What is Love? Love is many things to many people. Love is defined in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as, “Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests, an assurance of love warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration, a beloved person.” For many this definition of love will do, but today I would like to explain to you the love from the language of the Bible and from society in general.

There are many ways that I could explain love to you. There is the love that God has for His Creation, the love that a parent has for a child, the love that a child has for his parents, the love that a husband and a wife have for each other, the love that brothers have for each other, and the love that sisters have for each other. As you can see there are many different types of love in our society.

Filadelfiva” transliterated from Greek means Philadelphia. We all have heard of Philadelphia before, because it is known as the city of brotherly love. The word Philadelphia means, “Love of brothers or sisters, brotherly love.” The following story is an excellent example of brotherly love: My brother and I were playing out in the park, and we decided to work on my soccer skills, for the soccer game the next day. After we finished practicing, we went over to Dairy Queen and grabbed a bite to eat. When we got home, I thanked him and gave him a hug. There is an old saying, “You pick your friends, but you don’t pick your brothers, because brothers are meant for adversity.” Brothers are meant to stick with you for life, and friends are only for a time.

“Filevw” transliterated from Greek is “Phileo” meaning, “To love, to approve of, to like, sanction, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend, to show signs of love, to kiss, to be fond of doing be wont, use to do.” This is the love between friends.

Friendship is an essential part of who we are. We were created to be friends. There is a hole in each of us that causes us to long to be accepted. Only “Phileo” love can fill this hole in our lives. My friends have stuck with me through some of the toughest times of my life. A good example of friendship love is found in this example: When my family was in shambles my friends were beside me giving me much comfort. If it weren’t for them I might have given up while this turmoil was going on, but they stuck beside me and were there giving me support. These people showed me the meaning of friendship.

“Bha” transliterated from Hebrew is “‘Ahab” meaning, “Human love for another.” The following story is a great example of human love for another and comes from a Greenfield, Massachusetts church called Living Waters Assembly of God: After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “When a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.” The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life, to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the line to his son’s friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.” By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.” With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story,” politely started one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.” “Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see. I was the son’s friend.”

The most common love in our society is “Eros.” This love is known as erotic or passionate love (husband/wife, lust, many things). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains “Eros” this way: “Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers, affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests, an assurance of love, warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration, a beloved person.”

The following is a good example of the prevalence of “Eros” love in our society: Recently, I went to the store to get a golf magazine. I was shocked to find nothing, but magazines with near naked woman on the cover. I thought this was ironic, because here I am writing about “Eros”, and I run into the very heart of our problem. We have let “Eros” love wander outside of its intended boundaries. Instead of keeping our lustfulness in check, we have begun to wander from that which was once great about our society, which is our morality. We have almost turned completely away from true meaning of “Eros” and have accepted a distorted meaning. Our society is crumbling not because of our greed, but because of our lust. Marriages are being broken up because of pornography. Men are turning away and giving up at an alarming rate, because they see these magazines in stores, and they see their wives as not pleasing them enough or they want a better looking lover. What we as a society really need is a change in the way we view “Eros.” The way God intended this love is in marriage, not outside of marriage as we have made it.

“Ajgapavw” transliterated from Greek means “Agapao” in English. “Agapao” is used to describe God’s perfect love. The definition from Greek is, “Of persons to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly of things; to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing.” The following story from the Bible is a great example of God’s Love for His People and is found in Luke 15:11-32: And he said, “A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me that part of your property which will be mine.’ And he made division of his goods between them. And not long after, the younger son got together everything, which was his and took a journey into a far-away country, and there all his money went in foolish living. And when everything was gone, there was no food to be had in that country, and he was in need. And he went and put himself into the hands of one of the people of that country, and he sent him into his fields to give the pigs their food. And so great was his need that he would have been glad to take the pigs’ food, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to his senses, he said, `What numbers of my father’s servants have bread enough, and more, while I am near to death here through need of food! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, `Father, I have done wrong, against heaven and in your eyes: I am no longer good enough to be named your son: make me like one of your servants.’ And he got up and went to his father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and was moved with pity for him and went quickly and took him in his arms and gave him a kiss. And his son said to him, `Father, I have done wrong, against heaven and in your eyes: I am no longer good enough to be named your son.’ But the father said to his servants, `Get out the first robe quickly, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet; And get the fat young ox and put it to death, and let us have a feast, and be glad. For this, my son, who was dead, is living again; he had gone away from me, and has come back.’ And they were full of joy. Now the older son was in the field: and when he came near the house, the sounds of music and dancing came to his ears. And he sent for one of the servants, questioning him about what it might be. And he said to him, Your brother has come; and your father has had the young ox put to death because he has come back safely. But he was angry and would not go in; and his father came out and made a request to him to come in. But he made answer and said to his father, `See, all these years I have been your servant, doing your orders in everything; and you never gave me even a young goat so that I might have a feast with my friends But when this your son came, who has been wasting your property with bad women, you put to death the fat young ox for him.’ And he said to him, `Son, you are with me at all times, and all I have is yours. But it was right to be glad and to have a feast; for this your brother, who was dead, is living again; he had gone away and has come back.’ ”

God’s love is like the father’s in this story. We are all separated from God at birth, but are brought near to God by the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. When I was little I would run away from my father, because I was afraid of getting beat. I was like that son in the story; I ran away. I was like the father in the story as well. My dad and I went down a road, and on that road I forgave him, for all the hurt that he has caused me in my life. I was like the older jealous brother as well. I have attended church my whole life, and when I go to church I see all these happy families. Well this made me jealous, because I wanted my family to be like that, but it wasn’t to be, so my jealousy flourished towards those who had caring fathers.  God’s love is like that of the father in the story, because we have all done wrong in the Sight of God, but in His Mercy; He decided to send His One and Only Son to die for us. The Father didn’t need to send His only Son, but He did, because He loved us and wanted to give us His Best.

“Agapao” is the greatest love of all, because it costs more for the One who gave it than the one who is the receipt of it. Love to me is made up of many things. Love is self-sacrificing, not rude and boastful. It does not seek after what is good for itself, but always looks out for what is good for the other person. The love that I speak about is found in the elderly man who got up and spoke about how he had to choose his son’s friend’s life over his own son’s life. The greatest demonstration of love that you could give someone is to sacrifice everything that is the greatest to you. If you do this then you can find true happiness. Love is many things, but love to me is self-sacrificing like the Father who gave up his young ox, so that he could celebrate his son’s return.

What is Love? Love is something that cannot be grasped. Love is felt inside of everyone, something we all experience. Love cannot be defined; we cannot comprehend its depths, its widths, lengths, and heights. Love is something that you experience with your spouse. Love is something that you experience in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Love cannot be grasped by our narrow-minded minds, but we get taste of it in marriage and in communion with God. Love is something so sacred, so wonderful that I dare not define it, for fear of taking away from the true meaning of the word. Love is many things to many people, but love to me isn’t self-seeking. Love to me is always looking out always aware for those around me.