My Issues with Biblical Love Resolved…

Recently I read an article by a Christian leader talking about Christianity’s Biggest Mistake; according to him the mistake was that we do not love with God’s love. We’ve adopted a “we” vs “them” mentality when it comes to our dealings with non-Christians. He even went so far to say that we should ask ourselves the following questions….

1. Do I act gently toward non-Christians?

2. Do I cherish them as a mother cherishes her own children?

3. Do I feel affectionate toward them?

4. Am I eager to, not only impart the gospel of God, but to sacrifice my own life for them?

5. Are non-Christians dear to me?

6. Do I desire to labor and toil for them and not be a burden to them?

Something about this did not set well with me, but I did not know enough about scriptures to know what exactly was eating at me. Then I did a little digging….

I’ve always known (thanks to an excellent Preacher) that Greek words and English words can be extremely different and it’s hard sometimes to translate one to the other. The English word for love encompasses 4 of the Greek words for love and this causes a bit of confusion when studying about God’s expectations of us to “love”.

In English we love our parents, we love our husband/wife, we love our friends, we love our new shoes!!! Love is so generic. But in the Greek language love is way more specific. I’ll start with the two least talked about kinds of love in the Bible.

The first is the Greek word for love is Storge (STOR-jay). This type of love refers to family love; love between brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and their children, and even love between brothers and sisters in Christ (spiritual family). This love is God given and should come naturally.

The second Greek word for love is Eros (AIR-ose). This word describes the sensual love between husband and wife and is reserved only for that relationship (since the Greeks also believed in the sacredness of marriage).

Then we come to the two Greek words for love that are so commonly used in the Bible (over 500 times in the NIV) that they are exchanged as being one in the same, but they are not!!! This is where the confusion comes in. I can handle people telling me to love my mother and father, to love God with all my heart, to love my neighbor even, but love my enemy? How can all this love be the same!!???!?!! IT’S NOT!

The Greek word for love Agape (uh-GAH-pay) is most commonly used in the Bible. This kind of love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional, and the highest of all 4 types of love. Agape love is the love that God expresses to the world. It is the love we are called to share; the love that does not come naturally. This love is dispassionate. It is expressed in action not in feelings. This kind of love is based on obedience; we agape others because God first agaped us!!!

The Greek word for love Phileo (fil-A-O) is the kind of love that is based on friendship. It is brotherly love; there is emotion tied to it. This kind of love is easy for us because we like the person that we are loving.

Are things clearer now?

I was studying John 21:15-17…see if you catch the different meaning of this verse when you read it first with the English translation “love” then with the Greek translations “agape” and “phileo”

English word for love….

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Now with the Greek words for love….

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you agape me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I phileo you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you agape me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you phileo me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you phileo me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I phileo you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

WOW!!! I hope you are like me and that verse comes more alive to you. No wonder Peter was hurt. Jesus lowered his standard for the kind of love he was expecting from Peter. Pretty harsh to hear if you are Peter!!

So, I guess my conclusion from all this is…

I eros my husband

I storge my children, my parents, and my sister, along with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ

I phileo my many friends!!

and I agape my enemies.

Watch this video and enjoy. This guy does an amazing job of explaining this concept!!

Can you guess the kind of love that God is describing here?

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: