The four loves
I recently prepared a bible study on love and the types of love. I had previously known about three types of/ words for love in Greek - Eros, Philio and Agape. During my research, I found a fourth type of love, Storge love.
So a quick definition of these four types of love:
Storge - Storge is an affectionate love, the type of love one might have for family or a spouse. It is a naturally occurring, unforced type of love. Some examples of storge love in the bible can be found in the stories of Noah, Jacob, and siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Eros- As its name indicates, eros is passionate or romantic love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). While eros is important within a marriage relationship and is created by God (see Song of Solomon), it can also be abused or mistaken for storge love. The Bible is clear that sexual immorality (out-of-control eros) is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Philia - Philia refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy. The Scriptural account of David and Jonathan is an excellent illustration of phileo love: “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. . . . And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1-3).
Since phileo love involves feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we do not have phileo love toward our enemies. However, God commands us to have agape love toward everyone. This includes those whose personalities clash with ours, those who hurt us and treat us badly, and even those who are hostile toward our faith (Luke 6:28; Matthew 5:44). In time, as we follow God’s example of agape:16 love for our enemies, we may even begin to experience phileo love for some of them as we start to see them through God’s eyes.
John 21:16, “He [Jesus] saith to him [Peter] again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao] thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Agape - Finally, we have agape love. Agape speaks of the most powerful, noblest type of love: sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. This is the love that God has for His people and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins. Jesus was agape love personified. Christians are to love one another with agape love, as seen in Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
The most important foundation for a marriage is Philieo love, because when all the sparks fade away and life starts happening, it's the Philieo that binds together.
Here's an interesting bit of trivia to end. Sanskrit has 96 words for love, ancient Persian 80, Greek at least 4 and English and German only 1 word each.