Love is one of those strange, indefinable ideas that have emerged in the world. We may know what “love” is according to its dictionary definition, but when it comes to defining love in our own words, our own words are pitifully inadequate to capture the essence of “love.”
Everyone tries to define love at one point or another – psychologists, scientists, theologians. Probably, the people who have come close to explaining it are the poets, artists, and writers.
Of course, speaking of writers, the Bible is full to overflowing with references to love. For example, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5. Or, “A new command I give you – love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another.” – John 13:34. Or the old familiar standby, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
Then there’s also the well-known passage, from 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love” chapter, where Paul is describing to the reader the best way of all. There is no need here for me to relate the entire chapter here, though I will close with the passage starting at verse 8:
“Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (New Living Translation)
So in the end, it’s okay if we don’t fully understand what love is. We have had glimpses of it, and that will be enough to sustain us for the time being, because one day, we will understand it perfectly.
Until then, let us always remember the last verse, verse 13, of this chapter: “Meanwhile, these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.”