“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NIV).
The word “love” gets thrown around a lot these days. We love all kinds of things: from types of food to our favorite sports teams, from movies and shows on T.V. to clothes and hobbies. Yes, we have a love affair with just about everything and we’re not afraid to say it.
The Bible speaks of three types of love. Eros is the word used to describe romantic love and physical attraction. This kind of love can be quite beautiful in the right context and can get us into trouble when left unchecked. The second type of love, philos can best be described as a friendship between two people. Eros and philos can both be positive expressions of love, but each is ultimately determined by what can be gained by the person expressing it. Agape is the third type of love mentioned in the Bible, and it is often used to describe God’s love for us. This is unconditional love, love that knows no bounds, love that is not self-seeking, but that seeks only to fulfill the needs of another.
Agape is the kind of love spoken of in passages like John 3:16, “ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ ” (NIV), and in John 15:13 as listed above. Jesus is the greatest expression of agape love as he literally laid down his life on a cross for humankind. Agape love is the love that we too, as Christians, are to immitate, and it’s gifted to us by the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit fruit of love.