Love for One Another

Love for One Another

Jesus Christ brought many new concepts that could solve the world’s problems today. The most important thing is His emphasis on having love for one another. In today’s sex-saturated society, people have lost the true meaning of love. If you only understand “love” as “sex,” you miss the most essential meaning. The New Testament was written in Greek, which is far more helpful than our English translations in understanding what God wants us to know about love.

The Greek language has various words we translate as “love” in English. The Greek word for sexual love (“eros”) is not used in the New Testament. “Phileo,” referring to the love of a friend, is used 22 times. “Storge” refers to family love between spouses and siblings, parents and children. “Agape” is the most common New Testament word for love, used 196 times.

In classical Greek writings, “agape” was rarely used, yet it is the dominant word for love used by Jesus and the New Testament writers. The Bible dictionary says, “Agape is the highest and noblest form of love which sees something infinitely precious in its object.” That’s what it means to have love for one another.

The unique Christian concept of love offers the solution to most of the world’s problems. When Jesus tells His listeners to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44), He urges them to consider all humans infinitely precious. If everyone would do that, all war would cease. In writing about marriage in Ephesians 5:28-33, Paul uses the word “agape,” not “eros,” when he refers to a man’s love for his wife. In verse 33, he repeats this admonition to men and combines it with the message to wives to respect their husbands.

The key to ending divorce, infidelity, racism, broken homes, abandoned children, and gender confusion is for everyone to “agape” all other humans. Jesus has given us the solutions to life’s biggest problems, and the wisdom of His teaching speaks of His divine nature. The best way to oppose selfishness, greed, abuse, prejudice, and conflict is to follow what Jesus told His followers: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love (agape) one another … by this shall all men know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: The Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, Eerdman Publishing, Grand Rapids.