If I were to ask you what love is, what kind of answer would you give me? Most of you would probably give me a definition which would feature a romantic sense of love. Even when someone says “I love you,” many will think of romantic love. Did you know there are different types of love? Love is defined as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. Each type of love focuses on a different part of the part and focuses on different aspects of our life.
First, Eros is erotic love, named for the Greek god of love and fertility, Eros. The Modern Greek word is erotas which is intimate love. It represents sexual passion and desire which focuses on the physical body. The Ancient Greeks considered eros to be dangerous and frightening because it meant a loss of control through the need to procreate. It is the primal and powerful fire that burns quickly. It needs to be fanned by one of the deeper forms of love in order to continue. Eros is not wrong, in fact, it’s an important part of life and a marriage. Eros was designed by God for marriage. The Bible is filled with examples. Genesis 2:24 states that a husband and wife shall “become one flesh,” that the intimacy of sex unites or bonds a man and a woman together. Eros or sexual desire should not be taken lightly. Even though it is the most basic idea of love, it is a vital aspect of a long lasting marriage.
Second, Philia is affectionate love or friendship. The Ancient Greeks valued philia far above eros because it was considered a love between friends, between equals. Being free from the intensity of sexual attraction, philia is about feelings of loyalty, camaraderie and a sense of sacrifice. It is also a general type of love for family, friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity or even between lovers. The focus here is on the mind. Philia is one of the four types of love to be specifically mentioned in the Bible. Romans 12:10 says “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Brotherly love is philadelphia (philia meaning love and adelphos meaning brother). This is why Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is known as the City of Brotherly Love. First Peter 3:8 says “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” God calls us to love each other as brothers with affection and friendship.
Third, Storge is kinship or family love. It is a common or natural empathy. It is almost exclusively used as a descriptor for relationships within the family. It is known for the expression of mere acceptance or putting up with situation because it is family. It can also refer to the love or affection for childhood friendships which have lasted into adulthood. It can refer to the love of one’s country. The focus here is on memories or a common thread. Family is a vital part of our lives. It is the first place we learn how to love and be loved. Or it may be the place we learn what love is not. There are many examples in the Bible of the love of family. Family was an important part of worship in the Hebrew communities. Deuteronomy 12:12, 18 tells everyone in the household to worship or rejoice before God. God commanded everyone in the household down the servants to worship.
Lastly, Agape, selfless love, is the highest, purest and most radical love. It is a selfless unconditional love with boundless compassion and infinite empathy. It is a deeper love that some ancient writers used to indicate the love of a spouse to separate from the other types of love. It is a love that accepts, forgives and behaviors for our greater good. The focus here is on the soul. It has been described as love of God for man and of man for God. The best verse to describe agape is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Christian writer, C.S. Lewis in his book The Four Loves, writes that agape is the highest level of love known. It is a selfless love, a love that is passionately committed to the well-being of the other.
In conclusion, we are called to love. However, when most people like of love, they think of romantic love. There is so much more to love than just romance. Love based on friendship and affection. Love based on memories and connections. Love based on the desire to sacrifice yourself for the needs of anyone. To sacrifice yourself isn’t always to die for someone, it can be to simply put aside your wants and desires because someone needs something more. The image of a mother eating very little so her family can have a feast. Or the husband who sells his prized pocket watch so his wife can pretty combs for her hair. Can you recognize the various types of love in your life? I bet they’re there.
Since my husband and I are attending the U2 concert tonight
I will leave you with one of their popular songs
Love Rescue Me
Everyone have a beautiful day!!!