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Agape

By Pete Macinta

For those of us who speak English, some words really take a beating over the centuries. The word, "love," is one of them, having a wide range of use from describing something one enjoys (like food or a pastime) to sexual relations with no intent of commitment.

One reason why problems arise in marriage is because too many do not have an understanding of the Biblical meaning of love. Before Christ was born, the Greeks mainly had "eros" and "phileo" for "love." Eros focused upon the desires of the flesh. Phileo was based upon human emotion, and used to describe friendships, marriage, and other relationships. When Christ came, the love that He displayed could not be accurately described by any existing Greek word, so the human authors of the New Testament introduced a new word: Agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay).

Unlike the flesh focused eros and the emotion based phileo, agape described a purposeful act of the will to love, even though the object of that love was undeserving and even antagonistic of the one giving agape.

It helps us to better understand why Christ stayed on the cross instead of coming down from it when taunted by His persecutors. It is used in the most famous verse, John 3:16, "For God so loved (agape) the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Imagine if every marriage had agape for its primary love and Christ for its foundation! (Please see https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/lv1.html) Imagine if all our relationships with friends, relatives, neighbors and everyone were based upon agape.

The best we can do, though, is to make sure the King of love, agape, dwells within us. We can do so by making a full, personal commitment to Him, asking Christ to forgive us of our sins, crucify our sin nature, and dwell within us.

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