When asked what does love mean, I stumbled for a minute. Surely, I know what love means. For crying out loud, I know unequivocally that I love my husband, children, family and friends. If I pause long enough though, I realize the love I have for my family and friends differs from the love I have for mankind. The Bible tells me to love my neighbor, but I do not love my neighbor in the same way I love my husband or my parents.
Therefore, I have to research love to adequately answer the question. Typically, we recognize four types of love.
- The first type I was introduced to was Agape love. Agape love is an unconditional love in a spiritual sense. Agape love is what we as Christians tend to use to express the unconditional love of God.
- A general platonic type of love is Philia love. Philia love is usually expressed in friendships and among family. Philia love refers to how you feel about someone.
- Eros love is a more sensual and romantic love. Eros love is the type of love that is shared between a married couple. Meaning, their love engenders a deeper love than Philia.
- Storge love is expressed as the love between families and within friendships. It is a natural affection. A parents’ love for their offspring is best expressed by Storge love.
Now with that understanding, the different types of love I have for different people makes more sense. Ultimately, though, the definition of love is best summed up in 1 Corinthians 13: 4- 8. While some will say that 1 Corinthians 13 represents an agape love, I contend that all types of love are represented. Do you see all types of love there?
As we celebrate love this month, how will you explain and express love to your family, friends, and humanity? Please share your expressions and definitions of love.