What is Love?

Question: “What is love, what are the different types of love, and how do we learn to operate in God's love?”

Bible Answers

Defining the meaning of love is very difficult because of the diverse concepts of what people consider love to mean. For examples, some would claim that forcing a woman to have sex is having love while at the other end of the pendulum could be giving up ones life for another as an unselfish act of love.

Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). Now that’s an excellent command, but what is love?

While there is normally only one word in the English language for love, in the Greek language, the language of the New Testament, there are four different words used for four different types of love. These Greek words are “storge” (love among family members), “philia” (love between good friends), “eros” (romantic or sexual love), and “agape” (Christian love). Agape is an unconditional love manifested in acts of charity and service for others, including those who we may not even know or like). Agape love is saying that I want the best for you. Agape love doesn’t say “I will love you if you love me” but it continues manifesting irregardless if the other person shows you love or not.

Unfortunately, many couples got married based on emotions and feelings (eros) but they never had a deeper true (agape) love.  

Agape love is what flows from God that grows in our lives by the grace of God. Agape is the type of love that all Christians are called to manifest in their lives to God and to others about us. Love is not so much what we feel, but what we do. It is one thing to say you love someone and another to show that you love them by your actions. Think of the results if Jesus said he loved us but never put it into action by going to the cross. We need to show our love.

For God so loved [agape] the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love [phileo] of the brethren, fervently love [agape] one another from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).

One of the most famous definitions of Agape love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

This description perfectly fits God's love toward us, and is the way we are to love each other and God. While no one ever completely fulfills this description, we are told to keep working toward perfection. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

Another approach to love is:  Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31).

Next Section: What is the difference between joy and                     happiness?

Marriage and what is required in a marriage

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