Nothing on earth is deeper, than to understand the mysteries of love. It has amazing breadth and length and height and depth, that surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:18). Love holds the secret to being filled up to all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).
There are two basic Greek words, used for the word love, to help us unlock some of its secrets.
Agape – To love unconditionally. This kind of love characterizes most of the types of love in the New Testament, including the greatest command to agape God and your neighbor (Matt. 5:43). Agape is a choice.
Phileo – Loved, dear, or friendly. A friendship kind of love where there is fond affection. We are commanded to phileo one another in brotherly love (Rom. 12:10). Phileo is based on feeling.
We can learn to love a little deeper, by applying the correct Greek word to a verse in Titus.
“. . . so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, . . . ” Titus 2:4
As a mother or wife, agape love is needed when you find bubble gum in the dryer, walls marked with crayon, or your car out of gas after your husband forgot to fill up the tank. A mother or wife cannot survive the day without agape love.
Except, agape is not the word used in this passage.
The meaning of love in Titus 2:4 is drastically changed by these two words:
“Philandros” – to phileo a man
“Philoteknos” – to phileo a child
If Titus 2:4 used agape love, it paints a picture of a woman, who is the victim of family injustice. Agape love would be her lesson, to rise above the mistakes, wrongs and difficulties, and forgive her family.
Phileo love teaches a different lesson. The focus is not her loved ones mistakes or wrongs, rather their needs. Here, a woman is encouraged to be fond of, affectionate and a friend to both her husband and children. To balance the workload and take time to enjoy them. To play with her children. To develop true friendship with both her husband and children.
Yes, to be a friend even to her children, in the way Jesus wants to be a friend to us – “You are my friends if you do what I command you,” John 15:14.
Agape is said to be love from the head, where phileo, is love from the heart. Agape love is the greatest commandment given, but what happens with agape love when we are in heaven? Will it even exist? Does it need to exist?
I see phileo love reining supreme when we get to heaven. A family that embraces not only agape, but phileo love, is the model I see that shines the greatest with the image and glory of God.
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