Note: Images taken prior to the CDC’s recommendation to wear masks in public.

God loves us with such incredible love. He wants us to experience incredible, life-changing love, mercy, and compassion not only from him, but from those around us. And he wants us to show that love to others.

The call to love and help others in tangible ways — especially those weaker than ourselves — runs throughout the Bible. We’re to love our neighbors, foreigners, our enemies … there’s no getting out of it. The call to love is often difficult, but it’s also a reminder of how God loves us: relentlessly, completely, and without expectation of return.

Here are 30 of our favorite verses about God’s call to love others. (All verses from the New International Version.)

Old Testament:

1. Deuteronomy 15:7-8

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 

2. Deuteronomy 15:11

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

3. Job 6:14

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

Brother showing love to sister by carrying her
On a Sunday afternoon, Lightwell, 10 carries his 3-year-old sister, Abigail, through fields toward a World Vision reading camp, which is part of a World Vision literacy program in Zambia. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

4. Psalm 41:1

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.

5. Psalm 82:2-4

“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

6. Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

7. Proverbs 14:31

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

8. Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Two friends walking to school
Sumit and his friend on their way to the education center run by World Vision India.
(©2018 World Vision/photo by Abhishek Ashish Hans, Jim Kaso)

9. Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

10. Proverbs 22:9

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.

11. Proverbs 31:8-9

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

12. Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

God's call to love others means loving migrants and refugees
Soup kitchen near the Colombia/Venezuela border crossing. World Vision partners with Fundacion Venezolanos en Cucuta, which provides hot meals for breakfast and lunch and other services to migrants. The volunteer-run organization sometimes feeds 1,000 people a day. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

13. Isaiah 58:6-7

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

14. Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

15. Zechariah 7:9

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”

New Testament:

16. Matthew 5:16

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

17. Matthew 25:37-40

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”

Helping kids out of child labor shows God's love
Getachew, age 15, with Negash, 67, a community care coalition member who took Getachew in under foster care. Getachew spent years in child labor, but now Negash is helping him continue his education. “All my children have graduated from school. I will support him to learn to the level he wants to reach.” (©2018 World Vision/photo by Meron Belay)

18. Luke 3:10-11

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

19. Luke 6:35-36

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

20. Luke 6:38

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

21. Luke 12:33-34

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

22. John 15:12-13

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Friends love each other
Friends Debby (green skirt) and Beatrice (orange outfit) walk arm in arm down a path in southern Zambia. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

23. Romans 12:9-10

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

24. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

25. Galatians 6:2

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Two boys playing in Rohingya refugee camp
Children whose families are served by the Rohingya Camp 19 World Vision community kitchen play outside in the refugee camp. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

26. Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

27. Hebrews 13:16

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

28. James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

29. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

30. 1 John 3:16-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

God's call to love others led Addyson to fundraise for clean water
10-year-old Addyson Moffitt (in orange) raised more than $60,000 to help bring clean water to Maurine’s community in Kenya. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

God’s call to love others is audacious. We’re to put others ahead of ourselves, love people we don’t like (or don’t even know), and share our resources generously. It’s a love that forces us to grow — we can’t love like Jesus did without our hearts changing.

Lord, help us to love people as you love them. Lead us step by step into a greater understanding of what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

Next: What does the Bible say about children?

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Top photo: Members of the Kesot’s Africa Gospel Church in West Pokot, Kenya. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)


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