Our Church is going through the 40 day Love Dare and last night, our small group studied the different words in 1st Century Greek for 'love'.
It's important to study this because we have demolished any meaning of the word love in our language. I love my wife...and I love pizza?
There are 4 words in Greek.
Eros- This is the compulsive, passion oriented type of love. We get the word erotic from Eros. It is a surfacy experience, but a powerful physical experience involving the five senses. Some philosophers in the 1st century believed that the ultimate purpose of life was to reach a place where Eros was experienced perpetually. (Some people today have adopted this goal in lifestyle.) But this type of lifestyle ends up very self-centered and would be a mile wide but an inch deep.)
Storge-This word appears once in scripture I think. It has the notion of natural affection and is used most often for familial love.
Phileo- This word appears more frequently in the New Testament and is a friendship oriented love that connects people out of mutual affection, likes, interests, etc. It is used to depict friendship, (love that Jesus had for John and Lazarus), love that God has for us, love between parent and child, etc.
Agape- This word appears numerous times in the NT and is the deepest most profound of loves. Agape is a willful, conscientious love that is unconditional and unwavering. It is the love God has for us (John 3:16, 1 John 4:7-11). It is the love we are to have for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). It is the love Jesus commands regarding the Great Commandment.
It's a radical reorientation to understand the love that God is calling us to. Many times we are inclined to love based on condition and transaction...But Jesus calls us to the next level. To agape love. Unabashedly loving the unlovely, the unlovable without condition. Because that is exactly what God has done for us. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
So how's your love life?