Spiritual #3: The Five Greek Words for Love

Goal: To learn about, develop, deliver and enjoy these unique expressions of Love.

  1. Eros: Eros is the Greek word for sexual love, and erotic or sexual love is a beautiful and sensual expression and the manifestation of what God intends and endorses with two partners who have committed their lives to each other.  Engaging in erotic love is one of the most pleasurable ways to say I love you, but there are other words that capture the meaning of love also.
  2. Epithumia:  Although our English word Love does not appear in scripture when Epithumia is used, it is included in this list because Epithumia is the word mostly translated as desire or craving.  Epithumia portrays a picture of healthy and focused desire as desire and passion are directed toward one’s spouse, to share in, learn about and enjoy the presence, work and fruit (sexually and otherwise) in the marital garden built for two and two alone to enjoy.  
  3. Storge:  Storge means to “cherish affectionately,” and Storge conveys the picture of the type of love a parent has for his or her children; love which demonstrates care to and for them, provides for their needs, and is distinguished by affection, comfort, nurturance and a commitment for their safety, their development and their survival.  Unique to your children, Storge is the warmth you feel inside you when you’re making a lifetime memory with them, and it is the warmth mixed with laughter (or other pleasant emotions) you feel when you recall the memory years later.  
  4. Phileo:  Phileo is the word used to convey a closeness and fondness that develops as two people choose to befriend each other, and who work to build a friendship and a relationship with one another, within or outside of their family relationship.  Phileo is the type or expression of love that clearly marks how a person of faith is to enter and constructively “share and repair” a relationship with another person of faith, as “best friend” qualities are reflected in their interests, activities, time, connection and conflict resolution (Proverbs 27: 6) with each another. As with Eros, Epithumia and StorgePhileo really comes to life when the practice of values, virtues, spiritual disciplines, and constructive behaviors are integrated into one’s expression and experience of these words.
  5. Agape:  Agape isthe word that defines the unique quality of love demonstrated from God to us, us to ourselves, and is the behavioral expression of love you’re encouraged to share interpersonally as you consider and work toward the overall well-being of your “neighbors.” Agape is action-oriented and is distinguished by the unconditional expression of love, acceptance, honor, cherishing, value, esteem and devotion you provide to the recipient. Agape is compassionate and merciful in its expression, and it informs and guides your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and experiences in the 7 Core Areas of your life. Agape is the seed, fertilizer, process, and sweet, beautiful, nutritious, and mature fruit produced in and from the garden of your life as you endeavor to cultivate and share the love.

Suggested Activity: Use your spiritual disciplines to help you determine the appropriate expression of love you’re to contribute to your own well-being, and for the well-being of the neighbors you encounter. 

Skill you’d like to develop? 

Next: A word about your Spiritual Growth or return to the Table of Contents.

Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3–2–5–4–24″ for additional information that could be helpful.

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