Jesus then quizzes his friend a third and final time regarding their relationship (verse 17). This time, however, Christ uses the word phileo for love, dropping the requirement for Peter to respond only to brotherly affection. Pete notices the change of words and is grieved at how many times his relationship to Jesus is questioned.
What is this Greek word "agape" as the Bible defines it? In Mark 12 we find Jesus stating the following.
'And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:30)
Here the word Jesus used was "agape." What does James say about God's law?
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; " (James 2:8)
The first four commandments of God's law tell us how we are to treat Him. God also is our neighbor in the universe (Jeremiah 12:14). He is the neighbor that rules. Therefore, we see that loving God and our fellow man - as translated from the Greek word Agape – manifests itself by keeping God's commandments. It is not just FEELING good but it is DOING good: “. . . love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10).
A special relationship within the church
Besides keeping all God's commandments, the true church of God is to have a special family relationship. Here is where the Greek word STORGAY is within a compound word with PHILEO. The KJV states that Paul taught that those who believe in God should act and think a certain way.
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; " (Romans 12:10)
The Greek word translated as "kindly affectionate" is philostorgos (Strong's Concordance #G5387) and means a loving friendship-family relationship. One day when Jesus taught the crowds, his mother Mary and his brothers came to visit him. When he was told his mother and brothers came to see him Jesus said the following.
"But He answered them, saying, 'Who is My mother, or My brothers? . . . For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.' " (Mark 3:33, 35).
Believers, just like Jesus, are commanded in the Bible to consider and treat those who obey God and do His will as if they were close family members! This is the definition of love in the word of God.