Love. What Does It Mean, Really?

We use the word “love” like it’s going out of style. We attach it to words, things, people, or experiences that have been impactful or influential. We describe our favorite foods as something we love because it’s one step above “like,” and it encapsulates what we’re trying to communicate. We use it to express our feelings about someone, a fun memory, a moment in time, or a place that has been really meaningful to us. 


But what does love mean, really?


  • Philia love: affectionate, between friends and/or family; non-romantic.
  • Eros: romantic, passionate.
  • Agape: selfless, universal.   


In Scripture, we see love portrayed in some of those ways.

  • Philia: David and Jonathan’s friendship (1 Samuel 18:1-5).
  • Eros: The Book of Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon).   
  • Agape: Christ’s death and sacrifice for us on the cross (Romans 5:8, John 3:16, 1 John 2:2).


So, while we have a “holiday” that’s centered around love, cards, hearts, and chocolate, what if we chose to view love in light of how we see it demonstrated in Scripture? I’m not saying cards, or chocolate is wrong; I’m wondering what could change if we thought about ‘love’ differently. 


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says this about love:

  • Love is patient and kind
  • Love does not envy or boast
  • Love is not arrogant or rude
  • Love doesn’t insist on its own way
  • Love is not irritable or resentful 
  • Love doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things
  • Love never ends 


Together, let’s ground our love in something substantial - in Someone who’s the ultimate picture of love. Our feelings are fleeting and deceitful. The nice gifts and sweet sentiments are fun. But there has to be more. A love that is rooted in something bigger than ourselves, but when experienced, can be poured out into the lives of others. Not because of us, but because of Him.