Love: The Supreme Virtue

“Paul sees in love (agape) the supreme virtue (1 Cor. 13:4). Its perfection, Peter says, covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Love manifests the likeness of children of God to their heavenly Father. They love their enemies and are quickly reconciled with their adversaries. Nothing can separate them from the love of God which is shown in Christ their Savior (Matt. 5:24, 44; Rom. 8:38). The love of God consists in keeping his commandments, not in some vague emotion (1 John 4:7). The Lord himself summarized the commandments in the love of God and love of neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). The ancient law preceded this charity and orientated humanity toward patience and generosity. It leads one to return the stray animal to its rightful owner, requiring that one assume care of it until the owner can again take possession of it. The law imposes respect for the rights of strangers, Egyptians, and prisoners, and demands one to give alms to the poor (Duet. 23:7; 20:10). In all this, the goodness and love of God are evident.”

(Paul M. Blowers, The Bible in Greek Antiquity, p 123)