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"Anyone who does not love does not know God..". 1 John 4:8 ESV.

"For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica..". 2 Timothy 4:10.

Despite all their differences these two examples of "love" appear to me to have some things in common. Do they have anything in common? If so what might that be?

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1 John 4:

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

The objects of this love are friendly brothers. The source of this love is God.

Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

On the other hand, 2 Timonty 4:

10a for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me [Paul] and has gone to Thessalonica.

The object of Demas' love was this world, against Paul, his Christian brother. The source of this love wasn't God.

What do these two kinds of love have in common?

Both use the Greek verb ἀγαπάω (G25). Both express a desire for something.

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The answer to this question is actually in 1 John 2:15 but before dealing with that let me set out what we are discussing in 1 John 4:8

The one not loving has not known God, because God is love.

Note that here we have both the noun and verb cognate forms of love:

  • ἀγαπάω (agapaó) - verb meaning "I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem" (NAS)
  • ἀγάπη (agapé) - noun meaning "love, benevolence, good will, esteem" (NAS)

In 2 Tim 4:10 ("Demas loved the world") we have have the verb form of the word love. Now, let me quote 1 John 2:15 -

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Note the distinction John makes between his remarks in 1 John 2:15 vs 4:8 - do NOT love the world but love God and the each other as God has loved you. Note the instruction we have later in the same chapter of 1 John 4:

15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

This is the complete opposite of what we find in 1 John 2:15 vs 1 John 4, namely

  • do not love the world
  • love God and the each other because love comes from God. We love because God first loved us.

On this basis, Demas as per 2 Tim 4:10, did exactly what John's instruction told him NOT to do - loved the world instead of loving God because God loved him.

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