John: The Way of Love
John: The Way of Love
To John’s Gospel particularly we owe our concept of the hallmark of Christian faith and tradition: love.
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100 Stand Alone Bible Studies

Bible Passages

John 3:16–17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 13:1

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 13:34–35

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 14:21, 23–24

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The
one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them…

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

John 15:9–17

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.”


To John’s Gospel particularly we owe our concept of the hallmark of Christian faith and tradition: love. If we assume that the writer of the epistles of John is the same John as the Gospel writer, then we see the teaching on the centrality of love broadened and deepened.

Faithfulness, self-sacrifice, unconditional acceptance, and forgiveness – all
these we see in Jesus’ vision of the love that draws us into unity with each other and with the Father.

It is perhaps this emphasis above all that gives John’s Gospel its mystical flavour. He shows us Jesus as a priestly, transcendent, cosmic figure – pre-existent and eternal, a being of light. But the heart of mysticism is not so much its transcendence as that it experiences the attraction of the soul towards God as a matter of the heart, not the intellect. The union with Mystery is at a level beyond words, reaching heights whose air only love can breathe.

In spite of this, the love John advocates is rooted in practical expression:
“Simon, Son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep” (John 21:15–18). As the epistle 1 John puts it (1 John 4:12): “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”



O God your love brought us into being, gave everything to save us and set us free, and holds out to us the promise of abundant life, the joy of our salvation. Give us the grace to embrace with the eagerness and trust of children your love, which watches and waits for us; and give us grace to so dwell in your love that every day, without even thinking, we pass it on. For we ask it in Jesus’ holy name; Amen.