The English language groups different emotions and actions together and labels them “love.” Using the Greek language we end the confusion about the word love.
The Greek language reveals at least five kinds of love, three of which, are found in the the King James Version of the Bible.
- Agapao: affection for a person, place or thing (see Strong’s G25).
- Storge: affection for blood family members, bond, connection.
- Phileo: affection for a friend, a deeper connection (see Strong’s G5368).
- Eros: affection, sexual attraction and strong desire for sex with someone.
What I see in common with all the above definitions are affection: a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. I also come to believe that all of these types of “love” are simply emotional responses—they’re biological. These emotions where created by God to draw, connect, and bind us to one another for different reasons:
- Eros is necessary for sexual desire, pursuit, and pleasure, for forming oneness (one flesh, soul tie) and procreation.
- Storge is necessary for keeping blood families together forming tribes and nations.
- Phileo is necessary for non-relatives to make friends and create groups.
5. Agape: a godly love (Strong’s G26) defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (King James Version):
4 Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
At least 15 attributes are present in agape:
- isn’t envious
- isn’t boastful
- isn’t proud
- isn’t rude
- isn’t selfish
- isn’t easily provoked
- doesn’t contemplate evil
- doesn’t rejoice in sin
- rejoices in the truth (honest)
- bears all things (doesn’t gossip)
- believes all things (trusting)
- hopes for the best
- endurance (loyalty)
These attributes are character traits of God and a standard for how we must treat each other. Notice how they are void of emotions. Agape is not an emotional response but an action we take towards others.
- Agape love comes from God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- God is agape love (1 John 4:8).
- We’re also commanded to love (John 13:34-35).
- If everyone loved like God, the world would be a utopia.
- This is exactly how heaven will be and how the community of true believers is—an atmosphere of love.
Can unbelievers show the love of God?
Yes. Unbelievers have a conscience—the remaining remnant of God—they know right from wrong. They know how to be selfless, patient, kind, humble, honest, etc.
The problem is: sinners lack the Holy Spirit, the power of God, to be consistent in practicing godly love and they only do it for selfish reasons.
However, children of God display agape love consistently and sincerely because it’s in their nature. Saints have a strong conviction when they don’t show love.
What the world needs
Godly love is what the world wants and needs but can only be found in God. God has commanded his children to love with a godly love. Ephesians 4:1-3 says:
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love [agape]; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)