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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Love is (1 Corinthians 13)

When you hear "Love is .." what do you think of? We may think of the "Love is" comic strip. We may think of 1 Corinthians 13, which is often read at weddings. But I wonder even when we think of 1 Corinthians 13, If we still don't get the full meaning of "Love is."


I think what we miss is that in the original Greek language, there are 4 different words for our English word, "love."


So to understand 1 Corinthians 13 and really anytime the Bible speaks of "love," we have to understand which Greek word is being used and what the meaning of that word is.


So here's the four Greek words for our English word, Love:


  • Eros - Eros is a romantic love between a man and woman within the covenant of marriage. Sexual immorality is exercising this love outside of the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

  • Storge - Storge is an affectionate love for close family members. We see this love expressed between siblings and between parents and their children.

  • Phileo - Phileo is brotherly love. This is a feeling of warmth and affection between close friends.

  • Agape - Agape is sacrificial love. This is God's love for us!! This is the most powerful kind of love. Jesus on the cross is the image of agape love. Jesus on the cross is agape love personified.

Most of the time in Scripture the word for love is Phileo or Agape.


Since phileo means having a feeling of warmth and affection between close friends; we do not have phileo love for our enemies.


Yet Jesus commands us to "love" our enemies.


Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.


Do you want to take a guess which Greek word Jesus used for "love" your enemies?

Agape love


Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, agape love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.


This means those people whose personalities grate against ours, we are to show agape love.


It means those people who have hurt us, we are to show agape love.


It means those people who have treated us badly, we are to show agape love.


This also means agape love is not talking bad about people, wishing bad about people, or hating people.


Agape love is absolutely NOT my body my choice.


Agape love is simply, because of Jesus' sacrifice for me, I will sacrifice my choice, my feelings, my emotions, my needs for you.


Wow! So how in the world is it humanly possible to agape love someone who does not love you; someone who has hurt you or hurt someone close to you?


It is absolutely not humanly possible to love those people.


It is only possible if we have repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus as the Lord of our life. When we do that, God puts His Holy Spirit in us, to guide us and give us the power to love with His agape love.


Are you struggling to love your enemies? Have you repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus as the Lord of your life so that you can have the power of His agape love working through you?


Life is so much better when you are filled with agape love rather than rage, hate, and resentment.


In fact, we can only truly understand 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, after we have repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus as the Lord God of our life:


1 Corinthians 13:4-8:


Agape love is patient.

Agape love is kind.

Agape love does not envy.

Agape love does not boast.

Agape love is not proud.

Agape love does not dishonor others.

Agape love is not self-seeking (my body, my choice).

Agape love is not easily angered.

Agape love keeps no record of wrongs.

Agape love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Agape love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Agape love never fails.


To those who are not followers of Jesus, living out agape love will appear weak and defeated. But if you are a follower of Jesus, you are not living for the approval of unbelievers but for the approval of Jesus, your Lord God and Savior.


Dear Lord, It has taken me so many years to learn this. Humanity taught me to fight for myself and get even. But Your Word teaches me to trust You, shine Your Light, and show Your Agape love. Jesus, you are my Savior and my Lord God. It is in You that I will put my trust. It is for You that I will live my life. Please put it on my heart to shine Your Light and show Your Agape love today and every day. In Jesus' Holy name I pray, amen.



Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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