I sometimes it difficult to understand how some people put so much weight onto one verse in the Bible without looking at what is said throughout – all of the Bible.
I’m referring to the case which Selwyn mentions today, in regard to the following verses, 1 Corinthians 16:19-24 (NLT): “The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you. Greet each other with Christian love.
Here is my greeting in my own handwriting – Paul. If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.”
How anyone can intrepret the last verse to mean – to love ONLY those in Christ Jesus – is difficult to accept, unless they are deliberately trying to mislead people.
As Selwyn mentions you don’t have to look very far, to read in Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.”
As you would know there are many verses concerning the life of love that we attempt to live with the help of God’s power.
Luke 6:27: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Romans 13:8-9: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Ephesians 5:1: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
1 John 3:10: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
I’ve included the above verses, to demonstrate the need to test out intrepreatation of one verse, against the universal truths found throughout Scripture.
Selwyn concludes:“Does this special bond between believers, what ACts 2:42 calls ‘the fellowship’, mean that our love becomes exclusive? No.
Loving the fellowship enables us to love others better. Love that is restricted is constricted.”
It’s so very true – the love of those who follow Jesus – is unrestricted (in regard to all people, however, this obviously excludes the love of evil). Do you agree?