Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Five Astonishing Qualities of Agape Love

Five Astonishing Qualitites of Agape Love

Big Idea: Agape, a Greek verb for love which was used astronomically often in the New Testament depicting the astonishing massive love of God.

Agape Love is Astonishing Love 

Imagine winning the lottery and using all your winnings to shower a grumpy family that distains you because you’re an outsider, making them a scrumptious beautiful meal.

That is basically the plot of a Danish short story made into a movie, Babette’s Feast.

There is, perhaps, some kind of magic in a meal prepared with love. It might not heal everything. But it can go a long way. Alissa Wilkerson, Film Critic

Agape Love is Undeserved Love

Agape love is the highest form of love. It portrays unconditional extravagant love that the recipient does not deserve.

Occurance of agape in each NT book
The Greek word, agape, is used most often in the Bible describing the incredible love of God. In non-Biblical early Greek literature such as writings of Homer and Aristotle, the word agape is used rarely, depicting beneficial honor to the undeserving.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Does Your Family Say I Love You? Storge Love

Does Your Family Say I Love You?

Big Idea: The Ancient Greek word for family love, storge, describes the natural affection, usually mutual, in family-like close relationships.

Does YOUR family say "I love you" ?
Grandma with grandaughter

“I love you more than you love me.”

"Na, uh…,” said my mother-in-law, weakly wagging her finger, “I love YOU more than you love me!” We all had tears in our eyes.

This was her last conversation with her grand-daughter before she died. It was a little game they had played for decades.

Four Types of Love (in review)

We can learn from four Ancient Greek words that portray different types of love.

Phileo: camaraderie, friendly

Eros: passionate, sensual

Storge: affectionate, familial

Agape: selfless, sacrificial

That comfortable natural love

Storge (pronounced STOR-gay): that natural, comfortable love between family members.

C.S.Lewis, a brilliant influential writer, published a book in 1960, “Four Types of Love.” He refers to storge love as a humble, comfortable type.

Affection almost slinks or seeps through our lives,” he says. “It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor… (C.S. Lewis, The Four Types of Love, chapter 3)

Growing up, my family did not banter the words back and forth, “I love you.” Yet without a doubt I knew I was dearly loved.

But today I shower our kids with “I love you,” and they freely say it back. It is good to hear, even after a misunderstanding or a tough conversation.

Those kindred-spirit friends
Diane on Marco Polo

I send video messages to a friend. This began when she first became a snowbird. We now do this quite often and have become very close.

Out of habit with my family, one day I closed our conversation blurting out “I love you” and now we say that every time. It’s a very comfortable relationship. I never worry if I have makeup on or if my hair is a little funny. It is a storge type of love.

Storge love in the Bible

The Greek word, Storge, doesn’t appear in the Greek New Testament.

However, two Bible verses (Romans 1:31, 2 Timothy 3:3) use the antonym (astorgos) to mean the opposite. It describes people who are heartless, hard-hearted and brutal.

Romans 12:10 uses it as a compound word with another Greek word for love, philos (philostorgos). It refers to a brotherly kind of love that should be cultivated between fellow Christ followers.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 NLT

There are excellent familial examples in the Bible such as between the sisters Mary and Martha, Jesus and his mother, a close friendship like David and Jonathan, and so on.

Build bridges to strengthen storge love

Your family may not be close, but perhaps you can try to build bridges with humble kindness. You may have kindred relationships but haven’t reached out recently. Cultivate storge relationships in your life.

We all need a little storge love in our life.


Up next: 5 Astonishing qualities of Agape Love
Previous post: Arrows of Love: Eros


1. When you were a child growing up, did your family members say I love you to each other? Did you know they loved each other? How did this effect you for today?

2. Who is a good example to you of storge love? It might be a friend, someone you know, someone in the Bible…

3. How can you cultivate storge love if you don’t have much of it in your life?

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Arrows of Love: Eros Love

Big Idea: The Ancient Greeks had a word for love, eros, with Valentine's Day imagery like an arrow, piercing the recipient, the source of many emotions: desire, pleasure and pain, distress.

Love at First Sight

The Ancient Greeks had a word for sensual activity. Eros. We get the word erotic from it, like the literary genre of erotic explicit novels.

The Greek imagery of the god of Eros (in Roman mythology, Cupid) is what we get bombarded with on Valentine’s Day. It’s pictured as the chubby little winged creature who shoots an arrow at a target

Love at first sight. Smitten. Desire. Pleasures. The agony of separation. All of this is part of the eros drama. Eros may seem cute but it is intense about both pleasure and pain.

Eros in the Bible

The Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) used the word eros in the Song of Solomon. The book celebrates the love and sex life of a newly married couple.

Curiously the word eros was never used in the Greek New Testament. In New Testament times Greek and Roman civilizations portrayed eros love in such a corrupted and excessive way, the New Testament writers would not even use the word.

New Testament writers celebrated exclusive marital love. Sexual intimacy is an important part of a healthy marriage. Sexual intimacy in marriage is part of eros love. It is assumed by the Apostle Paul. 

Because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. I Corinthians 7:2-3 NLT

May her breasts satisfy you always

When I worked in West Africa, a pastor left his wife for another woman. Much is destroyed in both the family and church by that.

I mused to a Guinean pastor’s wife, "How he could have let that happen?" 

“He forgot to celebrate the breasts of the wife of his youth."

Interesting perspective. She reminded me of these verses in Proverbs.

Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18-19 NLT

A retired U.S. Military Chaplain's wife and I reflected on the challenges of deployment with sexual separation over a long period of time. When her husband returned, in a private moment, he'd reach for her breasts and say, "I really need to touch my woman's breasts!"

Celebrate your wife's breasts!

Eros then and now

Eros took over the culture in New Testament times with a warped view of this gift from God. Our culture too has a warped view of sex. It even has a destructive force for many to mind, body and family.

If you have the gift of a spouse, consider your mate to be a blessing for you.  Find freshness in your marriage.


Up next: Does your family say "I Love You"?: Storge
Previous post: Five Ways to Love a Friend Well


1. What do you think has influenced you most on your attitude toward sexual intimacy? Movies? Your parents? Your church?

2. If you are married, do you cultivate this aspect of your marriage? If not, how might you work on that?


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Five Ways to Love a Friend Well : Philos Love

Big Idea: The Ancient Greeks had a word for the love between friends which is trusting, lasting and appreciated.

Love a Friend Well

“All you need is love,” sang the Beatles.

Love is necessary for human beings to exist. February is a month to celebrate love. But love has so many nuances of meaning.

I love coffee.

I love my dog.

I love my mom.

I love this guy I married.

I love God.

The Greeks had several words to describe different kinds of love. Kind of like how the Eskimos have 40 different words to describe snow.

Friendship love

The Greek root word for friendship type of love is philos. From this root word we get the word Philadelphia, which is aptly nicknamed the City of Brotherly Love.

Yup, that city slogan describes the Greek word, and it is also used in the Bible.

The Greeks, philosopher Aristotle in particular, described the devotion and sweetness of good friendship as an art. Greeks placed a high value on friendships.

Friendship is mentioned a lot in the Biblical book of Proverbs.

Jesus used this word when He talked about the disciples He chose. It was used for the friendship between Jesus and Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He used it as well to describe friends in parables.

Five ways to love a friend well

1. Let friendship grow with time. Keep in touch regularly. 

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. Aristotle

2. Stand with your friend through thick and thin.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24  NLT

3. Kindly tell your friend the truth even when it hurts.

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:6 NLT

4. Learn from your friend and realize you are better together.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27: 17 NLT

5. Share the joys and sorrows of live together. 

Two examples of this are the woman with the lost coin who called her friends to celebrate when it was found in Luke 15  and in John 11 when Jesus cried with Mary and Martha over his friend Lazarus.

Cultivate and cherish the love of a friend

Love is a huge interest around Valentine’s Day. But love is not just significant for marriage and couples. It is important to all, as philos love implies. Even couples though, need some philos love between them.

Philos love is trusting love.

Philos love is enjoying-each-others-company love.

Philos love is built over a lifetime.

Friendship develops over time, and earns trust. It is a sweet invaluable asset to life. Take time and cultisate the love of a good friend today.


Up next: Arrows of Love: Eros
Previous post: Work 


1. Do you have a special friendship? What is special about it? How long has it lasted? Has it been easy or has it taken work to cultivate?

2. Can you imagine being a friend of God like Abraham? What might that look like? How would you cultivate a friendship with Him?

Amazingly it is possible to be a friend with God.

And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. James 2:23

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13