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