Better Than I Deserve
6/19/14 at 05:08 PM 0 Comments

Different Types of Love Found in the Bible

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The Bible speaks of different types of love. What are they? What kind of love does God have in comparison to humans?

Storge Love

This is the type of family love that is commonly found in the Bible and is vital to the proper function of families and can sometimes be found in extended families. This is the type of love found in Martha and Mary who lost their brother Lazarus. It is the type of love that Abraham had for his son Jacob, the kind that Noah had for his wife and children, and the same kind of love that any father and mother has for their children as well as the children's love for their parents. Storge love can also occur between a husband and a wife. It appears to be the same type of love that animal parents seem to display for their young. Storge is a Greek word (στοργή) for family love and frequently used for natural affection.

Eros Love

This is the erotic love between men and women which is a sensual love. It is acceptable within the confines of marriage but outside of this matrimonial union, it is seen as sinful and why Paul told the Corinthians that "if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Cor 7:9). This love is what gets many people, even Christians, into serious trouble because they can commit adultery if left unchecked and not resisted, they can commit adultery of the heart (Matt 5:28), it can lead to an addiction to pornography, and it can become an idol in itself. While this level of love is necessary and healthy within marriage, outside or before marriage it can be totally destructive.

Philia Love

This is the type of love that David and Johnathan had and was about as intense as it can be outside of the love that God displays. These two men would have died for one other. This love produces a bond that eros and storge love cannot compare with. This is the love that Christians are commanded to have for one another (Rom 12; 1 Cor 13). Jesus told the disciples and He tells us today, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:12-14). This love is very unselfish and is like the love where soldiers display while under fire trying to save a fellow soldier who is wounded, where in combat a soldier falls on a grenade to save the life of his fellow soldiers, and where someone dies or risks dying for someone or others in order to save or protect their lives.

Agape Love

Agape love is the most supreme love of all and is an attribute of God and does not come naturally to humans. This type of love is supernatural as Jesus displayed on the cross saying "forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). This love is not as much a noun (a thing) or what is felt but it is displayed by what someone does. Love is a is an is what you do like Jesus dying for us while we were still sinners as summed up in Romans 5:7-8 "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." How many people do you know or have you heard of that died for their enemies? Jesus did. In fact "God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16) and it is not a love that condemns but one where "He came into the world to save the world" (John 3:17b).

The Greatest Commandment

It isn't ironic that the greatest commandment is all about love..loving God first and foremost and then loving your neighbor as yourself. When asked which was the greatest commandment Jesus said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt 22:37-40). Loving God first means you seek Him and His kingdom (Matt 6:33) and His agenda (Matt 28:18-20) above your own. Putting Him first, others next, and yourself last. On these two commands to love, it is the entire message of the Bible that this hangs on (Matt 22:40).

Commanded to Love

Jesus gave us all a new commandment and this was given John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." We are commanded to love others as Jesus loves us! That's a very tall order and one that we can do in our own human strength. Jesus said that if we have this love for one another, "all people (lost and saved) will know that [we] are [His] disciples." If others don't see us love like this then they won't believe we are Christ's. It is just that simple. John understood this when he wrote "Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (1 John 2:10-11). What John is saying is that if you say you love God but hate your brother, you're lying to yourself and others and you are not a disciple of Christ and "the darkness has blinded [your] eyes." It is irreconcilable to say you love God and treat your brother or sister with contempt. That is hypocrisy at its highest!


God loved the world so much and this love was never displayed in a more magnificent and agape-way than on the cross. Jesus died for us while we were still ugly, hideous, wicked sinners and still His enemy (Rom 5:8) and that is the kind of love that is displayed and proven by His actions and completely overshadows all other forms of love, even human, philia love. Love is much, much more than a is an active, working, moving, action-oriented thing. It's not what you say or feel as much as what you do. Will you repent today and trust in this God Who loved you so much to send the holy, sinless, Savior to die for you? If not, then the wrath of God is still on you (John 3:36b) and you will be forever cut off from the love of God, once and for all time and with no chance of redemption (Rev 20:11-15).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon

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