The One Word

We all know people who talk a lot and some who are relatively quiet, speaking very little. How would your friends describe you?  How many words do you suppose you speak each day?  According to a recent study the average person speaks about 16,000 words a day.  Do you consider yourself average?  That seems to me to be a lot of talking!

This caused me to wonder, how many words are in the Bible?  Of course it depends on which translation you use, but the count is somewhere just less than 800,000 words.  That is a lot of words. 

What if you were asked to reduce all of the Bible down to just one word?  What is the one word that would summarize the entire Bible?

I’d like to suggest the word love would be a good possibility. The word love is found in every book of the New Testament with the exception of Acts.  In fact, of the nine different writers of the New Testament books, each one addresses the idea of love.  Listen to Jesus, Paul, James, John, Peter, and the Hebrew writer address this topic. 

Recall in Matthew 22:36, when Jesus was asked to pick the one law He considered the most important.  I’m told the Old Law consisted of a total of 613 do’s and don’ts.  Of course the Pharisees were trying to get the Lord to make a statement that would divide the crowd.  The lawyer asked Him to pick out one from the 613, which was most important.  Jesus simply said to love GOD and to love your neighbor.  Love.

Paul had much to say about the matter of love.

Gal 5:14 reads, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  This quote actually appears 1st in the OT book of Leviticus (19:18).

Paul said the same thing in Romans 13:10, when he said, “love is the fulfillment of the law.”

In Colossians 3, after enumerating a list of desirable things to put on, Paul says but above all these things put on love.  Above all!

In 1 Corinthians 16:14, in the closing verses of the book, he says “Let all that you do be done with love.”  All that you do!

In 1 Timothy 1:5, after urging Timothy to teach no other doctrine, Paul said “the purpose of the commandment is love…”

From 1 Corinthians 13, we know – love never ceases which is why the chapter ends declaring love to be greater than hope and faith.  Love is eternal.

James, the brother of our Lord, reiterated the command in James 2:8 – You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  James then went on to call this the royal law.

Of course we have 1 John 4:8 – let us love one another, for love is of GOD – for GOD is love.

1 Peter 4:8 – Above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.  Above all things.

The Hebrew writer, in the closing chapter, begins by saying, “Let brotherly love continue.” 

My one word is love.  I think we have made a strong case for that.

I remember the words of a song from 1965 and think how true they ring today.

What the world needs now

Is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing

That there’s just too little of.

True then, true now.  Let’s do our part to fix that.

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