In the Bible, we learn that there are four distinctions of love.
I think its safe to say that the majority of the world seems to rely on one idea of love. It’s mostly about the feelings that are associated with our affections. These feelings however, are not in fact love, but rather infatuation.
Infatuation – to inspire with a foolish or extravagant love or admiration
Admiration – an object of esteem; delighted or astonished approbation (approval or praise)
God’s Word teaches us that there are four true distinctions in love and the kind of love that He wants us to live in as well as share with others.
Agape is the most powerful of all. Agape means love in a “spiritual” sense. It often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true unconditional love” rather that the attraction suggested by “eros“. This kind of love is selfless. It gives and expects nothing in return. Whether the love given is returned or not, the person continues to love (even without any self benefit) Agape is also used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse.
Eros is “physical” passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. Romantic, pure emotion without the balance of logic. “Love at first sight”. The modern greek word “Erotas” means “intimate love”, however eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can apply to dating as well as a marriage.
Philia, “mental” love. It means affectionate regard or friendship in both ancient and modern Greek. This type of love has give and take. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts, philos denoted a general type of love used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
Storge means affection in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations as in “loving” the tyrant.
Although throughout the Bible, the different distinctions are used in different contexts, it is worth noting that in the famous 1 Corinthians 13, it is agape love that this scripture is speaking about which also describes the kind of love that God feels towards us which is shown by Him sending His only Son for our sins:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
Knowing the truth about the different kinds of love that exist in this world might assist you in finding the love you seek, as well as help you to build a relationship with God based on His idea of love.
I wish you the grace of God and His love in your life.
For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have life everlasting
Trip Lee – Looking For Love
Planetshakers – Come To Jesus