"I wanna know what love is" - a poignant phrase in a popular song
What is Love?
We all know that the word "love" in the English language has multifarious
meanings, a fact which engenders many confusing issues and situations. To better
understand this most important subject it is helpful to go to the Greek
language, because they had at least four different root words that addressed
different aspects of what our usage of the word means.
Starting at the top, let us examine the word
ἀγαπƞ or "agape". Thayer's
Greek-English Lexicon claims that this word is "a purely Biblical and
ecclesiastical word". This may be significant not because this is
strictly true, but because the societal usage of the word may have been rare. What are the implications of this?
Related words are:
which means to benefit, to do good, to serve a need or desire
which means "a course of right action or well-doing.
which means "acting rightly, doing well".
which means "admirable".
Phileo (to cherish orlove dearly as a friend, to manifest kindness, to
value or enjoy)
Éros, érōs (Romantic, sexual, erotic love)
means "love, affection" and "especially of parents and children".
means "self love"
Xenia (Greek: ξενία, xenía,
meaning "guest-friendship" or "fellowship)
Agape love is NOT some kind of ethereal, surreal or mystical "love" that has
to be imagined, or visualized. It is not fondness, goodwill, kindness, nor
cherishing, but it can include all of those and more. It is the manifest
delivery of what is wanted or needed. It significantly and positively
impacts the sustenance and enhancement of the other person's life.
It is often said that "agape love" is God's love, but God is NOT actively
loving individuals here on earth! Yeshua WAS doing this while on earth, but
he is not DOING it now to anybody that I know. Agape (manifest active, beneficial, tangible or impactful,
appropriate love). Can we find it in ourselves to deliver it? See:
Respect and Value
The bottom line is that our wrong paradigm of the Creator and his character
are preventing active manifest love, which now would be tantamount to "enabling" the
continuation of Spiritual sickness, Sin and evil.
As per usual, our definitions and terminology are confused and misguided
especially over this issue. What this all means is that it is actually
inappropriate to say "I love you" because it is a presumptuous statement. It
IS appropriate to say "I cherish you" or "I want to love you". It is up to
the other person to say, "You love me well".