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Question: What should we understand about love?

What Does The Bible Say About That?

What do I know? I know what the Bible says. The coming of Jesus Christ brought a special kind of love to the world. Jesus says to the Father in prayer in John 17:23: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” There is a love that was unique to God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit which was then declared and demonstrated by Jesus and must now be transmitted to others.
Our understanding of love is very shallow. We only use one word to describe love. The New Testament takes advantage of the Greek language, where a number of words are used for love. The main four words for more clearly tell us what love is about. Author C.S. Lewis (of “Narnia” fame) wrote a book called “The Four Loves” which gives more detail to the Bible language of love.
The first term is an affection love (from the Greek term storge), and means the love of enjoying someone or something. For example, if you said, “I love potatoes.” While fun at times, it is a lower level of love.
The second is a friendship love, using the Greek term philos, called sometimes “brotherly love,” and is a companionship based on shared interests or goals. While a love shared between people, it is not always a high form of love. For example, two people who hate someone else passionately might form a bond such as this to go against this other person.
A third type is an intimate human love shared between two people. The Greek term eros describes this. It is more than the erotic, but more a relationship of being in love with one person, deeper and more lasting than the unpredictable “falling in love.”
The fourth type is a divine love, originated by God. 1 John 4:7 says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” This is shown by the Greek word agape, which is almost unknown in Greek literature, but used by Jesus in the Bible. It is the highest love that unselfishly gives and asks for nothing in return as a holy, sacrificial love. It is not natural and goes against human nature, loves the unlovable, undeserving, and the repulsive. It takes the greatest chances and experiences the most loss. It is what Jesus did for us. 1 John 4:10 says it this way: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

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