In the paucity of the English language, we have only one word- love. We use it for how we feel about soft drinks (“I love Mt. Dew!”), to our family (“I love my children!”), to God (“I love Jesus!” Yet the way we feel about Mt. Dew is different from the way we feel about our spouse or children, or Jesus. At least, I hope there’s a difference!
The Bible, on the other hand, uses 4 words for love. They are (transliterated from the Hebrew and Greek)- 1) Storge (pronounced “Store-Gay”)- that’s the strong love mentioned for family, like the love between Noah and his family, Jacob and his sons, and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; 2) Philia (pronounced “Feel-E-Ah”)- that’s the love that is felt in general for humanity, the love we have for those who we see in need around the world. It is seen in the Bible in the love that the Hebrews had for each other, and the disciples of Jesus for each other. Philadelphia is the “City of Brotherly Love.”; 3) Eros- physical, sensual love. The Bible speaks of this in many places, but most clearly in the Song of Solomon.; 4) Agape (pronounced “A-gop-ay”)- this is unmerited, unearned love. The one being loved just because they are who they are- not for any reason or expectation of anything in return. It is most often used in describing God’s love for us. “For God so loved (agape) the world that he gave his only son…”
So how about you? What word describes your love? Eros for Mt. Dew? Storge for your family? Philia for the family down the street? Agape for Jesus?
Highland Park, will you be my Valentine? I love each of you. I’ll let you figure which word fits best!
Oh….and never fall in love with a tennis player. Because love, to a tennis player, means nothing.