At CrossCulture, the church I minister at, we are currently studying the gospel of John. In John 21:15-20, we read Jesus reinstating Peter into ministry after previously denying Jesus three times. Jesus asked Peter three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” before asking Peter to look after His sheep. Upon investigating the original language, one notices that Jesus uses different Greek words for love in His three questions to Peter. In the first and second question, John recorded Jesus using ‘Agapao‘ (the verb for Agape) while in the third question, he used ‘Phileo’ (the verb for Philia).
I am not sure about you, but earlier in my journey as a Christian, I stumbled across the idea that there are four different kinds of love in the Bible. This idea was made famous (or perhaps was introduced) by C. S. Lewis in his book titled “The Four Loves.” Lewis points out the four different Greek words used in the Bible to describe love: (1) Storge – affection or brotherly love, especially between family members, (2) Philia – love between friends, (3) Eros – love between two lovers, and (4) Agape – charity or unconditional love. I became familiar with the idea that God’s love is Agape love because it is the highest kind of love – love that demands no return. Christians are to pursue that kind of love towards one another.