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Cecil Walker

Love as a Tool in the New Testament


The writings of the New Testament in the several decades following the crucifixion
effectively delivered the story of Christ and the teachings of the newborn Christian faith to mixed
audiences of Jews and Gentiles through its use of varying books, styles, themes, and stories. One
of the most salient ideas included in the New Testament is the notion of love in all its many
forms and uses. Early in its rise, Christianity and its messengers needed to spread the word of
their faith, and love was a divine and perfect convoy. Not only did love help Christianity to
sweep the Mediterranean world, but it also efficiently molded a bridge between the message of
Christ and the laws and foundations of the Jewish faith. That means that members of the Jewish
community and followers of the strict, preceding Jewish laws could affirm and believe in Pauls
words and share his faith because love was now the new law that would dictate all other laws.
The New Testament manifests love as a very powerful tool wielded by Paul, other advanced
biblical writers, and even Jesus Christ himself. Just as a pen writes a novel, the New Testament
uses love to construct peace and communal cohesion, to advance our individual narratives, and
ultimately, to bring us closer to divine perfection.
Before believers can even reach the greater depths of the power of love, the New
Testament makes it clear and attainable what love is exactly. In its simplest form, love is a gift of
benevolence. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return (Luke
6.35). It is a passing of warmth, kindness, and goodness from one to another. But love is not just
an act of prosocial behavior. It is altruism in its truest form, expecting nothing from the receiver
in return for the deed done. If a believer performs an act of love, it comes from a place of
goodness and not of greedy prospects. Not only is love a gift, but it is a command handed down

to us from on high. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, You shall love
your neighbour as yourself (Galatians 5.14). To love is an act of obedience. It is divine word
that we share goodness with our neighbors. We fulfill Gods law and all laws, heavenly and
earthly, when we genuinely love ourselves, one another, and God. To ignore or deny love is to go
against a divine commandment. However, one should not be fooled by its noble allure. Love is
warm and good, but it is not easy. In fact, love is strongest, most useful, and most rewarding
when it is erected in the presence of obstacles. If you love those who love you, what credit is
that to you? For even sinners love those who love them (Luke 6.32). Because of this, we are
compelled to love our enemies. To allow love to take its full effect, we must not only share
with our neighbor and those we appreciate, but we have to give the gift of goodness to those who
steal from us and wish us harm, for the light of love is brightest in the shadows of hatred.
Beyond that, love, in its ultimate and most powerful form, is a tool. It is a weapon with which we
can combat evil. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12.21).
Theres merit to fighting evil with the goodness of love, as opposed to simply just trying to fight
evil. Even further, do not just let love be your weapon but let the protective powers of love also
be your shield, so that you cannot possibly be infiltrated by evil. The uses of love as a tool stretch
beyond the battlefield of good and evil. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;
only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,* but through love become
slaves to one another (Galatians 5.13). It is through love that we can lay ourselves at the feet of
one another just as Christ asks of us. Love is the bridge by which we reach the life of servitude
that Christ has called us into. Living as a servant to fellow humans is one of the greatest requests
Jesus made of his followers, and love is the way to get there. In summary, love is a gift not only

given to us but commanded of us from on high, and it is a tool and a path by which we
accomplish our heavenly goals and requests.
It is abundantly clear that love is important in the New Testament. Christ fostered it, and
believers prosper in it. However, it is nothing more than hopeful, vague ideology if members of
the faith had no instruction on how to use it. For that reason, the New Testament effectively
describes how to take the idea of love from biblical writings and the words of Jesus, transform it,
and place it in the hands of the people.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good, Love one another
with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour, and You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your
mind; and your neighbour as yourself (Romans 12.9, Romans 12.10, and Luke 10.27). How
can I live and love as this faith has asked me to? I can do that by shying away from the grasp of
evil and clinging to what is good. I can love by showing honorable demonstrations towards those
around me. The right way to love is to submit to faith my heart, soul, strength, and mind and then
to turn around and give all that to my neighbor as well. The laws of love say that not only is God
deserving of our admiration, concentration, and labor, but our peers, friends, family, neighbors,
and fellow human beings are deserving of the same love and effort we would give to ourselves.
That is how to love. But with the what and the how defined, the natural point of interest is
the why. Why does any of this matter, and what is the New Testament accomplishing in its
utilization of the great and impressive tool of love? It is noteworthy that why we should love is
exactly equal to the purpose of love as a tool across different contexts in the New Testament.
That purpose is to construct peace and communal cohesion, to advance our individual narratives,
and, ultimately, to bring us closer to divine perfection.

Paul and other writers of the New Testament had to handle the struggle of closing
the gap between the preceding Jewish faith and the newfound faith in Jesus Christ. Because of
that and many other common threats to cities and different groups, they were constantly trying to
maintain an air of shared community and foster peace among neighbors. In Romans, which was
written by Paul, there is constant reference to love and actions of love done to one another
(Romans 12:10). The relations of brother or sister and neighbor are also referred to quite
frequently (Romans 14:15, Romans 13:10). All of this informs us that the wisdom of this passage
is directed towards neighbors and people of shared community, as opposed to strangers or
individuals without social context or community. When Romans tells us how to love, it is doing
so in regards to people in our proximate environment, people who breathe our same air and see
the same things we see, people who are most likely much more similar to us than different. Love
can be genuine if it is exchanged mutually and for the greater harmony of a community. That is
the purpose of love in this context. Romans also references peace, mutual affections, and
very often speaks of deeds for one another (Romans 1:7, 12:10, 13:8). It mentions hardship,
or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword and goes on to describe
the virtue of fulfilling the law (Romans 8:35, 13:10). In including all of this into its body,
Romans is using love to send a message of peace and harmony wherever these words may have
substantial effect. Famine or peril may threaten a community, but it should hold onto peace and,
more importantly, love. Fulfilling the law, loving your neighbor, and just plainly letting love be
genuine is the correct way to love and is precisely how to maintain a community. Another
purpose behind the use of love as a tool in the New Testament is the individual advancement of
our personal narratives and the presentation of rewards in regards to that.

As individuals, we greatly value our personal storylines. We expect the same ups and
downs, achievements and shortcomings, and escalation through stages we see in the epic tales in
which we often indulge. The book of Luke plays on this individual narrative we all seem to carry
with us. In this book, we see reference to enemies and the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke
6.35). Most verses even directly focus on the individual, speaking openly to you as a singular
character. All of the direction and wisdom Luke gives us is geared toward an individual or a lone
protagonist tasked with loving his/her enemies. Luke describes how this individual is to act and
react when in this world experiencing threatening people and situations, which is very different
from the wisdom of community living presented in Romans. There are also frequent allusions to
wealth, money, debts, and other similar concepts (Luke 16:13, 16:14, 7:42). It also
mentions accolades of the same vain such as respect and honor (Luke 20:46). All of these
can be categorized as worldly accumulations or things we drag around here on earth, constantly
losing and gaining. These are objects or characters we come across in our storylines, but the love
Luke preaches is greater than them all. That love can overcome any threat or obstacle in our
narrative. When out in this world, simply love your enemies. Persecution, beggars, and thievery
will threaten you but greet all of those circumstances with love. With worldly prizes as its focus,
this passage from Luke is teaching, through love, how to live as an individual on earth, how to
handle wealth and possessions, and what to think of ourselves and others who either have or
have not. Love, in this context, will help us to navigate through our personal storylines. Loves
purpose here as a useful tool is to aid us in achieving rewards far greater than wealth and
possessions. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your
reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful
and the wicked (Luke 6.35). The heavenly reward promised for us propels us forward, helping

to advance us in love through our personal storylines. Thus, not only is love good for harmony
and peace, but it progresses us through our narrative and brings us to our heavenly reward. The
last reason for why we should love, and simultaneously how the New Testament uses love as
tool, is a built-in desire for the imitation of the divine.
God is perfect and all powerful.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He
was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one
thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all
people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:1-5).
As merely products of Gods image, we as humans are far beneath the divine greatness of
God, but in faith, humans work on their flaws and aspire to be nearer to God. In this vain, the
New Testament uses love as a way of inching closer to his perfection. But love your enemies,
do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be
children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as
your Father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36). If we love the way the Lord has commanded us to love
we will be children of the Most High, meaning we will be that much closer to God. I should be
merciful not just for mercys sake, but because the heavenly Father is merciful. Merciful acts of
love would bring me closer to God and closer to divine perfection. If love is defined as a gift of
goodness, it was first given to humans from God, the original source. If there is no other reason
to love, to imitate God is more than enough reason. God is perfect and all powerful. To love
perfectly and powerfully is to grow nearer to God. You have heard that it was said, You shall
love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his

sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For
if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the
same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do
not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect
(Matthew 5:43-48).
Love is a very powerful tool wielded by both Jesus and the writers of the New Testament.
The New Testament uses it to construct peace and communal cohesion, to advance our individual
narratives, and ultimately, to bring us closer to divine perfection. If a question of why still
remains, it might be a question of why this particular tool. One might imagine that there are other
plausible and potent options that will deliver the same message, build the same bridges, and aid
us in our quests to combat evil and find God. The answer to that is that love is simply the
ultimate path. The New Testament hails it above all other acts. Jesus, himself, elevated love
above the reign of actual law. There is no greater option than love in regards to achieving peace,
individual progression toward our heavenly rewards, and attempts to imitate and grow closer to
Gods divine perfection. Its strength, especially Gods own love, is beyond anything in this
world. ":..nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from
the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8.39). In the eyes of Jesus, it is the key to
faithful living. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything;
the only thing that counts is faith working through love (Galatians 5.6). Because of the message
of love, no longer should tyrants rule, should worldly possessions divide, or should laws oppress
and constrict. Love is now the new law and the code by which humans should govern and live.
and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,
and to love ones neighbour as oneself,this is much more important than all whole burnt-

offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12.33). If we wield the tool of love the way Jesus has asked,
there will surely be less darkness here on earth. It can be heavy and weigh us down in the face of
obstacles, but if we love and cling to goodness, we can find peace and heavenly rewards and
come that much closer to being divine.

Romans

Luke

People
Romans 13.10:
Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore,
love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 14.15:
If your brother or sister* is being injured by
what you eat, you are no longer walking in
love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of
one for whom Christ died.
Romans 5.8:
But God proves his love for us in that while we
still were sinners Christ died for us.
Romans 12.10:
love one another with mutual affection; outdo
one another in showing honour.
Romans 13.9:
The commandments, You shall not commit
adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not
steal; You shall not covet; and any other
commandment, are summed up in this word,
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Objects
Romans 1.7:
To all Gods beloved in Rome, who are called
to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8.35:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 12.10:
love one another with mutual affection; outdo
one another in showing honour.
Romans 13.8:
Owe no one anything, except to love one
another; for the one who loves another has
fulfilled the law.
Romans 13.10:
Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore,

People
Luke 6.27:
But I say to you that listen, Love your
enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6.35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will
be great, and you will be children of the Most
High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the
wicked.

Objects
Luke 16.13:
No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will
either hate the one and love the other, or be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and wealth.*
Luke 16.14:
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money,
heard all this, and they ridiculed him.
Luke 20.46:
Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around
in long robes, and love to be greeted with
respect in the market-places, and to have the
best seats in the synagogues and places of
honour at banquets.
Luke 7.42:
When they could not pay, he cancelled the
debts for both of them. Now which of them
will love him more?

love is the fulfilling of the law.

Luke 7.47:
Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were
Love in Romans
(1) Gods love
many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown
Romans 5.5:
great love. But the one to whom little is
and hope does not disappoint us, because Gods love
has been
poured
into our hearts
forgiven,
loves
little.
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Luke 11.42:
Romans 5.8:
But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint
But God proves his love for us in that while we still
were
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and
ruesinners
and herbs
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Romans 8.37:
justice and the love of God; it is these you
No, in all these things we are more than conquerorsought
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him practised,
who lovedwithout
us.
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neglecting the
Romans 8.39:
others.
nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
be able to separate us from the
Lukewill
6.27:
love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But I say to you that listen, Love your
Romans 15.30:
enemies, do good to those who hate you,
IPurpose
appeal to you, brothers and sisters,* by our Lord Purpose
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Romans
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Luke
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fororothers
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Romans 13.8:
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Romans
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love is the fulfilling of the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not
steal; You shall not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word,
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Romans 14.15:
If your brother or sister* is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in
love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.

Love in Luke
(1) Gods love
Luke 7.5:
for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.
Luke 11.42:
But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice
and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practised, without neglecting the others.
(2) Love for others
Luke 6.27:
But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6.32:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who
love them.
(3) How to love
Luke 6.35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be
great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the
wicked.
Luke 7.47:
Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great
love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.
Luke 10.27:
He answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.

The Reward of Loving/ Individual Progression


Luke 7.47:
Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great
love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.
Luke 6.32:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love
them.
Luke 6.35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be
great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Mark 10.21:

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give
the money* to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.
Luke 6:35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.

Peace from Love/Community Cohesion


Romans 13.9:
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal;
You shall not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, Love your
neighbour as yourself.
Romans 14.15:
If your brother or sister* is being injuredDo not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for
whom Christ died.
Romans 13.10:
Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Mark 12.31:
The second is this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment
greater than these.

Love as an Imitation of God


Luke 6.35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be
great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Matthew 5.48:
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Luke 6.36:
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 19:10:
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.

Defining Love in the Testament


Non-malevolent
Romans 13.10:
Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:13-14:
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;* only do not use your freedom as an
opportunity for self-indulgence,* but through love become slaves to one another. 14For the
whole law is summed up in a single commandment, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Benevolence
Luke 6.35:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.
Romans 12.10:
love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.
Especially in Spite of Obstacles
Luke 6.27:
But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6.32:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love
them.
Matthew 5.46:
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do
the same?

Love as a Tool
Galatians 5.6:
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing
that counts is faith working* through love.
Galatians 5.13:
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;* only do not use your freedom as an

opportunity for self-indulgence,* but through love become slaves to one another.
Romans 13.9:
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal;
You shall not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, Love your
neighbour as yourself.
Romans 13.8:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the
law.
Romans 12.21:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Love as the Ultimate Message/Path


Romans 8.37:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8.39:
nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love
of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 13.8:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the
law.
Luke 10.27:
He answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.
Galatians 5.6:
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing
that counts is faith working* through love.
Romans 13.9:
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal;
You shall not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, Love your
neighbour as yourself.
Galatians 5:13-14:
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;* only do not use your freedom as an
opportunity for self-indulgence,* but through love become slaves to one another. 14For the
whole law is summed up in a single commandment, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Mark 12.31:
The second is this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment
greater than these.
Mark 12.33:
and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and

to love ones neighbour as oneself,this is much more important than all whole burntofferings and sacrifices.

Coogan, Michael D. TheNewOxfordAnnotatedBible,ThirdEdition. New York, New York:


Oxford University Press, 2001.