Is the Holy Spirit’s signature hidden in John’s writings?
Curious, I counted the number of times the word agape appears in John’s epistles. Here are my surprising findings:
- 3rd John = 7 (1 x 7) times.
- 1 John, the 4th chapter: = 28 (4×7) times
- John’s gospel = verb 35 (5×7) (5×7) times; noun = 7 times. Total = 42 (6×7) times
- John’s first epistle = 49 (7×7) times.
Seven (7) stands for completeness or perfection in the Bible. Are these numbers a coincidence or are they the hidden signatures of the Spirit who inspired John’s writings? What is the Spirit saying to the churches in this very hour.
“This is my command: love each other as I have loved you!”
1 John 4: 7-9; 12-13; 16; 19-21. Beloved, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Every man who truly loves is God’s son and has some knowledge of him. But the man who does not love [others]cannot know him at all, for God is love, and the one who continues to love others does, in fact, live in God, and God does, in fact, live in him. So our love for him grows more and more.
12-13 It is true that no one has ever seen God directly. Yet if we love one another, God does actually [abide, continues to live] within us, and his love grows in us towards perfection…
16 We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever [abides, continues to live] by loving others remains in God and God in him
19-21 We love him because he first loved us. If someone says, “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if one does not love the brother right before his eyes, how can he love the One he cannot see? And in any case it is his explicit command that the one who loves God must love his brother?
2 John 5- 6 I am not writing a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another…for this is the commandment you heard from the beginning in which you must walk.
John 15: 9-10; 12-14; 17; I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. You must [abide, go on living] in my love. If you keep my commandments you will live in my love just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and live in his love. This is my command: that you love each other as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this—that a man lay down his life [psyche: soul, ego] for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do. …. 17 “This is what I command you, love one another!
After reading the passages, please offer comments on any or all of these questions
- Why was John chosen to pass on this the revelation that “God is love?”
- How does this revelation of God’s nature impact our grasp of the trinity?
- How does the old covenant command tell us how we are to love our neighbor?
- How does Jesus tell us how we are to love one another in the family of God?
- Does loving a brother require a deeper commitment than loving a neighbor?
How do you respond to the following statements?
- The more I love God, the more I will grow in my love for others.
- An important way I show my love for God is by loving others,
- The more I love others, the more I will grow in my love God.