Tuesday, October 27, 2020


To love is to choose. When God chose Israel, it was not because of what Israel could do for him, but because of what he could do for her (Deuteronomy 7:7-9).

God’s love for Israel had nothing to do with her merit or skill or worth. He simply chose to love her.  There was nothing in the object of love to deserve love: everything of value was in the One who loved, that is, in God.

The use of the word ‘choose’ helps us to understand the essential nature of divine love. There is a strong element of choice in it: the lover chooses to love the beloved.

In Jerome’s fifth century translation of the Bible into Latin, when he came to the word ‘loved’ in John 3:16, he used the Latin verb ‘chose’.

There was a more common word for ‘love’ that he could have employed, namely amare (from which we get words like ‘amorous’). But this word has to do more with feelings or affection. So Jerome rejected it.

But love is not just a feeling: it’s something we choose to do.

Some Christian songs about the love of God and our love for him tend to be sentimental. What we have here is a robust love. The kind of love that makes a man determine to lay down his life for his country or sacrifice everything for the sake of his kids. It’s a bold, decisive thing.

To read more on this topic see Living in the Image of God, Barry Chant (Miranda: Tabor, 2012 available in eBook and Paperback) from which this edited extract is taken.

Barry Chant

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Barry Chant is a regular speaker at church services, seminars, conferences and conventions. Hundreds of thousands of his books have been sold around the world. He has degrees in arts, theology and ministry, a diploma in education and a PhD in history. He was the co-founder and former president of Tabor College, Australia.

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