At 1 John 4:8, the Bible says that “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.”
This is a beautiful scripture that helps us understand our Holy Father better. And because we are made in his image, we also have the ability to show love to those around us. But, did you know that there are four types of love mentioned in the scriptures?
Many people say that the Bible is too old to have a modern-day application for today’s living, but this simply isn’t the case. Let God’s timeless word guide you in your journey through life and you will be truly blessed. Explore 4 types of love in the Bible and learn how you can apply this love in your life today.
1. Family love – Storge
Have you ever heard the word storge before? Pronounced STOR-jay, this Geek work describes the kind of love shared within the family unit.
Ask any parent and they will tell you that the loving bond between parent and child is like nothing they had ever felt before.
The Bible highlights the role that both parent and child are to play in the family unit. Family love is the type of love in the Bible that is of prime importance.
Deuteronomy 6:6 says “These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart and you must inculcate them in your sons [and daughters] and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”
Studies show that children learn by observing those around them, and since you and your spouse are the first examples of love, marriage, and Christian faith that they will see in their lives, it’s important for couples to set a good example about living according to God’s law.
Not only by verbally teaching your children about God but by setting a fine example in your conduct.
Ephesians 6:4 continues by saying “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Therefore, it’s important to set boundaries and teach your children, but you must have balance.
Colossians 3:20 encourages children to be obedient to their parents, while Ephesians 6:2-3 says that they are to honor their father and mother. They can do this by showing respect for their parent’s rules and boundaries and by being kind and courteous.
Older children have responsibilities as well, specifically to care for their aging parents. 1 Timothy 5: 3-4 brings out how children are to care for the elderly. Verse 8 of the same book and chapter says “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Parents deserve all the love that you can give them, there is a great emphasis on this type of love in the Bible
2. Marital love – Eros
The second form of love we will consider if Eros (AIR-ohs). This Greek word refers to the romantic love that is often associated with new relationships. Butterflies in your stomach, intense physical attraction, and general excitement to see your partner. This may not seem like it, but it is a very important type of love in the Bible too.
While eros may mean temptation for unmarried ones, studies show that those who are united in marriage can keep eros from fading by practicing a weekly date night. Not only does this help keep passionate love burning, but a weekly date night has also been shown to boost communication and marital friendship.
Another way husbands and wives can strengthen their marriage is by heeding the beneficial advice for couples found in the book of Ephesians, chapter five. The chapter encourages women to have deep respect for their husbands, while Ephesians 5:28 says “in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself” (NWT.)
If you love your own body, that means you would take care of it, cherish it, and do things for the good of it. This is the same way a husband is to treat his wife – with love and compassion.
3. Love by principle – Agape
The word love, as found in 1 Peter 4:8, is a reference to the Greek word agape, pronounced Uh-Gah-Pay. This unselfish love is based on principles, not feelings. You can’t force yourself to love someone, but you can follow a principle of love, which is why Peter was able to command the people to “have an intense love for one another” in this instance.
In a study of agape love, Professor William Barclay says that this love has to do with the mind, not necessarily the heart. It is a principle that you live in. He goes on to say that agape “is, in fact, the power to love the unlovable, to love people whom we do not like.”
We have already learned how family, parents, marital spouses, and children can show love for one another. But what about those around us?
At Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the second greatest commandment was “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NASB)
This type of love in the Bible has great significance in Christian belief.
Jesus set a fine example in showing love to neighbor when he gave his life on behalf of all mankind in order that they might be saved.
As God’s son, it would have been easy for Jesus to escape the persecution he was facing. But because his love for the human race was deep and based on principle, he gladly accepted his assignment as a ransom sacrifice.
4. Congregation and community – Phileo love
This is a unique and wonderful form of love found in the scriptures. Phileo, pronounced Fill-eh-oh, is not romantic or similar to that of family love but is a form of affection and warmth toward another person. Unlike agape love, which God commanded us to have for our enemies, phileo love is reserved for those close to us.
This type of love in the Bible refers to a brotherly love only.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes (NWT) “But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” Therefore, we can show phileo love toward those in our community or congregation by being kind and forgiving toward one another.
From respecting your marriage mate to dealing peaceably with those you don’t necessarily get along with, these types of love in the Bible has some great lessons about love. We hope you now have a better understanding of the four types of love listed in the Bible – storge, eros, agape, and phileo.