Though love is difficult to define, it is needed from the day we are conceived. We might think of it as a feeling. It can be felt at times, though it can exist without feeling. Looking at the Bible, there are different types of love. Also, the Greek (from which we received the New Testament) have many other ways to translate and describe love. In the English language we assume the many variations of love in relationships using the same word.
The primary ways to love are found in six Greek words:
· Eros is sexual passion which is described as dangerous and irrational where – fiery - one loses control. David and Bathsheba or Adam and Eve are examples of such love in the Bible.
· Philia is deep friendship that acts as comrades who are faithful, loyal, sacrificial, and vulnerable with emotions. Jonathan and David are who we see sharing this love in scripture.
· Storge is familial love which is brotherly love or parent child relational love in the Bible. It holds the same characteristics of “philia” love. Abraham and Isaac displayed this love as did Mary and Jesus.
· Pragma is long standing love that is mature – realistic – love found in long established couples. Here they love with compassion, compromise, patience, and tolerance. Zechariah and Elizabeth are examples of pragma.
· Philautia is love of self. The unhealthy type is found in narcissism, obsessed with fame and fortune. But healthy it generates a deeper and wider capacity for love of others. Liking oneself brings compassion, sense of security, and grace toward self. Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of man’s feeling for self”. Jesus is the greatest example of this love.
· Agape is love for everyone. It offers empathy, selflessness, and charity. It is the highest form of Christian love. C.S. Lewis called it “gift love”. Given without any requirements from the receiver, agape belongs in all types of love.
Only three or four of these words are found in the original text of the Bible. Still, they all exist in scripture and are exhibited throughout scripture. In each Greek word, love is clearly an action and not feeling. Generally, we act based on a choice, and love is a choice.
When looking at I Corinthians 13 we see how love is to be expressed. Then because God is love, His very character is the definition of love. Looking for the truth on this subject, I looked for God’s definition. It is found in I John 2:6 (AMP):
And this is love: that we walk in accordance with His commandments and are guided continually by His precepts [teachings]. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should [always] walk in love.
by, Joy Pedersen
Author Joy Pedersen, founded Clear Hope Association in 2004 to equip and build the family of God. She has served over 25 years in ministry using the Word of God to teach, write, and counsel. As a dedicated and effective communicator, she walks alongside others encouraging a deeper, more personal, and effective relationship with Jesus Christ.