Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, But NOT Because The Bible Tells Me So…

March 19, 2013

Most of us either know, or have heard, the cute little children’s song entitled ‘Jesus Loves Me’. The lyrics come from a poem written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner. It’s typically one of the first songs that a child from a religious heritage learns to sing. Here is the first stanza:

Jesus loves me—this I know,

For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to him belong,—

They are weak, but he is strong.

Although the song might sound adorable when sung by sweet little children, it actually contains a devastating lie.

Here is the lie:

Jesus loves me this I know, *for* the Bible tells me so…

One word makes this a huge lie. It is the word  FOR.  The truth is, Jesus does love me. Yes, the bible does state this. Thankfully, I actually do know that Jesus loves me; but NOT because the bible tells me so! Love is not something you can truly know simply because it is written on a page in a book. Love is the central component in life, and knowing this ‘love’ is a matter of life and death for all people.

As a matter of fact, I have discovered something quite disturbing. The more a person actually believes that Jesus loves them simply because the bible ‘tells them so’, the less they actually ‘know‘ that Jesus loves them in reality. I could tell you story after story of people who were taught that the divine love of Christ could be understood primarily through ink on a page. The stories of these people’s lives demonstrate the destructive nature of such a belief.

Most who have bought into the lie that we can know we are loved simply because we may have read it in a book, struggle with living in the confidence of knowing they are accepted and loved. Because of their lack of truly knowing they are loved, most of these people have lived with underlying layers of religious guilt, condemnation, and performance based approval that has negatively affected their ability to have deep relationships. This fear can be paralyzing. It is the opposite of freedom. The world’s system, especially the religious system, is filled with such people.

If the Lord wanted to communicate His love to humanity through ink on a page, babies would be born in libraries innately knowing how to read or understand human language. Obviously babies are born illiterate, unable to understand human language. The fact is, most of humanity throughout history have been illiterate. This is still true for most of the developing world today, but that is another article for another day.

The fact is, babies are born into families with real people in close proximity. In a family, love is given. A baby can receive love long before they learn to understand language or read. A baby’s development and well being is dependent upon this. I find it fascinating and revealing that the Lord designed ‘family’ to communicate love to ‘illiterate’ babies.

Before we begin to make an idol out of natural family, however (parents, siblings, spouse, children, etc…), we would do well to understand that our earthly family is simply a shadow of a greater family. As good as we might think our natural family is, our lives are actually a demonstration that natural family is not enough. True love cannot fully be communicated through a shadow. True love is fully personified in the person of Jesus Christ.

If Christ (true love) could have been known through ink on a page, the Lord would have simply written a book about Christ. Thankfully, He stepped into the world with ‘skin’ on. Nothing has changed. He still has ‘skin’ on today. He has a body on the earth today made up of real living people who are in relationship with Him and with one another.

If we want to get technical about things, the bible says something specific about where the fullness of love (Christ) can be found:

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23, NASB)

God is love, and Jesus Christ is the personification of this love. This love fills all in all, and the fullness of Him who is love is found in His body. Living, breathing, brothers and sisters in Christ, are His body. This is where love is designed to be unleashed and known.

The more I become familiar with the life stories of people who once believed they could ‘know’ the love of Christ simply because the bible told them so, the more I understand that the Lord is faithful to expose that lie. He is eager to bring us into an experiential knowledge of His love expressed through relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. The pattern looks like this:

  • We were taught to know and understand God through learning correct ‘doctrine’ or making correct ‘decisions’.
  • We put our hope in our belief in the right ‘doctrine’ or ‘decision’.
  • Life experience and difficulties exposed the inadequacies of our attachment to a doctrine or decision.
  • We felt shame and condemnation that our doctrine or decision was no longer sufficient to sustain us, leading us to question our own identity in Christ. Fear and paralysis was the result. This negatively affected our significant relationships.
  • The Lord sent real people into our lives who began to relationally demonstrate the love of Christ to us.
  • This relational demonstration of the love of Christ began to reveal the true nature of Christ to us.
  • This relational demonstration of the love of Christ began to heal us and restore us to our true identity in Christ.
  • Because of this relational demonstration of the love of Christ, we are becoming aware that Jesus truly does love us.

The more I get to know brothers and sisters in the church community that I am a part of, the more I realize how profoundly healing the love of Christ that flows through others can be. My ability to truly ‘see’ and ‘receive’ this love in my brothers and sisters (not their flesh) is the key to knowing the love of Jesus Christ myself.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Jamal Jivanjee

Jamal Jivanjee

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32 responses to Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, But NOT Because The Bible Tells Me So…

  1. Wow Jamal–terrific point. I think it may come down to what we are taught about the Bible. To the extent that we view the Bible as having been dictated by God, we look to it for everything. To the extent we understand the human aspect of the Bible’s authorship, we can let go of our vice-grip on this inerrancy idea. To me, the more that I grasp the humanity of the writers, the more I am amazed that the Bible has one storyline–God came to save this sinful world and His beloved creatures who inhabit it. Starting with the statement that Eve’s progeny would crush the head of the serpent, to Israel’s desire for a king, to Isaiah’s remarkable point-by-point prophesy of Christs’s life (and countless other examples), the Bible is the story of our Redeemer. I am now able to see God’s imprint on all persons–not just Christians. Living life with others does, as you said, confirm God’s love.

  2. Amen! Our focus and our eyes must be on Jesus, not on the bible. It is Jesus we must get to know, not our bible. I hear so many messages about “knowing your bible” instead of “knowing Jesus.”

    While we’re on the subject, I was just talking to someone a couple of weeks about how children in Sunday school classes learn to memorize Scripture and they have contests to see who is the best at memorizing. To do this, one doesn’t know Christ, I’m sorry to say. This is another article! 🙂


  3. The real Jesus inhabits the entirety of creation, that includes you, the universe, the cosmic, and sub atomic. You see, you…yes you are His passion, and always have been. His love for YOU is faithful and true, and you can’t out run it, over turn it, or find a cave to hide in that it’s not there. In all of our wandering through life, in all of our cravings, in all of our quests, it’s actually Jesus that fits these desires, these passions.

    Jesus loves me this I know…because He told me so.

    Great post bro, grace and peace to you and yours!

  4. Scripture is only the starting point. Much like Jesus told those who were being critical of his actions, the purpose of scripture is to point us to Jesus as we hear the voice of the Father as He reveals who He is and His Son, not replace a real, active and vital connecting relationship. The Son is meant to be experienced in a relationship, one that is life-altering and transforming. Because of this reality, I agree with the one who said, “I no longer believe Jesus is Lord; I know it!” This one then went on to explain that because he had experienced in very real ways the lordship of Jesus, it was no longer belief but knowledge, for belief is something that has not been proven and the lordship of Jesus has been proven because it has been demonstrated and experienced.

  5. Jamal,
    A few years back, a man was loudly yelling at me with his arms flaring about, only a couple feet away from me, I thought I was about to be hit. He said I must be crazy because I talk about Christ and yet I refused an invite to a Bible study that he attended. He was infuriated, to say the least. I had no clue that my polite refusal would cause such an uncontrollable fury in him. I tell you about this happening because of what came to my mind during this event. Not too long before this happened, a brother said something to me in a letter that brought me to tears as I read his sentence. I met this brother, face-to-face, at a special gathering of the saints, and the love, gentleness and kindness of Christ beamed from him, as you said, “Christ with skin.” What he said in the letter had a great impact, only because I met him and spoke with him, and I shared an experience in Christ with him as we spoke. This brother said, “ No matter what anyone says about you or what anyone thinks of you, you are fully accept in the Beloved.” During an uneasy time, these words spoke to me in the gentle voice of this brother. I felt as though the troubles that I was going through melted away, just like that, with those simple words. I cried, I felt such ease, such a relief in those simple words. I spoke with this brother and so I could hear him saying those words to me, and at that time, I needed to hear just that. It is something I already knew, but nobody ever said that to me before. There is more to it than just reading words that someone wrote, it is hearing the voice of the person.

    This came to mind as I read your post: “I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the Love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    • Beautiful sis, simply beautiful.

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Beautiful indeed, and my point exactly. Thank you for sharing this.

      • Jamal, Your words brought this happening to my mind instantly, so, dear one, thank you.

      • hello Mr jamal ……. How are you ? i have just read the above article written by you , you are very good writer and passionate about hidden things in this nature considering your this passion this little brother of you suggests you to read HOLLY QURAN the last book of ALLAH.
        i can guarantee u that you will see things very much different and more realistic , logical than it is .

        • Jamal Jivanjee March 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm


          I come from a Muslim family. I have read the Qur’an many times. Thx for stopping by the blog. I hope you will have a look around. Blessings to you.

          • MASHALLAH jamal bhai this is then great 🙂
            I pray ALLAH help you in every field of life and make everything more easier to you .
            are you on facebook or skype please join me it would be a great thing to me to remain keep in touch with you . ( ali.jasra ) my facebook id …. ( iislegend ) skype id .

  6. Brother, this post dove tails quite beautifully with the last post about a higher love. It is what so many broken people are crying out for…not a rule book about love, but the lover Himself! I found a beautiful remake of an old song that I wanted to share. I believe it is the cry of so many trapped by religion. Here is the link with lyrics:

    IN His Highest Love,


  7. Jason Chamberlain March 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I think I understand what you’re saying and I agree with it to a point, but don’t we also need to trust in God’s special revelation to His people? John tells us why he wrote the book of John in John 20:30-31 –

    30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    I’m pretty sure that you’re not trying to dismiss the value of reading the Bible. After all, how are we to know Christ unless we know the Christ as He is revealed to us through special revelation? Otherwise we are liable to make a Christ of our own imaginations, right?

    I’m concerned that if we put “knowing Jesus” in contrast with “knowing your Bible” (@Lisa Small) then we may end up knowing an idol rather than Jesus. How are we to know Jesus unless we know our Bibles? Don’t Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1, Psalm 119, etc tell us that the best way to know God is to know His Word?

    Please forgive me if I’ve missed a step. I come in and out of reading your blog, so if this was built upon in previous posts please direct me to them. I’m just trying to understand where you place experience as an authority relative to Scripture. Have I wasted my time by memorizing books of the New Testament?

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm


      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your comment / question. First, let me say that I am glad that you can see the point I am attempting to make in this post. I believe it to be a vitally important point.

      Second, what you have asked about scripture is another discussion altogether. I would like to direct you to a post I wrote previously about scripture and its purpose. I hope this might answer your questions a bit. Here is the link:

      • Jason Chamberlain March 20, 2013 at 1:29 am

        I think we are basically in agreement, though perhaps you are deliberately being a bit provocative in how you word this. Of course the whole point of the Bible is to show us Christ. It is not a self-help book to teach us about how to be better spouses, parents, etc.

        When I go through my weekly recitation of various books I find that they speak to me about who God is. I marvel at the love of Christ so that I may know God (all three persons of the Trinity) as He truly is. I am reassured about who I am in Him and that leads me to worship. This also happens as I read narrative about His people in the Old Testament, His wisdom in the Proverbs, etc.

        But these books also give me some instruction on how to live. Certainly there is value in that too, right? I think that what needs to be corrected in most American “churches” is that they put sanctification ahead of justification. They teach “principles for living” without first marveling at who God is and how wonderful it is that we can know Him.

        I consider passages like Psalm 1 and 1 Corinthians 15 to be bedrock to reality. They remind me that God gave me a trustworthy revelation of who He is and that He miraculously lived, died, and was raised. In other words, how do I know that Jesus loves me? I know that He loves me because I know who He is through special revelation. Otherwise, how could I differentiate the reality of the gospel from the “burning in the bosom” one can get from reading the Book of Mormon? I maintain that unless the Bible tells us something it is difficult to have much assurance that we know Christ. Again, that’s why John gave us His gospel, as you pointed out in your other post.

  8. I saw a book at the grocery store last night that was entitled, “Messages from God: What the Bible Reveals to You.” It was placed next to the other impulse-buy items at the checkout counter.

    I couldn’t look away. I felt the Lord telling me to consider that title. Here’s what He showed me.

    “Do you see? My revelation in scripture is not about a “What”. Neither does it contain “Messages”. No matter how hard people try, the Bible will not feed them, nor lead them to food – so long as they are looking for a ‘What’ or expecting ‘Messages.’

    The Bible reveals a Who and there is only one Message. (Hebrews ch.1)

    Until this is understood, people will go to the Bible as they go to refrigerator. Always only incompletely and temporarily satisfied. The substance is Christ – who satisfies completely and permanently.

    I thought it was neat and lined up with this post.


  9. I like the points you made about illiteracy,and how that cannot hinder someone from knowing that they are loved,that is so true! Reminds me that all human beings are made in His image and have these instincts that respond only to His life when being manifested. I can tell you that when I chose to be vulnerable with a brother and began to shed tears in front of him,I saw the love of God when he began to shed tears with me,and join me in my tears about my pain that I was expressing.

  10. Jamal,

    Very well said. The question is this, how about me who was born and raised in a communist country with no access to the Bible and no body that could speak to me about Him? Jesus loved me as much as He loved you here in the west, who had access to everything, and He did show it to me all those years. Turning my head back, so to speak, I know in my heart that He was there the whole time. He expressed His love for me in many ways, chiefly through the love of my parents, especially my mother,I was very attached to her. I have learned so much in my heart during those years of the Lord through her love. Things that she would value and imparted in me through her love, were some of the things that I would confirm latter on, reading scripture. In fact was the Lord himself loving me through them. She did not even know the name of Jesus. But the Lord was present there with His Spirit, loving us. She is a christian now. He came to my heart as well, when I was 17, still under the communist regime, and He started working in me. There were thoughts that I thought in my heart at the time, that line up perfect with the scriptures. Who else but the Spirit could have revealed them to me. Then later I heard the good news and had access to scripture. I love the scripture, they as Jesus said, reveal Christ. But how? I have learned that they become real to me at the point of experience in my life. I would give one example. There was a time in my life some years back, when The Lord started working deep in my heart, I was very desperate for Him. And as he started to reveal Himself, I become aware of idols in my heart, of very precious people in my life, and I was being delivered. In those moments I heard The Lord speak to Abraham” bring now thy son, thy only son, and put it to the alter”. Now at that moment those words become spirit and life to me . At that moment through speaking to Abraham, He was speaking to me. Didn’t Jesus said ” the words I speak to you, ( mark, you) they are spirit they are life. I could go on and on, and say that at many other points, I have felt and identified with other characters of the scripture, but they confirmed, and I understood at that point, that the same Spirit operating in them, is operating in me. Is the living Lord. The problem has never been with the scripture, but with the heart. If our heart is not alined with His heart, we could read the scriptures till we’re blu in our face, they are not Life to us. The Lord did not condemn the Pharisees for searching the scriptures, but for their unwilling heart to come to Him that they may receive life, which is Himself. They loved the letter, the law, not the Lord. Jesus loves me, yes I know, for all day long He tells and shows me so! Sorry for being so long.

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm


      This expresses the heart of this article beautifully. I am personally grateful for you and the unique understanding that you bring to these discussions because of your past experiences in a communist country. It is a powerful testimony for all of us sister. Thank you.

  11. Fully disagree. We KNOW the wrath of God and his righteousness revealed to us through the things that have been made, but we know his love by the clear proclaimation of his gospel and the teachings of scripture.

    Our God is a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster, but this is only made known to us through his word. Apart from guarding and keeping the word of God, we naturally see God only as a hard master reaping where he did not sow and gathering where he scattered no seed, and this leads us to the natural religion of works righteousness, not repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

    Indeed how else to we know Christ and his love except through his own declarations:
    “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”(1Jn2)
    The author of this song wrote this for his daughter to sing this to herself as she wasted and died. He gave her the confidence to know Christ’s love not from the failures of all those who had failed to perfectly love her, but from God’s own declaration whose word will never pass away.

    • Jamal Jivanjee March 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks for your comment, although I think you missed the point I was making. Just so you know…I wrote this article so that you may know where the fullness of Christ can be found. (Hint: the fullness of Christ will not be found in this article)

  12. kenneth dawson April 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    your article is right on dude–I learned about this issue from a man in California named james fowler of Christ in you . net–its called epistemological verses ontological–you either know about the love of jesus or you actually experience his love in reality.

  13. Hi Jamal,
    You make some great points, and you are right, that “we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us”, and to (really) “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”
    That said… I would not have know that Christ loved me unless it had been written, and the Word is the basis for our belief. I would also in short add, that if for some reason I don’t feel the love of God, or a circumstance comes up that screams the opposite… I return to the word and confess the truth.
    Suffice to say, it is not a “lie” to hear and believe and confess the truth through what has been written, but to press beyond the truth to experience where “the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He has given us”

    • Bruce,

      Thanks for your comment here. I appreciate your thoughts. Just for clarification purposes, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about this statement you made:

      “…the Word is the basis for our belief.”

      1. When you said ‘Word’ in your comment, were you referring to the person of Jesus Christ, or the scriptures?

      2. If you are saying that the written scriptures are the basis of our belief, would you then say that it is impossible for a person to have true faith and belief in Christ apart from the scriptures?

      Just curious about what you are trying to say. Thanks!

      • Jamal,
        I believe it can be either, as either can be what God uses to save someone, or instruct them… as in faith comes from the hearing of the Word (Rhema). The Holy Spirit must be present to make it alive. The same with any aspect of our faith. Some people have had Jesus manifest Himself to them and they have been gloriously saved…. but most “heard the message of the gospel of salvation and believed”
        I think that the latter is the norm…. and the former the special case, though either works well.
        As Paul said, “I wouldn’t have know about coveting unless the word had said, “Do not covet””. So much of what we know about God is because He has declared it, as Jesus said in every temptation against Himself by the enemy, “It is written”.
        The hope we have as an anchor to our soul is God’s oath and promise… so when I am fearful or doubting, I don’t go back to my experiences with God as much as I go back and say “It is written”, and the Word of God cannot return void.
        I agree that our experience of His love must go beyond head knowledge, but one of the main ways that we experience it is through believing what He has said, so it is ok, at least in the beginning to confess the truth in the song… I know, because He said so.,

  14. So if The Bible told us that Jesus didn’t love us, would that change the fact that He does?

    I for one am quite happy The Scriptures testify to His love for us, and I quite dig that clever little jingle. Knowing that He is The Word, become flesh and dwelling among us, I readily accept anything The Scriptures say about His love for us.

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