Throughout all of time as we have known it (and some from before knew it) Satan has worked to destroy God’s relationship with His people. A large part of that plan has been to question God’s Word and even destroy it if possible. Well, to destroy God’s word is impossible so Satan has come up with another plan: the destruction of the English language. Many words that we use today have changed in meaning since the Bible was translated into English. One way to remedy this is to study what a word means as used in the Bible and then use that word properly. This not only helps restore our English language but also helps us grow closer to God for as we begin to understand the Biblical definitions then we will begin to understand what it is that God truly means. One way to do this is to begin with the first mention of a word in the Bible and see what truth God establishes with that first mention. With that in mind, let us look at the first mention of the word “love.” Love is something that has been very misunderstood and misused through time, but especially in recent years it has come to mean something other than what God intended. Today, love seems to have come to mean a general acceptance of whatever a person says or does. If a person says they love to eat grass, it would be unloving to deprive them of the opportunity to eat grass. If this phenomena were to continue to spread and people the world over began to eat grass then it would be deemed unloving and judgmental to even attempt to convince these “trans-dieted” people that it is unhealthy to eat grass. But the Bible does not paint love as an all tolerating open acceptance of any lifestyle or choice. Let’s take a look… 1st Mention Genesis 22
“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Ok, so the word is “lovest”, a variation of “love” but still gives us a look at God’s feeling of Love. Also interesting to note is that if you look at the Hebrew word used here and throughout most of the Old Testament is the same word whether its speaking of mankind loving each other or the Lord, or if it’s referencing God loving mankind. Interesting, but not necessary since God gave us His Word in English. The Picture All through the Bible God paints pictures, beautifully imaged to reveal to us the truth of His redemption plan. Genesis chapter 22 is one of the paintings. Abraham is told (not asked) by Go to take his ONLY son, whom he loved deeply, up to a certain mountain and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering to God. Abraham, the loving father told to give up completely (the burnt offering insured that the sacrifice was complete) the very son (a picture of the Son of God) that God had given to he and Sarah in such a miraculous way. And in the middle of this beautiful picture God choses to use the first instance of the word “love.” What does this say of God’s idea of Love? Through the picture that is painted it shows God’s love for us in providing a sacrificial substitute. But the picture is still secondary to the fact that God told Abraham to sacrifice that which he loved the most – his son. God, in introducing us to love showed us that love is a sacrifice in which we freely give up the thing we love the most – our pride, our hobbies, our friends, our lifestyle in order to prove our love for him. If we demanded this in our relationships here people would say that we are unloving, that we don’t know how to love, that love is a compromise. But God did not waver in his demand to Abraham. Biblically love may be manifested in different ways but first and foremost our lives must be submitted to God 100%. Nothing else can have precedence in our lives and we don’t get to live our lives as our own because they are not. They are His. We don’t get to live our lives outside of God’s Word. It is how He communicates His will to us. So yes, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but what does that mean? It means that we do God’s will, we obey God’s Word and we win the lost to Christ.