Valentine’s Day & the Biblical Definition of Love

This month many cards, roses, and boxes of chocolate will be given and received in the name of love.  In light of Valentine’s Day, this edition of our newsletter is devoted to love and relationships.  In the first article we’ll look at how Valentine’s Day got started, cultural definitions of love, and the biblical view of love.  In the next two articles we’ll listen to some wise words from another pastor on other important issues related to love and relationships.

History of Valentine’s Day

It is not known for certain who Saint Valentine’s Day (called “Valentine’s Day” for short) is named after.  We do know, however, that it’s named after a Christian martyr (or martyrs) with the last name Valentine.  Contrary to what you might have thought, the Hallmark greeting card company did not invent this holiday to make money on Valentine cards (though I’m sure they enjoy the fact that the holiday brings them so much business).  The day began to be observed in the year 500, when Pope Gelasius I established it as a religious observance commemorating the saint for which it is named.  It took on romantic overtones in the Middle Ages.

How Culture Defines Love

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love.  This is a good thing as long as what we’re celebrating is a properly defined idea of what love is.  The problem, of course, is that our culture often does not have a biblical definition of love.  This time of year, you’ll hear a lot about “falling in love,” about “love at first sight,” about people who once were “in love” but have “fallen out of love,” etc.  But we must beware not simply to adopt these cultural definitions of love.  So how should we understand what love really is?

How the Bible Defines Love

Paul describes love this way: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).  Jesus said it this way: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Again, Paul wrote this: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:22).

One of the key ingredients in the biblical definition of love (and the one ingredient that’s often lacking in worldly definitions) is self-sacrifice.  True love—whether we’re talking about our love for God, for other Christians, or our spouse—sacrifices for the good of the other person.  This is how Christ has loved us.  This is how we must love others.  May God help us display this kind of love in our lives.

[This article is from our February newsletter.  To view and/or download the entire newsletter click here.]

About Brushy Fork Baptist Church
We are a small rural church in Indiana that wants to impact its community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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