One of the big things I think you'll find most human beings, irrelevant of race, culture or religion; will agree on, is the existence of love. People explain it in different ways, and not all of them have experienced it first-hand, (which is an extremely sad thing if you think about it), but most will agree that it exists. Love of money, love of popularity, love of objects, love of people...the list could go on, but what is real love? How do we spot the real thing from the counterfeit?
Films have been made about it. Stories written about it. Chemical equations have been formulated to discuss the scientific explanation of it. Even in the bible itself we see countless examples of relationships with 'love'. Samson and Delilah, Rebekah and Isaac, David and Bathsheba, Jacob and Rachel...
But the only relationship in the bible with a love described as 'real' is that relationship between God and us:
1 John 3.16 - We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 4.10 - This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
The love that God has for us, as described in the bible, is multi-faceted. In Hosea; we see the jealous love God has for us, like the love between a man and wife; in Jesus, we see the compassionate love God has for us, and the most popular presentation of God's love is much like the love a parent has for a child:
Jeremiah 3.19 - "I thought to myself, 'I would love to treat you as my own children!' I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land— the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me 'Father,' and I wanted you never to turn from me.
Jeremiah 31.20 - "Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?" says the LORD. "I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That's why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.
According to the bible, our ability to love, originates from the love that God has for us:
1 John 4.19 - We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 4.7 - Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.
But probably the most notable thing about the way in which the bible defines real love, i.e. God's love, is that it is unconditional:
Romans 5.8 - But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
God's love is not a reaction to good behaviour, it is given freely to all who wish to accept it, regardless of sin. God's love is so patient, that even to those who reject Him in this life, He offers a second chance at knowing Him. God's love is so kind, that He chose to extend the capacity of it to include those who were not even relations of those whom He first made the promise of love to. God's love is so humble that it came in the form of a baby boy born to a carpenter in an animal feeding trough. God's love is so unselfish, that it gave itself up for those who did not deserve it, rewarding them with a gift they could never have earned. God's love is so hopeful that it comes with mercies new every morning. His love is so faithful that even when others renounce and deny it, it holds on. And God's love is so persistent that nothing; not life or death, not angels or demons, not fears and worries, and not even the powers of hell itself could separate us from it. [1 Corinthians 13.4-6, Romans 8.35-39]