We all know that “God so loved the world,” that “God is love,” and that when it comes to love, nobody exemplifies it better than Jesus (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:8; Jn 15:13). We’ve often heard First Corinthians’ “love chapter” (1 Co 13) at weddings.
But if you wanted to do a quick study on how the Bible talks about love, where would you go?
Let’s look at the books of the Bible that talk about love most, and then drill into a few chapters that really focus on love.
The 3 books of the Bible that talk about love most
I want to see which books of the Bible focus on love most. To do this, I’ll take every mention of “love” in each book of the Bible, and then divide it by the number of words in that book.
This way, we’ll see which books have the highest concentration of verses on love. Here’s what we get:
The clear winner: if you go through this book, you’ll understand why. For every 50 words you read in John, one of them is the word “love.”
This letter is only one chapter long, but it still mentions love four times.
This song (or anthology of songs) is probably more of that Valentine’s-Day love you think of this time of year. It’s a passionate poem in which a bride and groom profess their love and desire for one another.
These are the books that focus most on love. By the way, these counts include variations like “loved,” “lovely,” and “loves.”
In case you’re wondering, the book with the most mentions of love overall is Psalms.
The 5 chapters that focus most on love
Now let’s apply that same approach at the chapter level. Here are the three chapters of the Bible with the highest concentration of words like “love” and “lovingkindness”:
Psalm 136: God’s lovingkindness
Once you look this up, you’ll know why it’s number one. This psalm is a series of two-liners: the first lines walk through God’s acts in Israel’s history, the second lines repeat that “His lovingkindness is everlasting,” or “His love endures forever.”
1 John 4. Love one another
The whole book of First John is about how to recognize the children of God; one of the key tells is that the children of God love one another. (Which is one of the “one another” commands in the Bible.) In this chapter, John explains that God is love, and so if we are of God, we ought to love each other.
Psalm 117. Love takes a large percentage
This one is kind of cheating—it mentions God’s lovingkindness once, but the psalm is only two verses long!
1 Corinthians 13. The “love chapter”
Yep, the famous “love chapter” comes in fourth place! In this chapter, Paul discusses love in the context of spiritual gifts. The main thrust: if you’re not doing it in love, you’re doing it wrong.
Hosea 3. A prophet’s love, God’s love
This little chapter rounds out the top five, and it’s a good one. The prophet Hosea is told to love the wife who left him—just like God loves the nation that left Him. You can read more about Hosea’s love story here.
A few takeaways
When I studied what the Bible says about love, a few things struck me as important:
- Most of the time, it’s about God’s love for His people.
- That love shows up in both the Old Testament and the New Testament—God is love, but He’s also unchanging. We find good examples of His love throughout the Scriptures.
How about you?
You can easily read any one of the chapters and books I listed here in half an hour. In fact, some of these are on the list of shortest books in the Bible. Try reading one of them.
I’d love to hear what you learn in the comments!