What does the Bible say about Love?
In the Bible, the original language used for the New Testament is Greek. There are FOUR words in Greek for love but only one in English. Why did Jesus use, after his resurrection, only two of them to Peter? What can we learn from their conversation?
The definition of the four Greek words used to describe the various types of love are the following. Eros is sexual or romantic in nature and is not in the Bible. Phileo is a brotherly affection toward someone we really like. Agape, which is the deepest love, means doing good things for another person. Storgay refers to loving one's relatives. It is a relatively unknown term that is used only twice in scripture and only as a compound.
Even though the two Greek words PHILEO and AGAPE are in scripture, they can sometimes cause confusion. For example, one passage that is not clear in the Bible is the one that highlights the difference between AGAPE and PHILEO.
Peter had denied Jesus three times while Jesus was on trial (Matthew 26:44; Matthew 26:69-75). Jesus seems to be reminding Peter of his three denials with his three-time questioning of him in John 21. Unfortunately, English translations of Scripture hide an important part of the three questions.
In the 15th verse of John 21 Jesus asks Peter is he loves (Greek: agape) him more than others. Peter's response is 'You know that I love (Greek: phileo) You.' Notice that Jesus is using "agape" while Peter is answering with "phileo." Jesus asks virtually the same question again, using the same Greek word he initially used, and Peter's responds AGAIN with the same one he used (verse 16)!
Jesus then quizzes his friend a third and final time regarding their relationship (verse 17). This time, however, Christ uses the phileo for love, dropping the requirement for Peter to respond only to brotherly affection. Pete notices the change and is grieved at how many times his relationship to Jesus is questioned.
What is the definition of the Greek "agape" in the Bible? In Mark 12 we find Jesus stating the following.