Fellowship At The Ranch: Three Types of Love

Ed Jones

When we think of February, our minds normally go to Valentine’s Day. Cards, candy, hearts, and, above all, love. When I think of the word love, my mind goes to my two favorite words in Scripture, namely “But God.” What follows that introductory phrase is normally a manifestation of God’s incredible love for His own.

In Genesis 50, we see Joseph’s brothers willing to become his slaves to make amends for selling Joseph into bondage. Verse 20 describes God’s actions toward the whole family, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

In 1 Samuel, a demented King Saul seeks to kill David for being more popular with Israel than he. Chapter 23, verse 14, describes God’s loving kindness toward David, “David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.”

Verse 26 of Psalm 73 describes the actions of a loving God toward those weakened by the burdens of everyday life, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

There isn’t a day that goes by where I do not chide myself for being a weak and self-willed sinner. That’s when I go to 1 Corinthians 1:27 for solace, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Speaking of being a sinner, one who continues to do those things that displease the Lord, I cling to Romans 5:8 for comfort and truth, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In the Greek language there are three words used for love. The first one, eros, stands for sexual, romantic love. Eros is the kind of love mostly known by the world. This eros love is what generally motivates people.

The second word, philia, generally refers to affection between friends. From this word we have Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love.” Although eros and philia have others as their focus, they both can be motivated by self-interest, self-gratification, and self-protection. They are both the kind of love that is designed to satisfy the desires of the one doing the loving.

The third Greek word for love is agape. The meaning of this word for love stands in sharp contrast to that of the other two words. This word alone points to a completely self-sacrificing love, a love that lacks self-interest, self-gratification, and self-preservation. Agape love is motivated primarily by the interest and welfare of others. In the New Testament, agape is the Greek word most frequently used for the love for God. Agape love means action, action prefaced by the phrase, “But God.”

Ed Jones pastors Fellowship At The Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website, fellowshipattheranchchurch.com for information.