7 Types of Love Displayed in the Bible

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Have you ever wondered about the different types of love mentioned in the Bible? Love is a central theme in scripture, but did you know that there are actually seven distinct types of love described in the Bible?

These types of love, each with their own characteristics and significance, provide us with a deeper understanding of the complexities of human relationships and our connection with God.

What are these seven types of love? How are they portrayed in the scriptures? And how do they impact our lives? Join us as we explore these questions and delve into the fascinating world of love in the Bible.

Whether you want to deepen your spiritual journey, strengthen your relationships, or gain a new perspective on love, this article will provide you with valuable insights. Get ready to discover the different types of love and their profound impact on our lives.

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Agape – Unconditional Love

In the Bible, agape refers to the highest form of love – a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love that God has for us and expects us to have for one another. It is a divine love that goes beyond human comprehension and surpasses all other types of love.

Agape is beautifully demonstrated in John 3:16, which states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This verse reveals the depth of God’s agape love for humanity. Despite our flaws and shortcomings, God’s love is unwavering and unchanging.

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Another profound verse that showcases the essence of agape love is found in 1 John 4:8, which declares, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God’s love is not based on conditions or expectations; it is pure, unconditional, and flows from His very nature.

This image acts as a visual representation of agape – the embrace showcasing the boundless and inclusive nature of unconditional love.

Agape love challenges us to love others without reservation, just as God loves us. It calls us to show compassion, forgiveness, and selflessness in our interactions with one another. By embracing agape love, we can experience transformational relationships, profound joy, and a deeper connection with God.

Phileo – Brotherly Love

Phileo is a special kind of love that is often experienced in deep friendships. It is characterized by warmth, affection, and genuine care for one another. This type of love is rooted in strong bonds and mutual loyalty.

In the Bible, we find an example of phileo love in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples, particularly with John. In John 15:13-15, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

This passage highlights the depth of affection and camaraderie that Jesus shared with his disciples, exemplifying phileo love.

brotherly love

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

In these verses, Jesus not only refers to his disciples as friends, but he also emphasizes the sacrificial nature of phileo love. He states that the greatest expression of love is to willingly give up one’s life for a friend.

This speaks to the selflessness, loyalty, and deep connection that characterize brotherly love. It is a love that goes beyond mere acquaintanceship and fosters a bond that is built on care, trust, and shared experiences.

Characteristics of Phileo Love

Phileo love is often characterized by the following:

  • Warmth and Affection: Phileo love is marked by genuine warmth and affection towards others.
  • Deep Friendship: It is often found in deep friendships, where there is a sense of closeness, trust, and mutual support.
  • Caring and Compassion: Phileo love involves a deep concern for the well-being and happiness of others.
  • Loyalty: It is characterized by unwavering loyalty and commitment to the relationship.

Understanding and practicing phileo love can have a profound impact on our relationships. It reminds us of the importance of building deep connections, offering support, and being there for one another.

By cultivating brotherly love in our friendships, we create a nurturing and supportive environment where we can grow together in love and understanding.

Phileo – Brotherly LoveCharacteristics
Warmth and AffectionGenuine warmth and affection towards others
Deep FriendshipSense of closeness, trust, and mutual support
Caring and CompassionDeep concern for the well-being and happiness of others
LoyaltyUnwavering commitment to the relationship

Storge – Family Love

The bond of family is a unique and cherished love that is deeply ingrained in our hearts. Storge, the Greek word for family love, embodies the natural affection and attachment shared between parents and children, as well as siblings.

Storge is a powerful and instinctual love that symbolizes the strong connections and bonds formed within a family unit. It captures the unconditional love, care, and support that family members offer to one another, creating a sense of security and belonging.

“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.'” (Ruth 1:16-17)

An exceptional example of storge love can be found in the biblical account of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth, bound by her love and loyalty to her mother-in-law, displayed unwavering commitment and devotion in the face of adversity.

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Her heartfelt declaration in Ruth 1:16-17 echoes the profound depth of storge love, showcasing the extent to which she was willing to go for Naomi.

The Story of Ruth and Naomi

Ruth was a Moabite woman who married Naomi’s son. Tragically, both Naomi’s husband and sons passed away, leaving her widowed and childless. In the midst of her grief, Naomi made the decision to return to her homeland, Judah, and urged her daughters-in-law to go back to their families.

Although one of her daughters-in-law chose to go back, Ruth, driven by her deep love and loyalty, clung to Naomi and refused to leave her. Her words in Ruth 1:16-17 express her unwavering commitment to accompany Naomi wherever she goes, to embrace Naomi’s people as her own, and to worship Naomi’s God.

The story of Ruth and Naomi beautifully portrays the selfless and sacrificial love of storge. Ruth’s steadfast dedication and willingness to forsake her own homeland and family exemplify the essence of family love.

CharacterActions
RuthRefused to leave Naomi and stayed by her side
NaomiSupported and cared for Ruth, guiding her in the ways of their people

Through their bond and mutual support, Ruth and Naomi found solace, strength, and a renewed sense of purpose. Their story serves as a powerful testament to the enduring love and loyalty that exists within the realm of storge.

In the image above, we see the warmth and joy shared by a family as they embrace one another. It encapsulates the essence of storge love and reminds us of the deep affection and connection that family brings.

Eros – Romantic Love

Eros, or romantic love, is a powerful and passionate form of love that is often associated with the intense emotions experienced in a romantic relationship. While the term “eros” is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, this type of love is beautifully depicted in the Song of Solomon.

eros and romantic love

“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!”

In Song of Solomon 4:10, the love between the bride and groom is celebrated and described with poetic beauty. This verse captures the depth of romantic love, highlighting its beauty, allure, and intoxicating nature.

Eros encompasses the passionate desire, longing, and physical attraction that often accompanies romantic relationships. It is an expression of the intense emotional and sexual connection between two individuals deeply in love.

While eros is a significant aspect of romantic relationships, it is important to remember that a healthy and lasting love encompasses more than just the physical or emotional aspects. Building a strong foundation of friendship, trust, and mutual respect is equally important to sustain a lasting and fulfilling romantic partnership.

Characteristics of Eros – Romantic LoveExamples from the Bible
Intense emotions: Eros is associated with strong feelings of attraction, desire, and infatuation.N/A
Passionate connection: Eros involves a deep emotional and physical connection between two individuals.N/A
Romantic gestures: Eros often includes expressions of love through romantic gestures, gifts, and acts of affection.N/A
Song of Solomon: The passionate love between a husband and wife is beautifully portrayed in the Song of Solomon.N/A

In the Song of Solomon, eros is celebrated as an essential and beautiful part of romantic love. It reminds us of the depth of emotions and connection that can be experienced in a loving partnership, encouraging us to cherish and nurture the romantic relationships in our lives.

Xenia – Hospitality

Xenia is a form of love displayed through hospitality to strangers or guests. It emphasizes kindness and generosity to those outside one’s immediate circle. An example of xenia is seen in Abraham’s hospitality to the three visitors in Genesis 18.

“Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves. After that you may pass on, since you have come to your servant.” And they said, “Do as you have said.” (Genesis 18:4-5)

In Genesis 18, Abraham’s welcoming attitude towards the three strangers exemplifies the spirit of xenia. Despite not knowing who they were, Abraham went above and beyond to provide for their needs, offering water to wash their feet, rest, and a meal to refresh themselves.

Abraham’s display of hospitality showcases the importance of welcoming and caring for others, showing kindness and generosity to strangers.

Xenia - Hospitality
Benefits of Xenia – Hospitality
1. Fosters a sense of community
2. Strengthens relationships with others
3. Promotes understanding and diversity
4. Creates a welcoming environment
5. Offers an opportunity for personal growth

Pragma – Enduring Love

Pragma, also known as enduring love, may not be explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but its essence can be observed through the commitment and longevity of relationships portrayed in biblical marriages and God’s unwavering covenant with Israel. One notable example of pragma love is found in the story of Isaac and Rebecca.

Isaac and Rebecca’s love story is highlighted in the book of Genesis. Abraham, Isaac’s father, sends his servant to find a wife for his son from his homeland.

The servant encounters Rebecca, who demonstrates her kindness, generosity, and willingness to embark on this new journey. When Isaac and Rebecca meet, their connection is immediate, and they form a bond that withstands the test of time.

Characteristics of Pragma Love – Isaac and Rebecca’s Relationship
1. Patience and understanding
2. Commitment and loyalty
3. Endurance through challenges
4. Support and care for one another
5. Working together towards common goals

Isaac and Rebecca’s enduring love reflects the qualities of pragma. They exhibit patience and understanding in their relationship, navigating challenges while remaining committed and loyal to one another.

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Their love endures through various trials, and they support and care for each other along the way. Together, they work towards common goals, creating a lasting foundation for their marriage.

“Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebecca. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” – Genesis 24:67

Implications of Pragma Love

Pragma, or enduring love, teaches us the value of commitment, loyalty, and perseverance in our relationships. By cultivating pragma love, we can build deep and lasting connections based on understanding, support, and teamwork.

Pragma love reminds us that love requires effort and a long-term investment, strengthening the foundations of our relationships.

Philautia – Self-Love

When exploring the types of love in the Bible, it’s important to recognize the significance of philautiaself-love. Philautia refers to valuing oneself and loving oneself in a healthy and godly way. This type of love is essential for being able to love others effectively. After all, Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Loving yourself doesn’t mean being selfish or narcissistic. It means recognizing your worth and understanding that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s eyes. It involves caring for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, so that you can pour into the lives of others.

Exercising philautia allows you to establish healthy boundaries, prioritize self-care, and develop a positive self-image. When you love yourself, it becomes easier to show compassion, grace, and kindness to those around you.

As you reflect on the importance of philautia, remember that it is not about seeking validation from others or comparing yourself to the unrealistic standards of the world. It is about finding your identity in Christ and embracing the unique individual that God created you to be.

Practicing Philautia

Here are a few practical ways to cultivate self-love and embrace philautia:

  • Take care of your physical health: Nourish your body with healthy food, engage in regular exercise, and prioritize rest and relaxation.
  • Nurture your emotional well-being: Take time for self-reflection, engage in activities you enjoy, seek therapy or counseling if needed, and surround yourself with positive influences.
  • Feed your spiritual life: Spend time in prayer, read and meditate on God’s Word, connect with a faith community, and seek spiritual growth.

By practicing philautia and loving yourself as God loves you, you can experience a deeper sense of self-worth, inner peace, and fulfillment. In turn, you will be better equipped to love your neighbor and live out the commandments of Jesus.

Philautia - Self-Love
The Importance of PhilautiaKey Points
1. Valuing oneselfRecognize your worth and embrace your uniqueness as a creation of God.
2. Healthy self-loveCultivate a positive self-image and engage in self-care practices that promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
3. Foundation for loving othersWhen you love yourself, you can extend grace, compassion, and kindness to those around you.

Impact of Different Types of Love

Understanding the different types of love in the Bible can have a profound impact on our lives. The scriptures provide valuable teachings on love that guide us in our relationships with others and help us cultivate a deeper connection with God.

Love, in all its forms, holds immense power to influence our actions, attitudes, and overall well-being. When we embrace the biblical teachings on love and apply them in our lives, we experience transformation and growth.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

When we embody the love described in this passage—known as agape, the highest form of unconditional love—we exhibit patience, kindness, forgiveness, and selflessness. We become capable of fostering healthier relationships and creating a positive impact on those around us.

Love guides us in our interactions with others, allowing us to approach conflicts with empathy and understanding. It inspires us to be considerate, compassionate, and respectful, fostering harmony and unity in our communities.

The Impact of Biblical Teachings on Love:

  • Biblical teachings promote forgiveness, helping us overcome resentment and fostering healing in relationships.
  • Love teaches us to value others’ worth and treat them with dignity and respect.
  • Love instills empathy, enabling us to offer comfort, support, and understanding to those facing challenges.
  • Love encourages us to serve others selflessly, promoting acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Love motivates us to prioritize the well-being of others and seek their best interests.
impact of love
Impact of Different Types of LoveDescription
Agape (Unconditional Love)The highest form of love that encompasses selflessness, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
Phileo (Brotherly Love)Warm, affectionate, and loyal love found in deep friendships.
Storge (Family Love)Natural, familial love characterized by affection, loyalty, and care.
Eros (Romantic Love)Passionate and romantic love often associated with the feeling of being in love.
Xenia (Hospitality)Love displayed through kindness and generous hospitality to strangers or guests.
Pragma (Enduring Love)Enduring love demonstrated in committed relationships and God’s covenant with His people.
Philautia (Self-Love)Recognizing one’s worth in God’s eyes and loving oneself in a healthy, godly manner.

The impact of love is far-reaching. It not only influences our relationships with others but also affects our overall sense of well-being and purpose.

By embracing biblical teachings on love and striving to live out these different types of love, we create a ripple effect that can transform our lives, communities, and the world.

Applying the Lessons of Love

Understanding the various types of love depicted in the Bible is just the beginning. To truly embody these lessons of love, it is essential to actively apply them in our daily lives.

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By intentionally practicing agape, phileo, storge, eros, xenia, pragma, and philautia, we can experience transformative growth, stronger relationships, greater compassion, and a more fulfilling life.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

Living Out Agape – Unconditional Love

Agape, the highest form of love, calls us to love unconditionally, just as God loves us. Let go of judgment, resentment, and selfishness, and instead extend grace, forgiveness, and compassion towards others.

Cultivating Phileo – Brotherly Love

Phileo reminds us to nurture deep friendships and strong bonds with others. Show warmth, affection, and loyalty, and be there for those you hold dear, just as Jesus displayed love for his disciples.

Embracing Storge – Family Love

Storge teaches us to cherish and prioritize our family relationships. Express deep affection, care, and loyalty towards your parents, children, and siblings, embracing the natural love found in these bonds.

Experiencing Eros – Romantic Love

Eros celebrates the passion and romance found in intimate relationships. Delight in the beauty of love between spouses, expressing desire, and fostering deep emotional connection.

Practicing Xenia – Hospitality

Extend hospitality and kindness to strangers and guests, embodying xenia. Show compassion, generosity, and warmth to those outside your immediate circle, just as Abraham welcomed and served his visitors in Genesis 18.

Nurturing Pragma – Enduring Love

Pragma emphasizes long-standing love and commitment. Cultivate enduring relationships by prioritizing open communication, understanding, and mutual respect, following the example of Isaac and Rebecca.

Fostering Philautia – Self-Love

Philautia teaches us to love ourselves in a healthy and godly manner. Recognize your worth in God’s eyes, practice self-care, and cultivate a positive self-image, enabling you to love others effectively.

Incorporating these types of love into our lives transforms our relationships, attitudes, and overall well-being. By applying the lessons of biblical love, we can forge deeper connections, spread kindness and compassion, and experience a life enriched by love in all its forms.

Applying the Lessons of Love

Love’s Role in Faith

Love and faith are inseparable companions on our spiritual journey. Love serves as a powerful expression of our faith and an embodiment of God’s commandments. In the Bible, love is not merely a feeling but a call to action, a way of life that reflects our devotion to God and our commitment to His teachings.

When we love, we demonstrate our faith by following the commandments laid out before us. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). This commandment is a testament to the inseparable connection between love and faith. By loving one another as Christ loved us, we show our reverence for God and our dedication to His teachings.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

These words from Jesus encapsulate the essence of love as a commandment. Loving God with all our being and loving our neighbors as ourselves are irrevocably intertwined with our faith. It is through love that we can cultivate a deep, meaningful relationship with God and extend that love to others.

Love, therefore, is not merely a feeling or an emotion but a conscious choice to act in accordance with our faith. It is a decision to show kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance to all those we encounter. Love is a testimony of our faith, a reflection of God’s love for us, and a bridge that connects us to our spiritual journey.

Love as an Expression of Faith

Love is not confined to a single type or expression but encompasses a range of forms, each with its own significance and purpose. By embodying these various types of love in our lives, we can authentically demonstrate our faith and spread God’s love in the world.

From the selfless and unconditional agape love, which mirrors God’s unwavering love for us, to the familial storge love that strengthens bonds within families, each type of love serves as a testament to our faith in action.

Love as an expression of faith invites us to put our beliefs into practice, to let love guide our actions and decisions. It challenges us to view others with empathy, to extend a helping hand to those in need, and to speak words of encouragement and affirmation.

Living Out the Commandment of Love

The commandment to love is not a passive suggestion but an active call to live out love in every aspect of our lives. It requires us to be intentional in our expressions of love and to prioritize the well-being of others.

By embracing the different types of love and incorporating them into our relationships and interactions, we become living testimonies of God’s love and grace. We create a ripple effect that touches the lives of others and brings glory to God.

Love’s role in faith is not static but ever-evolving, as we continually strive to love more deeply and authentically. When we open our hearts to love, we open the door to a transformative faith journey that impacts not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us.

Love and Faith Image
Type of LoveDescriptionScriptural Examples
Agape – Unconditional LoveThe highest form of selfless, sacrificial loveJohn 3:16, 1 John 4:8
Phileo – Brotherly LoveWarm, affectionate love found in deep friendshipsJohn 15:13-15
Storge – Family LoveNatural, familial love among parents, children, and siblingsRuth 1:16-17
Eros – Romantic LovePassionate and intimate love between partnersSong of Solomon 4:10
Xenia – HospitalityLove displayed through kindness and generosity to strangers or guestsGenesis 18
Pragma – Enduring LoveEnduring love found in committed relationshipsIsaac and Rebecca
Philautia – Self-LoveLoving oneself in a healthy, godly mannerMatthew 22:37-39

Are the Acts of Selfless Love in Scripture Represented by the Types of Love Displayed in the Bible?

The acts of selfless love in scripture are represented by different types of love displayed in the Bible. From agape, the unconditional love of God, to philia, the love between friends, the Bible showcases various forms of selfless acts in scripture that serve as a model for believers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Bible presents us with seven unique types of love: agape, phileo, storge, eros, xenia, pragma, and philautia. Each type of love has its significance and influences our relationships and actions.

Agape, representing unconditional love, teaches us to love others selflessly and sacrificially. Phileo, or brotherly love, emphasizes the warmth and loyalty found in deep friendships.

Storge, characterized by familial love, highlights the deep affection shared among family members. Eros, the romantic love often associated with being in love, celebrates desire and intimacy in marital relationships.

Xenia, exemplifying hospitality, teaches us to be kind and generous to those outside our immediate circles. Pragma, enduring love, reflects the commitment found in long-standing relationships. Philautia, self-love, reminds us to recognize our worth in God’s eyes and love ourselves in a healthy manner.

Understanding and applying these types of love can bring greater fulfillment, love, and unity to our lives. They guide us in our relationships with others and help us cultivate a deeper connection with God. By embodying these different types of love, we can experience stronger relationships, greater compassion, and a more fulfilling life.

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Allan Wilson is the creator of the Scriptural Thinking Affirmations Package. Featuring over 200 minutes of mp3 audio Bible affirmations complete with background music. The package comes with the original affirmations PDF ebook and many bonus affirmation Bible studies as well. The affirmations are designed to help you call to remembrance all of the wonderful benefits of being in Christ and the marvelous privilege of being a child of God.