God’s Kind of Love: Characteristics of Love in the Bible

Have you ever wondered why love is so important to God? It’s because love is at the very heart of who God is. God’s love is not just a feeling or an emotion – it’s the essence of His character. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This means that love is not just something God does, but it’s who He is.

God’s love is selfless and life-giving. It’s the defining quality of His relationship with us. When we understand the depth and breadth of God’s love, it changes everything. His love is the foundation for all other virtues and the reason why love is so important to Him. It’s the reason why He created us and why He desires a relationship with us. God’s love is the most powerful force in the universe, and it’s the key to understanding who He is and how He wants us to live.

Characteristics of Love in the Bible

The Bible is full of examples of love, from the passionate love between a husband and wife to the selfless love of God for His people. Love is a fundamental concept that runs throughout the entire Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Love in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, love is often expressed within the context of the Covenant relationship between God and His people. God’s love for His people is described as a loyal, steadfast love that never fails. For example, in Deuteronomy 15:1–11, God commands the Israelites to be generous and compassionate towards the poor, showing love and care for those in need.

The Psalms are also full of beautiful expressions of God’s love. Psalm 33 declares, “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” And in Lamentations 3:22-23, the writer proclaims, “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.”

Love in the New Testament

In the New Testament, love takes on an even deeper and more personal meaning. The Apostle John famously wrote, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), revealing that love is not just something God does, but it’s who He is. The ultimate expression of God’s love is seen in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to save sinners (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10).

Jesus’ teachings and example demonstrate the selfless, sacrificial nature of God’s love. He commands His followers to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, and to love their neighbor as themselves (Matthew 22:36-40). This kind of love is not just a feeling, but a way of life that puts the needs of others before our own.

13 Marks of a person of love

Love CharacteristicsScriptureMarks
Love does not boast1 Corinthians 13:4Humble
Love is not proud1 Corinthians 13:4Modest
Love is patient1 Corinthians 13:4Persevere
Not jealous1 Corinthians 13:4Content
Not seek its own1 Corinthians 13:5Selfless
God is Love1 Corinthians 13:6Love’s God
Love always perseveres1 Corinthians 13:7Endures
Love is kind1 Corinthians 13:4Shows Compassion
Love protects1 Corinthians 13:7Defend loved ones
Love rejoices with the truth1 Corinthians 13:6Take joy in the truth
Love hopes1 Corinthians 13:7Hopeful
Love is sacrificial1 Corinthians 13:5Self-sacrifice
Love trusts1 Corinthians 13:7Have Faith

Does Not Boast

When we talk about love not boasting, it means love doesn’t show off or brag. Have you met people who say they love but always want credit for their good deeds? You don’t need to announce your acts of kindness (Matthew 6:3-4). Love is humble and doesn’t try to look better than others. It focuses on caring for and helping without seeking praise.

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True love doesn’t need to brag or boast. It’s about actions, not just words. It shows kindness and care without expecting anything back. Genuine love is selfless, putting others first.

Love Is Not Proud

Love doesn’t act like it’s better than others. Instead, it’s about being humble and not thinking you’re more important than anyone else. It’s about treating everyone with respect and kindness, no matter who they are.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is not proud.” This means real love doesn’t make you feel like you’re better than others. Love that is not proud is about being down-to-earth, caring for others without looking down on them, and showing genuine care and concern for everyone.

Love Is Patient

Love can wait and doesn’t get upset or angry easily. But that doesn’t mean I should keep my spouse stranded and just claim, “Ah well, she loves me!” No, I will forgive with a gentle heart, not an anger stamped to my chest.

In the context of 1 Corinthians, it says, “Love is patient.” In other words, I don’t rush to make conclusions or force things to happen – they unfold and get clearer over time. Love is also willing to wait and give people time, even when it’s hard. Love that is patient is kind and understanding, and it doesn’t give up on people easily, even when they make mistakes. It’s a love that sticks with you through thick and thin.

Is Not Jealous

When the Bible says love isn’t jealous, it means that love doesn’t get upset or angry when others have nice things or do well. Envy is a destructive trait that can consume us, especially when we’re not rooted in true love.

The Bible clearly states, “Love is not jealous.” This is a powerful reminder that we shouldn’t try to control or own others. It’s not about wanting everything for ourselves; instead, love is content with what it has and celebrates others’ successes.

Love that isn’t jealous is secure, trusting, and genuinely happy for others. It’s a love that’s not threatened by others’ accomplishments and is willing to let go of any feelings of inadequacy or competition.

Doesn’t Seek It’s Own

Love is a beautiful and powerful force, but it’s not always easy to understand or put into practice. One aspect of love that can be particularly challenging is the idea of not seeking our own interests.

In 1 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible tells us that “love does not demand its own way.” This means that true, selfless love isn’t about getting what we want or making sure we come out on top. Instead, it’s about focusing on the needs of others and being willing to put their well-being before our own desires.

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It’s a tall order, isn’t it? In a world that often tells us to look out for number one, the call to love sacrificially can feel counterintuitive. But when we really think about it, this kind of love is at the very heart of the gospel message.

After all, God’s love for us is the ultimate example of putting others first. Though we were undeserving, God sent His own Son to die for our sins, demonstrating a love that holds nothing back. And as followers of Christ, we’re called to reflect that same kind of radical, self-giving love in our relationships and interactions.

God is Love

Love is a reflection of God’s own character and nature. When the Bible speaks of love being “of God,” it reveals that the source and definition of love originates from the divine. In 1 Corinthians 13:6, we learn that God’s love is not merely an emotion, but a deep, unwavering commitment to what is right and true. This love aligns with the truth and celebrates it, even in the face of difficulty.

Moreover, God’s love is unconditional and eternal, not based on our worthiness or performance, but on His own perfect character. No matter what we do, His love for us remains steadfast and unchanging. If I claim to know God and I do not have his DNA called LOVE, I am just like an outsider trying to keep up with the Kardashians. In a more serious note, my speaking in tongues means nothing at this point (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Love Always Perseveres

Love is often claimed, but not always demonstrated. Many struggle to persevere when faced with life’s challenges. A woman once shared her frustration, lamenting how money seemed to vanish from her home despite her efforts. Her husband’s inability to resolve the issue only compounded the problem. It’s easy to point fingers, but true love requires a different approach.

1 Corinthians 13:7 reminds us that “love always perseveres.” This doesn’t mean problems disappear or solutions materialize instantly. Perseverance is the hallmark of genuine love, and it’s only those who truly understand love’s nature that can endure. Life communicates its lessons, but we must be willing to see beyond the surface. Love that perseveres is patient, kind, and steadfast, even in the face of adversity. It refuses to give up on people or situations, staying committed and faithful.

This love is pregnant with the potential for transformation, quietly working behind the scenes to bring about lasting change. When we choose to love with unwavering perseverance, we unlock the power to overcome life’s challenges and make a profound impact on the world around us.

Love is Kind

When we talk about love being kind, it goes beyond mere feelings; it’s about actively showing care and consideration for others. This kindness is like a warm embrace, a helping hand extended without expecting anything in return. It’s the kind of love that doesn’t just speak but acts, going out of its way to make a positive impact on someone’s day.

Consider the lives of remarkable individuals like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. They embody a love that is evident in their selfless acts of compassion and unwavering dedication to serving others. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it emphasizes that love is kind, underscoring the importance of tangible gestures that demonstrate genuine care and thoughtfulness.

Love Protects and Rejoices with the Truth

Love is a powerful force that looks out for others and keeps them safe. It’s like being a shield for someone, guarding them from harm and standing up for them when they need help. True love is not just about words, but about actions that defend and care for those we love. It’s a love that is strong, loyal, and always ready to defend those in its care.

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When we love with a love that rejoices in the truth, we’re aligning ourselves with God’s own nature and values. It’s a love that is honest, transparent, and always seeking to do what is right, even when it’s hard. This kind of love is a reflection of God’s own character, as the Bible tells us that “God is truth” (John 14:6).

Love Hopes and Believes

Love is often described as being blind. But the truth is, love sees far beyond the present circumstances. It’s a force that is deeply rooted in hope and conviction. When we love with this kind of hopeful heart, we’re able to look past the immediate challenges and trust that better days are ahead.

Just like Moses, who chose to walk into the Red Sea because he had seen God’s power at work, love gives us the courage to step out in faith. Even when the danger seems overwhelming, love compels us to keep going, fueled by a deep belief that our God is able. As Hebrews 11:1 reminds us, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Love doesn’t ignore the realities we face; rather, it chooses to focus on the promises of God and the potential for transformation. That’s why love keeps us going, even in the midst of life’s storms. It’s a love that believes, a love that hopes, and a love that ultimately triumphs.

Love Sacrifices for Others

When we talk about love being sacrificial, it means that love is willing to give up its own wants and needs for the sake of others. Sacrificial love is like doing something hard or uncomfortable to help someone else, even if it costs you something. In 1 Corinthians 13:5, it says that “love is not self-seeking.” This means that true love is about putting the needs of others before our own desires.

Love that is sacrificial is ready to give up its own comforts to make someone else’s life better.This sacrificial love reflects God’s love for us, as seen in John 3:16 where He gave His Son for our salvation. When we love sacrificially, we follow God’s example and show the world what true, selfless love looks like. 

Love Trusts

Love trusts, and it’s a beautiful thing. When we talk about love trusting, we’re talking about a love that has faith and confidence in the person it loves. It’s like knowing you can count on a good friend to be there for you, no matter what.

This kind of love is not suspicious or doubtful. Instead, it believes the best in the person it loves and gives them the benefit of the doubt. Love that trusts is secure and confident, knowing that the other person has their best interests at heart. This kind of trusting love is a reflection of the way God loves us, and it’s a powerful reminder that we can always depend on Him.


Love encompasses a multitude of attributes that shape its essence and impact on our lives. From being unconditional and selfless to forgiving and patient, love embodies qualities that transcend mere feelings and actions. It is kind, humble, trusting, hopeful, and joyful, each attribute contributing to a deeper understanding of love’s transformative power in relationships and personal growth.

When we embrace love’s attributes in our interactions, we not only enhance our connections with others but also mirror the divine love that guides us. Love’s unconditional nature, selfless acts, forgiveness, patience, kindness, humility, trust, hope, and joy serve as a compass for navigating life’s complexities with grace and compassion. By embodying these attributes, we not only enrich our relationships but also create a ripple effect of positivity and understanding that can shape a more loving and harmonious world.

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