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Three Loves // Praise & Shine

There are over 5 million words in the Greek language, while there are only about 171 thousand in the English language. The Bible was primarily written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, leading to a lot of nuance being lost in translation.

Take the word “love” for example. I’m sure you know what it means to love and be loved, but there are three Greek words for “love” we will find in the Bible.

The first we find is Philos, the warm affection or friendship. Philos was commonly used when referring to friendships or family relationships. For example, it was used in Matthew 10:37 to indicate love for father and mother or son and daughter. Philos was the word used for Jesus’ love for his friend Lazarus (John 11:3,36) and His love for His disciples (John 20:2).

The second Greek word for love is Eros referring to physical or sexual love. This is where we get the word erotic from. While Eros was commonly used in the Greek-speaking world of New Testament times, the word itself is not found in the pages of the New Testament. The concept of physical love, however–expressed in the concept of marriage–is found and affirmed in the New Testament.

Our final word for love found in the Greek language is Agape, the sacrificial, unconditional love of God. Agape love is the highest form of love in the New Testament. Agape is the word that describes God’s love in John 3:16. We are commanded to love God (Matthew 22:37) and love one another (John 13:34) with agape love.

To say agape love is the highest form of love is not to diminish the other kinds of love. All genuine love comes from God because God is love and is where we build our foundation. A healthy marriage will express all thee forms of love.

There is another Greek word I would like to talk about, Timios meaning great price, precious, held in honor, esteemed, and especially dear. Timios is used to describe the “precious” redeeming blood of Christ in 1 Peter 1:18-19. Timios is used again to describe the “precious” promise of God. There is another place we see the use of Timios, Hebrews 13:4, “Marrige is to be held in TIMIOS among all…”

The same word that is used to describe the precious blood of Christ and the promise of God is also used to describe marriage. When we look at our spouse, we should see the beautiful creation that God holds dear, and express our love for His creation in all forms, Philos, Eros, and Agape.

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