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What Is the Highest Form of Love?

Updated on December 9, 2019
Mekenzie profile image

Susan has spent many hours counseling young women with stars in their eyes. Love is a choice and God is the author of true love.

What is Love
What is Love | Source

What Is Love

People yearn to be loved. We diligently seek to find true love.

Some never find true love, and they wonder why. Love seems elusive and confusing. Just when you think you have found it, a major flaw is uncovered. It is a wise person who takes time to study the one he/she has set his/her heart upon. In time, the character of a person is revealed.

This article will address the question, 'What is love?'

Chasing Love
Chasing Love | Source

Love Is Elusive

Love is the major theme of many conversations. People get excited about the topic as they share thoughts and experiences related to love. If love was a color it would possess hues of rapture tempered in shades of pain.

How do you define love? Would you agree that love is an elusive term, subject to many interpretations?

In this writing, I'd like to present a very brief and simple study of the root Greek word(s) for love. These definitions range from base self-indulgence to a holy and sacrificial gift.

In the original Greek, there are three different words used to explain the English word for love. We say I love peanut butter, I love my dog, I love my husband, I love the color purple and so on. Obviously, the English word for love has many interpretations but the Greek description is specific.

3 kinds of love
3 kinds of love

Three Types of Love

The three Greek words for love are Eros, Phileo, and Agape.

Most people will identify with the first two forms of Love; Eros and Phileo. The third type of love, Agape is the greatest and highest form. If you have been loved with an Agape love you are blessed beyond measure.

Sadly, there are people who live their whole lives and then die without ever knowing, experiencing or being touched by Agape Love. God loves His children with an Agape love. Those who do not know God know nothing of the Agape love He has for His children. God calls His children to learn to love Him and others with the same Agape love.

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." John 13:34

Source

EROS

CHEMISTRY

Eros is what some call chemistry. Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. Romantic love is often spearheaded by Eros Love.

EROS - PHYSICAL

To love with Eros's love is to be irresistibly drawn to the physical. It is the love of the body. If love is based on Eros alone (apart from Phileo or Agape) it is entirely self-centered, self-indulgent and does not require a relationship. In a marriage, the person who receives Eros's love alone will feel used like an object whose sole purpose is to fill their spouse's desires.

NOT MEANT TO STAND ALONE

Eros's love was never meant to stand alone or apart from the other two forms of love. Eros by itself will never hold up under pressure, and it is subject to the many whims and emotional shiftings of life. Eros (apart from the other two) satisfies itself and does not go beyond its own hunger and self-pleasure.

Forever Friends

A friend loves at all times
A friend loves at all times | Source

PHILEO

FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY

A Phileo love (friendship love) adds value to a relationship. It possesses affection and loyalty.

Phileo love holds a sincere appreciation for personhood. Phileo love is based on the character and commonality of values with a cherished friend.

KINDRED SPIRIT

Phileo love shares a kindred spirit. There is camaraderie in shared values. There is a keen knowledge that you are loved just the way you are, warts and all.

FRIENDSHIP

True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway. ~ Edna Buchanan

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving cheering words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled by them. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

A FRIEND'S A FRIEND FOREVER

A Phileo friend is a friend forever. One in whom your heart rests. A Phileo friend can be trusted with your reputation, dreams, and deepest secrets. She/he accepts you right as you are, yet is also faithful to tell you the truth no matter how bad that truth wounds. While an enemy may shower you with compliments while harboring ulterior motives.

"Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." Proverbs 27:6

The treasure of a Phileo friendship is one of the greatest blessings on earth.

Friends are Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith

AGAPE

Agape love is the highest form of love. It transcends all others. This love is not dependent on the other person to do or to be anything.

SUPERNATURAL

Agape love goes beyond the natural. A beautiful and convicting definition of Agape love is found in the Bible. Read these descriptive words.

DESCRIPTION FROM GOD'S WORD

The Love Chapter - I Corinthians 13

  • Love is patient
  • it is kind
  • Love is forgiving
  • It is not easily angered
  • Love is not selfish
  • It never keeps a record of wrongs.
  • Love protects its loved one
  • It always trusts
  • Love always hopes for the best
  • It just keeps on giving.

AGAPE LOVE IS A CHOICE

In today’s world, who chooses Agape love? It is a choice, you know. Our feelings are not stable. We live in a 'me first' generation. In most relationships, when feelings go awry or disappointment sets in, all expressions and sacrificial acts of love cease.

In our times, we have drifted from Agape love. Many couples sign a prenuptial agreement before committing to marriage. The fear of being betrayed or the false belief that one can fall 'out of love' motivates the perceived need for a prenuptial loophole.

Agape love is a rarity more precious than gold. Agape love is not dependent upon circumstances. No matter what happens - Agape love remains. Agape love is a deliberate commitment to pour into the person you have vowed to love for better or for worse.

SELF-SACRIFICE

Agape love is self-sacrificing. Agape love studies to perceive needs. It sets aside personal wants and needs. It invests in building up and adding value. Agape love looks beyond imperfections and beholds nurtures, sacrifices, and commits to the object of its love.

AGAPE LOVE IN PARENTING

You will surely be tested as a parent. Will you study and invest in your child? God put your child in your home for a reason. He charges you and equips you to be a parent to the child he places in your home. It is a high and holy charge to be entrusted with a child's life. As a Mother, I have been tested, as by fire. A Mother's heart once tested to its limit and found unshakable proclaims she holds Agape love for her child.

GOD IS AGAPE LOVE

Agape love comes from God. Agape love is a choice to be pursued. It is supernatural and requires an acknowledgment of our need for God. Only God can enable us to love so deeply, purely and sacrificially. God is the Glue that keeps a marriage together. Love that withstands the storms of life is a love built on the Lord Jesus Christ. We love because He first loved us.

"For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His one and only Son, (Jesus) so that whoever believed would not perish, but have everlasting love." John 3:16

God is Agape love! He is the essence and originator of love. God did not owe His creation anything - we ALL, in fact, have turned our backs on Him - yet, while we were yet in our sins, Christ died for us ... paying the penalty for sin (death) and restoring our relationship with Father God. God is Agape love. He gave His all for us.

Agape love is the rarest, purest and holiest of all loves.

On a Personal Note
On a Personal Note

A Personal Note

As I re-read this blog, I am keenly aware of how far short I fall in the I Corinthians love department.

I would never want my readers to think I've got this down pat. In fact, to be honest with you, my husband Gary is much closer to an Agape love for me than I am to loving him. I am a blessed woman!

God gives us his descriptor of love in I Corinthians 13. As we read His word, a light searches the depths of our soul. It reminds us of our complete inability to measure up. Our Agape God forgives ... his grace is greater than all of our weaknesses.

The love chapter gives us a way to evaluate our growth and align our desires with God's desires for us. May God enable us to love as he created us to love.

"I can do all things, through Christ, who gives me strength". Phil 4:13

"apart from me, you can do nothing." John 15:5c

God tells us to say connected to the vine (Jesus) because Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we are cut off from the source of life, we shrivel up and die.


Eros + Phileo + Agape = Intimacy

INTIMACY

The expression of Eros love when combined with the other two, and within the bounds of marriage, is a beautiful portrayal of deep intimacy between husband and wife. It is a rare, holy and pure love that has learned to put the needs of their beloved above their own. When Phileo and Agape are intertwined purposefully with Eros, it is magnificent.

Bible Quotes on Love

“ … Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” ~ Joshua the son of Nun (Joshua 22:5)

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” ~ Simon Peter, the son of Jonah of Bethsaida(1 Peter 3:8)

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” ~ Paul of Tarsus (Romans 5:7-9)

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© 2009 Susan Ream

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    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Shyron, I'm not sure who Devika is ...?? I believe love is a choice. You choose to love whom you choose to love. People don't 'fall' in love, they allow their emotions to lead them into relationships. Some choose relationships outside of marriage. There is danger of 'falling' in love if you don't have boundaries around the vows you made on your wedding day.

      It takes character and commitment to stick through the ups and downs that every single relationship experiences. I agree that holding on too tight can smother the other and that it does come from the root of insecurity.

      Thanks for your thoughts and for dropping by. Merry Christmas!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Devika, no you can’t destroy your marriage with love, unless… you are in love with someone other than a spouse or you are holding onto your spouse to tight, but that would not be love that would be insecurity.

      Blessings and hugs my friend

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I like that Levertis .. Agape love like medicine to fix the ills of society - it is rare indeed but when it is experienced it is a GIFT like none other.

      Blessings and thanks for the visit and sharing a great analogy.

      Mekenzie

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      Agape love is the medicine that would fix so many ills of society. It is indeed rare.

      Thanks for the enlightenment.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      teacherjoe, I Corinthians 13:4, when applied, will touch many lives. I have found that as I memorize scripture and review it, the Holy Spirit brings it to the forefront when I need it. Through your writing I have come to see that God's hand is upon you and that your first love is for Him .. Keep goin' brother joe!

      Blessings!

      Mekenzie

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 

      7 years ago

      Hi Mekenzie.

      Very insightful and beautiful article.

      I try to incorporate 1 Corinthians 13:4 into my daily life.

      God bless you.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Helen, yes, God wants us to love each other with HIS Agape Love. Thanks for your encouraging comments.

      God Bless you friend,

      Mekenzie

    • profile image

      oceansider 

      7 years ago

      Hi Mekenzie,

      Thank you for this article about Agape love, which is from Jesus Christ our Lord....I like the way you wrote about the different kinds of love, so that people can understand easily......and God wants us to love each other with His Agape love.

      May God bless you Mekenzie, Helen

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for stopping by ministry and leaving your encouragement!

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Jerome,

      So you have found the true source of love in Father God.

      Agape is a love we give freely; no strings attached. But that doesn't mean that we allow the one we love to mistreat us. No, it would NOT be love to do that ... because the one on whom we bestow love would learn to treat others badly which would be very un-healthy for them ... once again thinking of our loved one.

      A loved that will do anything, with respect to righteousness even selfless it is satisfying...

      I pray you will honor your girl and seek God's will in all you do. He knows us best and His love is 100% Agape.

      Mekenzie

    • profile image

      Jerome Ballena 

      7 years ago

      I am 15 going 16.. I am fortunate someone Likewise I love God more than her, because of here I learn to love everyone... We didn't became friend but still I know Aga Pe is love with no string attached...

      A loved that will do anything, with respect to righteousness even selfless it is satisfying...

      and It is only with the Heart One can see rightly, what essential is invisible to the eye... I still love the girl Denise my first crush, my first love and I hope she will be the last

    • profile image

      ministry 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for this.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Mike, beautifully put! Agape love is the way our Father God loves us. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your words or wisdom. Blessings!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      9 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Three centers: body, head, and heart. To give love from the heart and have it accepted is the most wonderful gift one can receive. A love from the heart that never comes close, however beautiful, is still a lonely love.

      May we all know agape--that true and special love.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Catch up is good. We're never too old to learn to love. That's what I say... :0) I think you're pretty sweet yourself!

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      Well, I have some time now and am playing catch up you see, plus you are so sweet. You have made my old heart swell. x

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      awe ralwus, I've seen a speck of your heart .. and I know there are so many here on the hubs that love you! Thanks for visiting my hubs. I am blessed that you would take time for a read here.

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      I may write about it, but I am the great pretender. I don't know a thing about love.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Moulik, Thank you for your visit and for your kind words too. Blessings

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 

      9 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      Lovable topics - so love can be defined so many ways! Very well done...

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      dohn, thanks for stopping by to read my hub. Agape love is the highest form of love and as I said, is not dependant upon being loved back. BUT ... I certainly agree that a perfect love story would be two people who Apape love each other! Blessings!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 

      10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      This was simply awesome to read as it was very fascinating. Nothing compares to AGAPE love when it's reciprocal. Thanks, Mekenzie.

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Petra, Yes, "Love is all we need." :-) I have begun to write a hub about a real AGAPE love story. It is about a young man that I know and a love that is beyond human comprehension... It is amazing to me!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you Mekenzie,

      Sharing your love with the rest of us is great and up-lifting. "Love is all we need"

    • Mekenzie profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      I appreciate your input; thank you creativeone.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      10 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a very rewarding and astute hub, Thank you for sharing it. blessings to you. creativeone59

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