Jesus taught the importance of love with what we refer to as “The Golden Rule” and by pointing out that the great commandment was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and that the next most important commandment was to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36-39) because “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” I’ve often heard Bible scholars and teachers refer to John the apostle as the apostle of love. They call him that because the claim is made he was the one who focused on teaching about Christian love more than any New Testament writer.
If the two commandments above were the two most important commandments, then they should be the basis for how churches and individual Christians operate. Yes, John was an apostle of love, but I would argue he wasn’t the apostle of love. All of the apostles were apostles of love and they proved it. For instance, if I use the phrase “Love Chapter” what comes to the minds of many Christians? It isn’t anything written by John, but something written by Paul–1 Corinthians 13. And it’s one of the most heartfelt passages in scripture.
The whole book of Acts relates situation after situation of how followers of Christ displayed love in good times and bad, whether it was Stephen and Philip, who were hired by the church as deacons to care for the poor widows, or Barnabas, who was one of the first to embrace Saul of Tarsus after his conversion when everyone else doubted. Love was an integral part in the teachings of all New Testament writers. Since we call John the apostle of love, I’ll assume we are familiar with what he said about love. Here are a few things the others said:
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ephesians 4
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: James 2
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1 Peter 1
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 1 Peter 3
2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Jude