Loving God: 4 Ideas About Theology We Absolutely Need to Talk About

Loving God: 4 Ideas About Theology We Absolutely Need to Talk About

Sometime back, I had a discussion with my friends about loving God and theology. In fact, I have had such discussions with multiple people. The gist is this: that theology is cerebral, loving God is actionable and more practical. In other words, we need to spend less time talking about theology and more about loving God and His people in more practical manners. Such conversations and discussions pulled a wrong string in my heart and mind. I often wondered why should there be a dichotomy between learning about theology and loving God? How did we come to such an anti-intellectual state?

To this, I offer 4 ideas about theology and loving God that we absolutely need to think and talk about.

theological journals online

Loving God is a response to what God has done for us

Perhaps the first place to start is to examine the standard portion of the Bible which exhort us to love God. And this can be found in the New Testament where we found Jesus explaining that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29). This was a direct reference to Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which forms that famous Shema that still functions as a fundamental articulation of the responsibilities of Jewish life and thoughts. In short, the command by Moses to the nation of Israel before they enter the Promised Land is seen as the central command that undergirds the way of life for the chosen people of God.

When we look at the Shema, we need to understand that Moses was addressing the nation in the context of outlining the covenant, or the nature of relationship, between Yahweh and Israel. The sense of love commanded here was prescribed to a people whom Yahweh has delivered from oppression in Egypt and offered a way that leads to blessings and life. Hence, there is a sense that the love consists of not only loyalty to the one God whom they must follow, but trust and obedience in all aspect of their lives as a result of what God has done for them. In fact, Moberly has, in his book, even concluded that the verse should be understood as the following:

Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, YHWH is the one and only. So you should love YHWH your God with all your thinking, with all your longing, and with all your striving.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, translation by R.W.L Moberly

Similarly, loving God for us Christians draws reference from what Christ has done for us on the cross. It is not a love that comes out of nowhere, but a love that stems from the deepest recesses of our heart, that we know we ought to love the God who has reserved nothing from us when it comes to our salvation from the power of sin.

Good Friday

Loving God involves us knowing the God whom we love

In some sense, loving God can be compared to loving our spouses. When we claim to love our spouse, there needs to be a constant process of getting to know them – their likings, dislikes, hobbies, habits etc. And it is pointless to say we love someone and make up the facts of that someone we love. And I must say that most people will agree that it will be helpful if there is a manual on the person we love to help us know the person.

my wife is my helper

Likewise, loving God means we need to get to know Him. The danger that a lot of Christians run into is that we create an image of God which is not compatible to the Bible. And getting to know God means that we need to ensure we study the “manual” – which is the Bible.

And this is where theology comes in. We often say that right thinking/believing will lead to right living. How do we love God properly without knowing who He really is? Studying theology precisely helps us with that. It is therefore not simply an intellectual exercise but it is an important component to our relationship with God.

Loving God, by implication, requires us to respond to His love in our personal lives

Knowing and loving God also demands an appropriate response from us. If loving God entails trust and obedience to God, then it necessarily means that we need to respond in certain ways in our personal lives. Think about it, Moses was addressing the Israelites in the context of the polytheistic cultures around the nation. As such, the implication of responding to God’s love for the nation and loving God is that the nation needs to put away the worship of other gods so that they are solely loyal to the God who is one.

This view is again echoed in the New Testament, where Jesus talked about no one can serve two masters (Matt 6:24). The implication is clear, that the servant (doulos in Greek) can only serve one master. If he declares loyalty to another master, then it is as good as being disloyal to the two. The implication is then that the servant needs to adjust his life such that he can only serve one master. Similarly, Paul would exhort that Christ’s love compel us due to what He has done on the cross (1 Cor 5:14-15).

Hence, one means of adjusting and responding to this is that we need to stop treating things that are not God as God, i.e. stop our idolatrous treatment of created things. There are other ways but the long and short is that we need to treat God seriously because simply put it, He loves us before we start loving Him. Theology therefore also means that it should illicit a response from us when we come to a loving knowledge of God.

Loving God, by implication, requires us to respond to His love in our corporate lives

The Christian life is never about ourselves, but about the community which God has called to Himself. Loving God, by implication, hence has a social element. After all, when Jesus summed up the Law, he did not end with just loving God. In fact, he gave the second one – to love our neighbours as ourselves.


In fact, I would say that our Christian life is not an individualistic one. Even when fighting spiritual warfare, the ministry is not a vigilante one. God calls us into his community so that love can be practised on the people of God. And this love, it has to be a response to God’s love and an outcome of us loving God. This means that we need to be continually planted in a local faith community, or church, so that we can live out the implications of loving God.

And hence you can say that loving God and loving people are theology in action. In fact, loving people is theology! This is theology as practical as it can get.

So share with me how we can really love one another in the church as an outcome of us loving God in our lives. Give me your comments, I read each and every single one of them.


I graduated from the National University of Singapore where I came to know Christ during his undergraduate days after studying the historicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My personal mission is to lead adult Christ disciples to engage the world with sound and biblical reasoning. And I am married to my pretty wife Angelina.

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