By now, you have seen Valentine cards and presents in every supermarket and pharmacy you frequent. It seems as if everyone, from young children to older adults, finds a way to express their love and affection for friends, family, and soul mates. Let’s explore it further.
Most people know that we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on February 14, but who was he? Wikipedia tells us that “Saint Valentine was a clergyman (either a priest or a bishop) during the Roman Empire who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was martyred and his body was buried – on February 14.” He lived in the 3rd Century and his Saints’ day is associated with courtly love. (My husband proposed on Valentine’s Day.)
The Bible uses the Greek word “eros” for the love that is associated with modern St. Valentine’s Day. However, there are other types of love in the Bible as well.
“Storge” is familial love. It develops between a mother and child at birth, and extends to all family members.
“Philia” is love between close friends, as brotherly love between fellow Christians. Jesus used the word philia when speaking to his followers: “By this everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV).
“Agape” is the purest form of love. The Bible speaks to this love when describing God.
1 John 4:16 (ESV) says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
The disciples were blessed with philia (brotherly) love. But it was not until the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost that they experienced agape love.
This has also been true for me. I have experienced love of family, friends, and my husband. I have been told since I was an infant that Jesus loves me. But I didn’t truly know what that meant until I let the Holy Spirit into my heart and He showed me what pure love is. By filling me with agape love, I am able to abide in the love of Christ. And this has made a profound difference in the way I am able to love others.
I appreciate this information on the different types of love in this world. Often we are only focused on romantic love around Valentine’s day but God has so much more for us.