation of Israel.  This makes Jesus our qualifying partner.  Jesus was and is the reason we can possess the Old Testament promises of God written to natural Israel.  There are over 100 verses in the New Testament that informs us that we are in Christ Jesus.  Because we are said to be in Jesus Christ, we have what He has.  What Jesus possesses we possess.  It is very simple and yet so very profound.  Let’s explore some additional New Testament verses to help confirm what is being taught:

Gal 3:9  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Here is another potentially confusing verse.  They which “be” of faith is speaking of “you and I” if you are saved by God’s grace through your faith (Eph 2:8).  Are you of faith?  I know I am of the faith!  Then it says if you are of faith then you are blessed along with and the same as faithful Abraham.  Why would this be a true statement?  Many of us in the church are probably not a natural descendant of Abraham.  So how can we have the same blessings as Abraham?  Let’s continue down to another verse in Galatians to learn more:

 Gal 3:14  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Oh, this verse is beginning to speak more directly of me because I’m definitely a Gentile man.  Notice that the blessings of Abraham will come upon the Gentiles through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Now we have two keys to the puzzle.  There was the mention of faith in verse 9 and mention of Gentiles being blessed through Christ Jesus in verse 14.  What we are doing is gathering puzzle pieces to learn how the spiritual things of God were accomplished and how they apply to us by faith.  But there is much more to learn and we are missing the main puzzle piece still.  Let’s continue to read down into verse 16:

Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Notice what this verse says because this is a very essential New Testament truth ignored by many.  God through the Apostle Paul writes to us that all of the promises made to Abraham were made to him and to his seed.  But here is where the clarification comes from God that it was not all of the people that were born from Abraham but rather only one seed being Jesus Christ.   Do you understand this?  God promised the blessing to only Abraham and to only Jesus the seed of Abraham.  That is an amazing statement of truth being given by revelation to Paul.  Seed is a word that can be singular or plural without any modification.  It is only by the choice of the speaker which one it is.  Since God is the speaker we need to conform to which one He said it was and not what we thought or learned from a man.  Do you understand that principle?

Why did I just go through all of these verses in Galatians to teach you these basic Bible facts?  It is simply because since we are “IN CHRIST” we have everything that He has been given by God.  Every blessing that was promised to Christ belongs to me and to you also if you are in Christ.  I’ll say it one more time “What was given to Jesus has been given to us by our faith in Him”.   I will only go over one other puzzle piece in this chapter for the conclusion of this part of the section:

Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

If you are Christ’s then God declares that you are Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise given to Abraham and his seed.  Wow again an awesome statement.  This is just further confirmation that whatever God promised to Abraham in the Old Testament was given to Christ and because we are “IN CHRIST” we have also become the seed of Abraham.  Are you receiving this message from God?  The primary reason I am going through these verses is to teach you why statements made to the natural seed can and will still apply to us in the church today.  Most of the church today are not natural seeds of Abraham but because Jesus was a natural seed that the promise was made to then we have obtained the blessing also.  This is one of the primary reasons why most of the blessing verses written to natural Israel can and will apply to us today in the church.

Do you remember how we got here?  I began teaching this section declaring the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:20 that teach us that “all of the promises of God are in Him Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus”.  What we have accomplished is the placing together of many pieces to present a greater and more complete pictured truth.  Each individual picture piece represents a truth that when joined together correctly present a view into something that is truly much more significant for us to know.   I’ll end this section of the lesson with only one other verse concerning the promises of God:

Heb 8:6  But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

This verse is again speaking of Jesus.  The works of God through Christ Jesus are so much greater than most of us really know or understand.  What God has done through Jesus and given to us because of His death, burial and resurrection is far beyond the human imagination.  All of God’s promises of blessings given to natural Israel have been given to us plus a whole lot more.  The promises of God in the New Covenant must be greater than all of those given in the Old Covenant or no one could call them better.  This is just another reason why it is legal for us in the church to go back into the Old Testament and use any of those words of blessing from God in our lives.  Whatever we can find spoken and written down by God through one of His prophets will be the minimum that we should possess.  In other words we can claim by our faith in Jesus because we are IN HIM and we now have better promises that trump those of the Old Testament.

 

CONCLUSION

 I hope and pray that you enjoyed this very basic but very essential Bible lesson answering the question “How can the entire Bible be considered a personal love letter from God written to me?”  This lesson should provide us a firm foundation for why the verses of blessing that were written to the natural nation of Israel can be applied and taken as a promise from God to us today in the church.  I began this lesson teaching the basic character trait that GOD/THEOS = LOVE/AGAPE.  I then took this truth and applied it to the Bible being given and inspired by GOD/THEOS who is LOVE/AGAPE.  We substituted AGAPE for THEOS in the verse of 2 Timothy and this taught us that the Bible was LOVE inspired written down by men of God for us to learn from.  We went through the fact that there are over 100+ verses in the Bible that tell us those that are saved are “IN CHRIST”.  These verses benefit us because we were given the promises of God made to Abraham by our faith the same as Jesus because we are “IN HIM”.

If you have any questions or comments about anything that was written down here I would be very glad to read them and to respond to them as time and the Lord permits.  Please share this website with you friends and family to help the Word of God’s truth be spread to everyone for free on this planet.  The more God can reach and help people the faster that Jesus can come back and take us out of this world.  I’m personally looking forward to Jesus coming very soon.  Redeem the time because the time is short.  Stand firm in the faith of Jesus Christ and tell everyone you can about His saving grace.  Thank you and may God continue to richly bless you to grow spiritually.