Love in the Book of Acts

This is a rerun from 2007.

heart.gifHow many times do you think the word love is mentioned in the Book of Acts?  Before you answer, here are a few Acts facts to consider:

  • Acts has 28 chapters (the average book in the Bible has 18)
  • Acts chronicles the spread of the early church over nearly 30 years, from Jesus’ final words and his ascension into Heaven all the way through the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment near the end of his life.
  • Acts includes 13 presentations of the Gospel to a variety of people – crowds, individuals, Jews, Gentiles, ordinary citizens, high-ranking government officials, etc.

Click here to find how many times the word love is mentioned ==>

Here’s the answer: 0.  Zero.  Z-E-R-O.  Seriously.  Do a word search in your Bible software.  It’s OK, I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it.  I often use this as a warm up question when teaching about evangelism.  The answers usually range from somewhere in the teens to over 100. 

So what’s the point?  Does that mean love isn’t important?  Of course not.  God displays perfect love throughout his Word and his love for us is displayed in the sacrifice of Jesus the Son on the cross.  And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention God’s love when sharing the Gospel. 

But it does tell us some important things about evangelism.  The history of the early church should certainly provide a model for how we should go about sharing the truth of the Gospel.  The primary model used in Acts was to lay out the fact of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and miracles and to highlight our need for him and his forgiveness.  There are calls for repentance.  But God’s love is never directly mentioned. 

Preaching God’s unconditional love without the need for repentance and faith in Christ is not a Biblical model.  It can give people a false sense of security, as in, “God loves me without conditions?  Great!  No need to change anything.”  People need to understand the bad news (they are sinners against a perfect and Holy God) before they realize their need for the Good News (Jesus took the punishment for our sins and we can be reconciled to God if we put our faith in Jesus). 

Also note that the Gospel presentations in Acts rebut the myth that Christianity involves faith without reason.  Each time the message is given it is based on facts, logic and appeals to reason.  At no point is the message to have blind faith. 

Read Acts for yourself and see what I mean.  Click here to read a summary of the 13 Gospel presentations in Acts (courtesy of Stand To Reason). 

One thought on “Love in the Book of Acts

  1. I had been struggling with exactly what is teh gospel for some time, and as I was reading the book of acts, it struck me the instances the gospel was presented. The American church tends to emphasize love and push repentance under the rug. So, I pulled up my Bible software and started doing some searched, and like you I nearly fell out of my chair when I discovered the the word love or any of its derivatives is not mentioned once in the book of Acts. I could not believe it and searched again. Still not believe, or thinking I was crazy I searched on-line and was confirmed. I later encountered this page and loved it!
    I still come back here from time to time to reaffirm what I had discovered. Thank you for keeping this up! I love this page! Bless you!

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