Just a couple weeks ago, as my husband and I were driving home from church, we noticed the word LOVE as part of the logo on the side of a van. As we continued on our way to the house, we had a discussion on how poorly the English language defines what LOVE really means. One English word embraces such ideas as “loving” (enjoying) ice cream, feeling sexual passion, having a physical attraction to someone, and the love God has toward us and desires for us to have toward Him and our families. This is not true in most languages.
Greek, the original language of the New Testament, is one of the languages that uses several words to differentiate the range of meanings of the English word LOVE. Agape is the word used to express the love of God for His children. Agape refers to the unconditional love that always seeks the good of another. This is the kind of love that God calls us to have toward Him, our families, and others in the body of Christ. Philia is another Greek word used in the Bible, meaning the affectionate regard or loyalty we should have toward our friends. The third Greek word in the New Testament is storge. It means natural affection, such as the love within a family, and though not used alone in the Bible it is used twice with the prefix a-, translated “without natural affection,” and once in combination with philia, translated “brotherly love.” The fourth Greek word for love, eros (sexual passion), was a common word in Greek culture and philosophy but was not used in the Bible. Agape is the word used in all of the verses of Scripture referenced below.
.John, who referred to himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23), has a lot to teach us about LOVE. In his letter of 1 John, we learn the following important truths:
- Love is initiated by God. 1 John 4:10 says, “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.” (NLT)
- Love for our brothers and sisters in Christ is evidence that we have become children of God, that we have passed from (spiritual) death to life. (1 John 3:10,14)
- Our love for God is seen in our obedience to His Word. (1 John 2:6; also see John 14:15)
- If we love God. we will not love the world, that is, the present condition of human affairs, influenced by sin and alienated from God. (1 John 2:15) This does not mean that we are not to love the lost. We are not to love the world system, or the things of the world, but loving people who need to know the Lord is our motivation for sharing the Gospel with them.
- Jesus set the example of love for us when He laid down His life, and we are to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ. (1 John 3:16)
- Our love for others is not to be in word only. We are to love “in deed and truth.” If we see a brother or sister in need, and we have the means of meeting the need, we are not to close our hearts toward them. (1 John 4:20-21)
God loves us, and He calls us to love one another. As we’ve read the above Scriptures, I hope we have all been motivated to love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts and to be a reflector of His love to those around us. This kind of love has the power to change lives!
This post is a part of Tuesday at Ten, the Tuesday blog Link up where Karen posts a prompt phrase or word and you use that prompt as a part of your writing. This week’s prompt word is “Love.”