What are the Biblical words translated as love? Do some describe a more noble love than others?
Old Testament –
‘ahab = to have a strong emotional attachment or desire for someone or something.
Genesis 22:2 – Parent to child
Exodus 21:5 – slave to master
1 Samuel 18:1 – close friendship
1 King 5:1 – unflagging loyalty
New Testament –
Agapao/agape – “this love is selfless and therefore selfishness is the negation of love. Love does not occur because the one we love is loveable or worthy. It is a decision of the will.”
John 17:26 – God to His Son
John 3:16 – God to us
John 14:21 – God to His people
John 13:34-35 – Fellow Christians
1 Thessalonians 3:12 – Christians towards all people
1 John 4:8 – essential nature of God
1 John 3:17 – expressed through outward actions
Galatians 5:22 – fruit of the Spirit
John 14:15 – expressed through obedience to God
Phileo/philanthropia – to approve of, to like, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend
John 5:20 – God the Father for the Son
John 11:3 – Jesus for his friend
John 16:27 – the Father for us as His children
Matthew 10:37 – people for their families
Mark 14:44 – it is also translate to kiss!
1 Corinthians 6:22 – we must have this love for God, or be accursed
Romans 3:19 – God disciplines us because He has this love for us
Eros is not mentioned in the Bible.
Storge is not mentioned directly in the Bible. Romans 12:10 mentions a derivative when it tells us to have brotherly love and affection for each other.
Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3 – the lack of it is mentioned as a bad thing and translated as “heartless.”
Ludus is not mentioned
Pragma is not mentioned in this sense
Philautia is not mentioned
It would seem that Agape is the word often used to refer highest form of love, since it is the word chosen to describe God’s essential nature, and because it is understood to be unconditional.
But we should be careful not to build theologies out of speculation on the meanings of various Greek words. For instance, it is not accurate to say “the Bible teaches that there are four kinds of love.” Only two words for love are mentioned with any frequency, and only three are mentioned at all.
It is also the case the agape, like most words, can stretch in its definition more that we readily admit. For instance, in the Septuagint, agape is used to describe and instance of rape.
And in John 3:19 – men have agape for the darkness.
1 John 2:15-17 tells us not to have agape for the world or the things in the world
Consider the conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21 and the two different words used. Is there any significance here?
What is a Biblical definition of love?
Love is a bond of relationship.
It motivates outward action (John 3:16, 1 John 3:17, John 14:15).
It does not appear to be given or withheld based on the recipient meeting pre-existing conditions of worthiness – 1 John 4:19 says we love Him because He first loved us – Romans 5:8 says because of His love while were still sinners Christ died for us.
1 Corinthians 13 gives a beautiful definition of love.
Love is the unconditional commitment to the wellbeing of another, with the goal of maintaining a healthy relationship with them.
What is the hardest thing about love in your opinion?
What does it mean that God is love?
God has it within His nature to love us in the way that the preceding definition describes, He has proven this by His actions of love towards us.
To say that God is love indicates that this is an eternal aspect of His nature. Perhaps it has been eternally manifested in the love shared by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for each other?
Since love forms a bond, it is in His love that He, through Christ, holds all things together – Colossians 1:17
Indeed, without love, things cannot hold together – Galatians 5:14-15
This explains why eternal life is the result of God’s love towards us, and our responding in love to Him.
What is your favorite verse about love and why?
What does it mean that love never fails?
1 Corinthians 12 talks about many spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of “a more excellent way” and describes love. After love is described, it is contrasted with the prophesying, speaking in tongues, and special revelations of knowledge that will soon cease. In this context, it appears that “love never fails” means that when other spiritual gifts cease, love continues throughout human history and eternity.
In the description given in 1 Corinthians 13, it is said that love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. In this sense, love never fails because it never gives up, even if it is not always reciprocated.
If God is love, why would he send anyone to hell?
The bible is clear that many will go to hell – Matthew 7:13-14 – wide is the way that leads to destruction
Remember that love, as we have defined it, is an unconditional commitment to the wellbeing of another. The only way that God could be love and people still go to hell is if a) they have the ability to override His will with their own and b) they choose to rebel against Him.
Claiming that people go against God’s will is not blasphemous, 2 Peter 3:9 states that he does not want anyone to perish, yet the Bible also teaches that some will. This is because they rebel against Him.
So, does God “send people to hell”? In a sense He certainly will, Matthew 25:41. But that does not mean that this action is what He wanted for them. Rather, it is what they have insisted upon.
How can we grow in love?
Hebrews 10:24 – consider how to stir one another up to love and good works.