What’s the first thought that enters your mind when you think of love? Is it the way you feel towards your family and friends? What about romance—perhaps an intimate embrace from your spouse is what comes to mind? Or maybe you think about the person who selflessly gave up their time to comfort you when you needed it most.
Love has many meanings. All of the examples mentioned above represent different types of love. To get a better understanding of their meanings we’ll need to look at four types of love from the Greek language, the language the New Testament was originally written in.
Storge is the Greek word for familial love. Familial love forms naturally over time as family members (and even friends) learn to cherish and lovingly care for one another. This would include the love between married couples, parent and child, siblings, and other family relations.
Phileo is the Greek word for brotherly love. This love is emotionally driven by a deep affection or general like for someone. The bond between friends would be considered a phileo type of love.
Eros is the Greek word used to describe the erotic type of love. This love refers to the romantic and intimate desire between husband and wife.
Agape is the Greek word that refers to God’s divine love. God loves us, and because He loves us, He sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV
Agape goes beyond our emotions because it is a selfless, sacrificial demonstration of love. In other words, it is love in action. Jesus demonstrated this type of love when he willingly took our place on the cross (1 John 3:16).
The Fruit of Love is an agape kind of love. For example, an individual walking in the fruit of love would choose to put others first—despite what it costs them—so that they can share the love of Christ with others. Jesus calls believers to extend this love to those around us so that the world will see the love of Christ in us (John 13:34-35). Because this kind of love does not come naturally to us, we must depend on the spirit of God to help us extend this type of love.
For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be focusing on the Fruit of Love. This is the last fruit of the spirit in our series. This fruit is considered the most important because it distinctly shows the love of Christ to others. I look forward to learning more about this fruit with you! This article is a part of my current series, Sweet Smelling Fruit—Cultivating a Heart that Lives by the Spirit. If you would like to read past articles from this series click here.
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