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Loving-kindness is a specific kind of love conceptualized in various religious traditions, both among theologians and religious practitioners, as a form of love characterized by acts of kindness.

Use in Judaism[edit]

Main article: Chesed

Loving-kindness is used as an English translation for the Hebrew word חסד (chesed). This term is used often in the book of Psalms, and refers to acts of kindness, motivated by love. It is used primarily in reference to God, rather than people. One example is found in Psalm 107, where verse 43 reads: "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD." [1]

The term is also used in Pirkei Avot, with the quote "The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of God, and deeds of loving-kindness." (1:2)

Use in Christianity[edit]

The term Loving-kindness (or "lovingkindness") was coined by Myles Coverdale for his Coverdale Bible of 1535,[2][3] as an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed (which appears in the Latin Vulgate as "misericordia"); in that text it is spelled "louinge kyndnesse". It is also used in this sense in the American Standard Version and other versions of the Christian Bible.

Use in Buddhism[edit]

Loving-kindness is an English equivalent for the Buddhist term Mettā, as described in the Metta Sutta of the Pali Canon's Sutta Nipata (Sn 1.8) and Khuddakapatha (Khp 9), and practiced in Loving kindness meditation.

Use in Bahá'í Faith[edit]

English translations of the writings of the Bahá'í Faith often use the term loving-kindness when referring to the original Persian mohabbat. This is in line with the style chosen by Shoghi Effendi to use a slightly archaic form of English.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Psalm 107". 
  2. ^ OED
  3. ^ Grave Cathedral episcopal church: "Brush Up Your Bible"
  4. ^ Bahá'í Sacred Writings