“But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.” ‭‭John‬ ‭5:42‬ ‭

What does it mean to love God?

  • Found one verse where Jesus says they should not focus on Tithing and forget to love G-d... Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 14:01
  • It seems to have been out of self-love (verses 41-44).
    – Lucian
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 14:23
  • @Yeddu That reinforces they lacked love for God but it doesn’t explain what loving God means or what they lacked. Thank you for the verse Commented May 18, 2021 at 14:34
  • 1
    @NihilSineDeo, I can find the verses, I recollect that one key message that Jesus highlighted was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees where they were trying to show they are pious by outward actions, One specific event was a Pharisee and the publican in how they prayed, he compared them to whitewashed tombstones. My 2 cents, the Shema is what it true love for G-d. Give G-d all you got.
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 14:41
  • Luke documents one event in which the Pharisees try to warn Jesus. Wondered why? ... Luke 13:31 31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 15:04

3 Answers 3


Jesus provided several statements that help us understand what it means to love God. (It's a fair question, what can you do for someone who has everything?)

John 14:15:

If ye love me, keep my commandments

Note that this would incorporate Leviticus 19:18, which includes the command:

thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself

And Matthew 25:40:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me

We show love for God by keeping the commandments and serving other people.

Jesus was well aware that many of the religious leaders of His day -- obsessed with their standing in society and the praise of the world -- did neither.

P.S. in these comments I'm genuinely not trying to start a debate about the nature of Deity. I submit that you cannot serve and please the Father without serving and pleasing Jesus, and you cannot serve and please Jesus without serving and pleasing the Father.

So...even if we disagree about the nature of God, hopefully we all agree that the text says we are expected to serve our fellow man.


John 5:

20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. ...

23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

The Pharisees did not honor Jesus.

43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.

Therefore, according to Jesus' logic, they did not honor the Father or love God.

42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

  • That’s a very valid point Mr. Chan Commented May 18, 2021 at 17:00
  • Glad to be of help. It clarified my own thinking as well.
    – user35953
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 17:03

What gave Jesus certainty that the Pharisees didn’t love God? John 5:42

What does it mean to love God?

Look at the example of a son and his father. The son wants the acceptance of his father, so what does the son do? If the father gives the son a task to finish, the son finishes the task to the best of his abilities. But why? Because the son loves his father and wants to please him.

The apostle John knew what love is since he used the word love more than the other gospel writers. But he lets us know what the love of God is at 1 John 5:3:

For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome. (NWT)

Jesus knew the reputation that the Pharisees and the majority of the religious leaders had. They were so intent on following the Law implicitly that they either ignored or could not see the principle of the Law, which was love.

  • So one can follow the law and hate it simultaneously Commented May 18, 2021 at 17:02
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    @NihilSineDeo In a sense, yes. Think of a person in prison that follows the rules. Does he do it because he wants an early release or because he knows that it is the right thing to do?
    – agarza
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 17:04

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