There are four main words for love in the Greek language that directly impact how we understand the Bible. One of them, eros, is never used in the Bible.
Eros is a sensual word that refers to the physical, sexual side of love. We might call it romance or infatuation. We get our English word “erotic” from eros. This part of life is God-given and it can be a beautiful thing but eros is the kind of love that can most easily go wrong. Eros, at its best, builds up one another and unites us to God. It creates bonds and cements relationships in a way that makes them last for the rest of our lives.
Eros, at its worst, becomes a goal of its own. When that happens it can turn into a selfish drive that seeks its own satisfaction. Uncontrolled eros demeans and destroys instead of building up. It can ruin lives and destroy homes.
Jesus talked about you and me like this: the most important thing in life is how we experience love. Unfortunately, our world has a messed up view of how that is done. In the Bible, love is never meant to be about “me”. It is always about the other person. Love that is self-centered is focused on what I can get instead of what I can give. The Bible sees love differently:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Tomorrow: a look at the three types of love that God wants you and I to pursue.