Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Love - love in the New Testament

How often do we hear a sermon and the preacher makes a big deal out of love and yet fails to explain what love he is speaking of?

This becomes quite clear when we understand that in Greek there are four words for love.
There's phileo, eros, agape and storge.
Phileo is speaking brotherly love, such as in philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.
Yet it can also be understood more broardly as speaking of "friendship".

Then there's eros - from which we get the word erotic, meaning sexual love. However it can also mean passionate love and sensual desire. The Greek philosophers saw it not as necesarily about "physical attraction" but "appreciation of beauty itself ", that is not necessarily having to do with a person. Yet their notion of love was tied up closely with their search for Truth and Beauty and the good, so it was somewhat focused by those concerns.

Third, we have storge, "affection", that which Parent have towards their children or children towards their parents. It's that which is family love and is the one most often forgotten about.

Last of all and most importantly we have agape - that other person centred love, it is the word used most frequently for the love God shows towards mankind and shown by Jesus. That love we see Jesus exemplifying on the cross, dying for others sin. It is selfless love, doing what is needed for the other person.

As you study the Word of God, and you come across the word love, find out which one is being used as it will broaden and deepen your understanding of the text.

In Christ,

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