For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life – John 3:16
There’re two Greek words you’d find most frequently translated “love” in the New Testament. The first is “Agape,” and the other is “Phileo.” The latter stems from the Greek word “Philadelphia,” which means “brotherly love.” Brotherly love is that godly affection you have for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s when you learn to do things for them, and are willing to help, receive, share with and esteem others, being kind and affectionate towards them. The Bible encourages it. Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue.”
For example, if I were sitting on a chair, and you came in, not having a seat, and I said to you, “O, come over here and share mine with me.” That’s brotherly kindness. Perhaps it’s food and I decided to share it with you, that’s an expression of brotherly love. “Agape,” on the other hand, is different; it’s self-giving love; a sacrificial kind of giving. In this case, I don’t just “share the seat” with you, I offer it to you to sit on. I don’t just share the food with you, I give it all to you. That’s “agape,” the love of Christ.
“Agape” is the love that’s been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5); this means you can truly love everyone selflessly. Ephesians 5:2 says, “…Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” The love being referred to here is “agape”; the same self-giving love that God exhibited towards a world of sinners, even though they didn’t deserve it. You’re required to love others the same way, if you must be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Someone might say, “Well, that sounds too difficult!” Not when you’re born again and have the Holy Spirit. Love (agape) is a product of your recreated human spirit. You were born to love. Stir up the God-nature of love in you continually.
Please click here if you aren’t yet born again. God loves you.
Dear Father, thank you for your unconditional, self-giving love that you’ve poured into my heart by your Spirit. I’m compelled by the love of Christ to bless and uplift those I meet today, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Further Study: John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8