Original Research

The Christian spirituality of the love of God: Conceptual and experiential perspectives emanating from the Gospel of John

Dirk G. van der Merwe
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2130 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2130 | © 2020 Dirk G. van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2020 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Dirk G. van der Merwe, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, School of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Christians will never be able to fully grasp the identity and character of God. The Bible, despite acknowledging its divine inspiration, cannot fully communicate and explain the attributes or qualities of a God nobody has ever seen (Jn 1:18; 1 Jn 4:12, cf. 4:20). Christians do believe in the love, forgiveness and grace/mercy of God, but will never comprehend it completely; although, we still need to continuously investigate it. The objective of this study, from the perspective of the Gospel of John, was to investigate the concept of God’s transcendent love and how God can immanently be experienced as a God of love. Firstly, the article constructs a Johannine picture (concept) of love between the Father and the Son. Secondly, it points out how the love of God is foundationally linked to and ‘experienced’ of the familia Dei.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article explores one of the qualities (attributes) of God, namely, the love of God as referred to in the Gospel of John. The exploration is carried out from two perspectives: God’s love within the divine being and love of creation. It relates to biblical, systematic and practical theology and also has some implications for missiology.


Christians; God; inspiration; qualities; investigate; love


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Crossref Citations

1. Johannine Ethics: An Exegetical-Theological Summary and a ‘Desiderative’ Extension of Mimesis
Paul Anthony Hartog
Religions  vol: 13  issue: 6  first page: 503  year: 2022  
doi: 10.3390/rel13060503