Author Greg Koukl
Published on 01/11/2017

Love Needs an Education

Greg offers thoughts on what true, biblical love is versus the kind of love that simply makes people feel good.


In Philippians chapter 1 Paul says that our love should abound in real knowledge and discernment. Hmm. Boy, that’s something that has application for today that love needs a theological education. That is, just loving, just feeling compassionate towards someone, and then oftentimes giving them what they want, is not always a Christian virtue. This I think is most obvious in those circumstances where, with the issue of homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, and the like, where children of parents who are Christians come out as gay, the parents begin to have a change of theological mind with regards to their son or daughter’s sexual activity.

And in a one sense it’s understanding because this is hitting really close to home, but this is why I think Paul says as followers of Christ that our love should abound in real knowledge and discernment. That is, there are times when we approve of things that are not right under the guise of love. We’re just being loving and we’re just being accepting. Love guided rather by knowledge and discernment is what God is asking for here. And sometimes we just have to say, “I love you and that will never change, but I cannot approve of the lifestyle behaviors that you’re involved with because those things are wrong.”

The most dramatic statement of love in the entire scriptures is found in first Corinthians 13 as it identifies all of the qualities of the virtue of love, and one of those is that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. So even love needs to be theologically informed. It should abound in knowledge and discernment so that genuine love affirms the things that God affirms and condemns the things that God condemns. Even though we have a posture of grace and mercy we still must be faithful to the truth. That’s love abounding in real knowledge and discernment.