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"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God" (1 John 4:7 KJV).

There are actually four Greek words for "love." Agape is the God-kind of love. It is the type of love that loves based on the character of the one loving, not based on the individual(s) to be loved.

It is called the God-kind, because this is the way God loves us. Even in our sins, He loved us enough to send His only Son, Jesus, to redeem us back to Himself. But there are three other types of love that you'll find of great interest.

Phileo is the type of love that you have for a friend. It consists of that which you see in a person that gives you pleasure. The character of the one who loves as well as the one who is being love determines its quality.

So, if a person doesn't love you, you would still love that person with the God-kind of love because that person is God's creation.

However, (with anyone other than your spouse) you wouldn't want that person to be your friend. With Phileo, the other person's character has to exude love, respect, and some kind of affection toward you, as well.

Phileo works best at the husband and wife level and to a lesser degree with children. But it always works effectively with your fellowman as you mix it with agape.

Storge is found in the New Testament, but it is the word used to express a show of affection, usually toward children and the elderly. In a male and female relationship, combining storge and agape is very meaningful.

However, when you combine storge and phileo without agape, it leads to sexual involvement. Like phileo, storge works best with your spouse, to a lesser degree with your children, and an even lesser degree with friends.

Eros love refers to sexual attraction. It only takes on its true meaning when it is combined with agape in the marriage relationship. That is the only way it is going to be effective. Eros will only work God's way with your spouse.

Agape is the stream that all relationships must begin with, thrive on, and live with. When you operate in the God-kind of love with all the other three in your marriage and family relationship, then you on your way to a successful life in God.

Study references: 1 John 4

Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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