The Biblical Context of Love

Before Christ, the ancient Greek language contained three primary words for love: storge, the love the Proverbs 31 woman had for her children; eros, the love she had for her husband; and phileo, the love she had for others around her. Phileo is described as “brotherly love.” Another word for love was introduced into the Greek by Jesus: agape.

Agape is a self-giving love that is not earned or deserved, and this idea of agape love sums up Christ’s coming to earth in the flesh to die for humanity. Agape love is a love of joy, goodness, longsuffering, gentleness, peace, faith, meekness, and temperance.

Jesus gave his disciples a commandment: Love [agape] one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love [agape] you have for each other. John 13: 35-35, The Message

John wrote a simple and beautiful description of God: God is love [agape], and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I John 4:16, New American Standard Bible

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