What The Bible Says About Love And Caring

The Bible says quite a lot about how people should be caring and considerate to others, and the best kind of love.

The apostle Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians chapter 13 (TEV)

1 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.

2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains-but if I have no love, I am nothing.

3 I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned-but if I have no love, this does me no good.

4 Love is patient and kind;
it is not jealous or conceited or proud;
5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable;
love does not keep a record of wrongs;
6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.
7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

8 Love is eternal.

The Bible says that Jesus said:

Luke chapter 6 (GWT)

27 "But I tell everyone who is listening:
Love your enemies.
Be kind to those who hate you.
28 Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who insult you.
29 If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well. If someone takes your coat, don't stop him from taking your shirt.
30 Give to everyone who asks you for something. If someone takes what is yours, don't insist on getting it back.

31 "Do for other people everything you'd like them to do for you.

32 "If you love those who love you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Even sinners love those who love them.
33 If you help those who help you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners do that too.
34 If you lend anything to those from whom you expect to get something back, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners also lend to sinners to get back what they lend.
35 Rather, love your enemies, help them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward. You will be the children of the Most High God. After all, he is kind to unthankful and evil people. 36 Be merciful as your Father is merciful.

37 "Stop judging, and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket.
The standards you use for others will be applied to you."

Incidentally, the command to turn the other cheek has sometimes been misinterpreted. From the article "Is It 'un-Christian' to Engage in Satire?" from the Tektonics website:

"Resist not evil," which precedes the "cheek" admonition, is a well-known Jewish proverb (Ps. 37:1, 8; Prov. 24:19) and actually means, do not compete with evildoers by trying to outdo them in terms of getting back at them. Three examples for the teaching follow: Turn the other cheek; if someone sues you for your cloak, also give them your tunic; if you are forced to go one mile, go two. All three of these things refer to what amount to inconvenient, but nevertheless perfectly legal, impositions on the person. The "slap on the cheek" is a type of personal insult, so that the command to turn the other cheek is essentially a command not to start trading insults, but take the higher ground and turn away from the exchange. It is not a license to allow yourself to get beat up."

For more useful insights, visit: The Law and Retaliation-Concluded.

And on giving to whoever asks: Do Luke 6:29-30 and Matthew 5:42 oblige us to give away all our stuff to anyone who asks?

Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Bible says to a Christian friend of Paul and to the Christian community:

1 Timothy chapter 6 (NLT)

11 Follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

1 John chapter 3 (NLT)

16 We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. 17 But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help - how can God's love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. 19 It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth.

James wrote:

James chapter 2 (NLT)

14 Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, 16 and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well" - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all - it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." I say, "I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds."

19 Do you still think it's enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! 20 Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

In Mark's Gospel, the Bible says:

Mark chapter 10 (TEV)

42 Jesus called [his disciples] together to him and said,
"You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 43 This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 44 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people."

The apostle Paul wrote to his fellow Christian worker Titus:

Titus chapter 3 (NLT)

12 ... do your best to meet me at Nicopolis as quickly as you can, for I have decided to stay there for the winter.

13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. 14 For our people should not have unproductive lives. They must learn to do good by helping others who have urgent needs.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Bible says to Christians:

Galatians chapter 6 (NLT)

7 Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. 10 Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.

In Matthew's Gospel, the Bible says that Jesus Christ said:

Matthew Chapter 25 (TEV)

31 "When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne, 32 and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left.

34 Then the King will say to the people on his right, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. 35 I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, 36 naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.'

37 The righteous will then answer him, "When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?'

40 The King will reply, "I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, "Away from me, you that are under God's curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink; 43 I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.'

44 Then they will answer him, "When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?' 45 The King will reply, "I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.'

46 These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life."

(Incidentally, an interesting article on the original meaning of the words usually translated in Bibles as hell and eternal indicates that they may actually mean something a little different and thus the punishment is not so severe as generally thought: Is It All GREEK to You? It may or may not be accurate, so further research will be needed for anyone interested.)

In the Letter of James in the New Testament, the Bible says:

James chapter 4 (TEV)

1 Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2 You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3 And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures.

4 Unfaithful people! Don't you know that to be the world's friend means to be God's enemy? If you want to be the world's friend, you make yourself God's enemy. 5 Don't think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, "The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires." 6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

7 So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! 9 Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Bible says:

2 Corinthians chapter 5 (NLT)

14 Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. 17 What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! 18 All this newness of life is from God, 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Colossians chapter 3 (NLT)

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.

The main Bible pages on this site:

Bible Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories
Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites
Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.
Or go directly to the next in the series:
A Psychology Article On Tackling Prejudice, And What The Bible Says About Despising People, Judging By Appearances, And God's Mercy.

The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.

Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).

Other initials:

Warning Against Believing Everything you Hear or Read

Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:

The Beauty of the New Testament's Moral Teaching and Other Important Pages on this Website

Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:

There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:

Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:

If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, an addiction, an eating disorder, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse or domestic violence, coping with bullies in the workplace, or bullying and teasing at school, trying to lose weight, raising difficult teenagers, caring for someone with a disease like Alzheimer's, wanting to recover from anorexia or self-harm, or grieving for someone you were close to or feeling lonely, and you'd like some ideas on coping or getting past it, visit our Self-help series.

If this is the first page you have visited on this site, this is part of Broadcaster.org.uk, a website about social and psychological issues, what the Bible says about social problems and other topics, and how they affect people's lives today.

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