- Eros. This is love in a romantic sense; e.g. love between husband and wife. It the most “fiery” type of love, but also the most shallow type of love. The word ‘eros’ is not found in the Bible, so I will not spend much time on it. The word itself is not found in the scriptures, but the concept is. We read of romantic attraction between the couple in Song of Solomon, and it is not a reach to say that romantic love was present there.
- Storge. This is love in a family sense; e.g. the love of mothers and fathers for their sons and daughters, and the love of children for their siblings and parents. The word ‘storge’ in the positive form is not found in the Bible, but the negative form is found twice – in Rom. 1:31 and in 2 Timothy 3:3 – where ‘astorgos’ is translated “without natural affection”.
- Philia. This is love in a friendship sense. The noun ‘philia’ and the verb ‘phileo’ originate from the Greek term ‘philos’, meaning “beloved” or “dear”. This type of love has give-and-take. It includes loyalty, virtue, equality, and familiarity. It is deeper than romantic love, which is why David says of his best friend Jonathan; “thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Sam. 1:26). As Christians, we are to love one another with ‘philia’ love (Romans 12:10)… it is a love shared by the family of God. This word occurs twenty-five times in the New Testament! Note that brotherly love is always governed by divine love (2 Pet. 1:7).
- Agápe. This is love in a divine sense. Agápe love is sacrificial and unconditional. It is selfless in that it gives and expects nothing in return. It is the love of a settled disposition. It is the highest of the four kinds of love. An example would be God’s love for us in sending His only-begotten son to die for us (John 3:16). If He only thought of Himself, He would never have done it (Job 34:14-15). The word for “Agápe love” is sometimes translated “charity”; e.g. 1 Corinthians 13. The English word ‘charity’ actually helps us understand what love really is. We might ‘say’ we love somebody because they love us back… but that isn’t the idea. Charity is when you give to somebody in need knowing there is no way they can repay you. Only the divine nature, in which the believer participates, has the capacity to love this way. Divine love always has God as its object. This word occurs one hundred and forty-two times in the New Testament!
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
|God’s Love||– No reason; i.e. sovereign grace
– GOD IS LOVE
– He is the source
– He gave His Son for me
– He chose me
– He looks upon me with favor
– He shows me daily mercies
|My Love||– I love because He first loved me||
– Toward God: Obedience to God’s word… this is how I show Him love
– Toward Others: I show love (actions of charity) to my brethren, to lost sinners, the fatherless, widows, etc.
“There is no accounting for His love; there is no estimating it. The thing most of all dear to Him was the Son of His bosom, and Him He gave. There is no limit to His love. He has given me Christ, and there is no end to what I have in Him. The Son of God given for my sins, He goes down into these depths and brings up life “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” How can I know that God loves me? By looking at the perfect object of His love, and this gives me rest. Why? Because in Him I see how wondrous is the love that sent down His Son to give me eternal life, and be a propitiation for my sins. If I have not rest, what I need is a deeper sense of sin. I must learn what sin is at the cross; and then I shall see the love that has met it and suffered for it, and thus my soul gets rest.”
- The Love of God, the Love of Saints, and Overcoming the World. J. N. Darby. Collected Writings, Volume 28, page 285
- The Love of God. J. N. Darby. Collected Writings, Volume 16, page 294
- Love and Light J. N. Darby. Notes and Comments, Volume 4, Page 233