God has been revealing himself within the whole process of biblical history. His character is not presented as a series of abstract ideas, such as holiness, omnipotence, righteousness and so on. Rather, God reveals himself in the midst of his deeds that he himself interprets by his Word. From his activity as creator, judge, covenant-maker and redeemer, we learn the meaning of words like, holy, almighty and righteousness as they apply to God.
(Graeme Goldworthy, According to Plan, 189)
It may seem to be cutting things a little to fine, but the distinction is an important one. God is not defined by his attributes. God defines his attributes.
Perhaps one of the reasons “God is love” is so often misused is because many people wish to define “God” by their (mis)understanding of “love.” God’s word, and God’s actions described and demonstrated in his word, define the true meaning of love.