“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31, NIV
“Love” is a word we hear and speak often. “I love your hair; I love my dog; you must love to travel…” and so on. We all do it; we throw the four-letter word around somewhat carelessly. If you have ever researched the meaning of the word, love, then you know there is more than one kind of love. Depending on the source, the different types of love vary greatly in number. I am going to stick to the love referenced throughout the Bible, of which there are four types:
“Eros is the Greek term that describes romance or sexual love.”
“Phileo describes an emotional connection that goes beyond acquaintances or casual friendships.”
“Storge is family love as between parents and their children, and sometimes siblings living in the same household.”
“Agape, divine love that comes from God, perfect, pure and self-sacrificing.”**
Okay, now what does all of this mean? Well, let’s look at the Scripture passage leading into this devotion. The context in the book of Mark is that some of the “teachers of the law” were quizzing Jesus on his knowledge of the commandments. One of the teachers asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28, NIV). Jesus answered, “to love God” and “love your neighbor.” In other words, Jesus linked the two together. In fact, Scripture also tells us, “Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:21).
Agape love is beautiful! I would like to challenge all of us to give more thought on how we might show God’s love to those around us. We will never love perfectly as God loves us, but isn’t it worth setting the bar high? Even when we miss our goal the “fallout” will have an effect!
**The Four Types of Love in the Bible. Learn Religion, www.learnreligions.com.