Question and answer: “What exactly is love? Is it a ‘loose’ word?”

The word love has been completely confused in Western culture. Some say they love their football team, others love a TV series, and some people say they love someone, but treat them with contempt! Love can be a strong positive emotion, or a term of endearment, but it is more than that! Love can be manifested as a decision or action. Christians demonstrate their love in practical ways 1 John 3:17-18. Jesus is the perfect example of love. He loved the unlovable. He touched the lepers and many other outcasts of society.

The world is confused about love. This is what the Bible says it is.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ‘Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and thinks no evil. Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…’

Fact: There are four Greek words for love. All of them have different meanings that give greater expression and depth to their significance.

  • 1. EROS: Physical love. It is not found in the New Testament due to its bad connotations in the pagan society of the day.
  • 2. STORGE: Family love. The fondness that people share for their relatives, Romans 12:10. Negative form as seen in Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3.
  • 3. PHILIA: Affectionate love. Warm hearted spontaneous affection, liking, attractive appeal and friendship John 5:20.
  • 4. AGAPE: Loving by choice. God commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves, and so we choose to love them, to treat them well and to win them for Christ John 3:16 and John 13-17, 1 John 4:8.

    Wisdom: Before you say, “I love you”, ask yourself if you are prepared to back up your words in self-less actions. Will you put their best interests before your own? John 13:2-17 and Philippians 2:6-8.

    Have you ever recognised what country someone is from because they were wearing their national costume? God is love. If we clothe ourselves in love, people we know we are of God; it is our spiritual costume. As we receive more of God’s love, we shall be able to give out more.

    Think: What can I do to demonstrate God’s love to people?

    More Info: Matthew 22:37-40, 25:35-46, John 14:15, 15:14, Philippians 2:2, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 2 Tim. 1:7, 13, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 Jn 2:5-15, 4:11-21, 5:2,3, 2 Jn 1-6.

  • Visit the interactive version of this course online. www.byfaith.co.uk © 2003 ByFaith Media.