Good morning, Five Minute Families. Many years ago, Kim and I had the opportunity to listen to a Bible study about the loves of the Bible, no not marriages of the Bible, though we are working through preparing a study on those. We were studying the different original Greek words that were translated into the English word for love.
I love apple pie. I love my children. I love my husband. I love my parents. I love my job. I love hosting guests in our home. I love dancing. I love… I love… I love… All of those loves cannot possibly mean the same thing in their core. Do I really hold an apple pie on the same emotional and commitment level as my spouse? (Well, maybe on some days… J)
The ancient Greeks had many words for the one we all lump together in English as “love.” If you do an internet search, you will find folks writing about the three Greek loves, the four, the six, or the seven. I didn’t find any lists with more than seven though they might be out there. And, if you add in Hebrew, some sites say there are two, three, or four words in Hebrew to properly convey love and its richness. We actually found six different Hebrew words listed among the articles.
It is interesting that the Hebrew language breaks its words for love into separate components of love a bit differently than the Greek does. Hebrew marks love by devotion, protection, and choice, which can be applied to every relationship while the four Greek words that are typically referenced as being used in the Bible are labeled as God’s unconditional love, family love, brotherly love, and marital physical (or passionate) love.
Now, I enjoy etymology, but I am not a “linguaphile” so we will limit our devotions to only four of the Hebrew and Greek words to give us a better understanding of loving one another and five-minute applications for our families. If you have further training or more in-depth knowledge in the study of the words used in the Bible that are translated ‘love,’ please contact us and share your knowledge!
We are going to start with agape, which is the foundation of all lasting love in a five-minute family. According to the New World Encyclopedia, “In the New Testament, the word agape or its verb form agapao appears more than 200 times.”
One passage for example is 1 John 4:7-11 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.”
So, how do we agapao with agape? We must follow God’s lead. As John 13:34 tells us, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.”
A Yes! magazine published an article that stated, “There is growing evidence that agape is in a dangerous decline in many countries. Empathy levels in the U.S. have declined sharply over the past 40 years, with the steepest fall occurring in the past decade. We urgently need to revive our capacity to care about strangers.”
The world has a false sense of what agape entails. God is not only empathetic with us. He is unconditional. Many folks feel that being unconditional is impossible for us humans because we do not forget even if we want to forgive and our hurts usually influence our future behavior. However, God’s unconditional agape love is:
- Choosing – as in, He continual chooses a relationship with us
- And Just
You, five minute families, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, can absolutely choose to apply each of those five elements to your family relationships. 2 Peter 1:5-7 tenderly reminds us, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” With agape. Our ability to agapao grows as our relationships with the Lord grows. As He pours His agape love into us, we can overflow that agape love and its characteristics into those around us.
Thank you for joining us this morning. Remember to love your family unconditionally Protect, Sacrifice, Choose, Endure, and Be just. Love as God loves. Be blessed!