The love of God is characterized by his love for the world and is exemplified in his love for Israel and the church. God has supremely shown his love in Jesus Christ, and so "we know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:9-10; John 15:13).
D. A. Carson points out in his The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God that there are five different categories of God's love.
- Intra-Trinitarian love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father
- "God's providential love over all that he has made"
- "God's salvific stance toward his fallen world"
- "God's particular, effective, selecting love toward his elect"
- God's provisional or conditional love for his people - conditioned upon obedience
- Carson, D. A. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. Crossway Books, 2000. ( ISBN 978-1581341263)
- Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Nothing Greater, Nothing Better: Theological Essays on the Love of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005 ( ISBN 978-0802849021)