|Publication Date: 19 Sep 2019|
|Series: The Bible Speaks Today Themes|
|Page Count: 320|
|Author: Patrick Mitchel|
The Message of Love
It is almost universally agreed that we need love in order to live and flourish as human beings; and yet within our contemporary culture there are numerous confusing, competing and evolving ideas about what ‘love’ is.
There are few greater subjects in Christian theology than love; yet it is a surprisingly complex and challenging concept to understand, let alone live by. Patrick Mitchel’s conviction is that Christians need to be thinking about, and practising, love in compelling and winsome ways. Our task is not only to articulate what love is, but also to show to the world what authentic Christian love looks like in practice. ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love’ (Gal. 5:6 NIV).
Mitchel’s exposition explores love in the Old Testament; how the love of God is supremely revealed in the mission and death of Jesus Christ; love in the life and teaching of Jesus; and the church’s calling to be a community of love. He helps us to grasp afresh the breadth, depth, scope, and radically counter-cultural nature of the Bible’s teaching on love.
For close to two decades I have studied both how the Bible presents love and how Bible scholars have expressed that presentation. Luminaries like James Moffatt and Leon Morris, from two considerably different traditions, have become standard treatments but I found both coming up short for different reasons. No one will ever offer the final word on what the Bible says about love, but I know of no volume that is as thorough, sensitive to context and contour, as Patrick Mitchel's sparklingly clear and faithful exposition of how the Bible presents love, how in fact the God of love loves the world and the people of God in Christ. This will become a standard text for my classes on New Testament theology.
Oddly enough, it has been decades since a really good study of love in the Bible has appeared. Finally, we may now thank Patrick Mitchel for remedying this oversight in The Message of Love. There is a reason that Jesus said that the great commandment has to do with love, and Paul said love was greater than even faith and hope. It is because God himself is love, it is the essence of his character, and Mitchel in this book lays out for us how that is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. Highly recommended.