Four Kinds of Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

The Greek culture, in the days when the New Testament was written, was familiar with four kinds of love. The first was known as eros, a very base or FOUNDATIONAL kind of love. This is the “love” which is depicted by Hollywood, romance novels, and common street usage. Another kind known to the Greeks was storge, which placed emphasis on the FAMILY – – the love that family members share.

The readers of the New Testament are presented with the other two terms for “love” – – phileo and agape. Phileo pertains to the warm love of FRIENDSHIP. Perhaps you have a special friend in your life of whom you are very fond. This friend has been through “thick and thin” with you and will not let you down. This word is used some 25 times in the New Testament.

The predominant word for “love” in the last 27 books of the Bible however is agape. You will find it there 250 times. Due to space limitations, I will summarize its many significant usages in the form of a definition: “Agape-love is the heart (mind) acting sacrificially, selflessly and voluntarily, deliberately providing for the needs of others, whoever they may be.”

This precisely is the FINAL kind of love that God has for humanity. The God of the universe selflessly and sacrificially gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a gift for undeserving humans. Jesus Christ voluntarily gave His life on the cross for our sins, so that when we place our faith in Him alone, He guarantees everlasting life to the repentant sinner (and all of us have sinned against Him and have come short of His glory – – Romans 3:23). Our greatest need is to be forgiven by a holy God and to experience His incredible gift of gracious love.

This love far surpasses that which is celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Won’t you receive God’s gift of love by trusting in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

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