Pearl & Prodigal

a Christian podcast

Episode 10 — Four Loves

Sep 30, 2023— 22 Minutes

Perhaps you’ve heard a sermon on the different words used for “love” in the discussion Jesus has with Simon Peter in John chapter 21. Perhaps you’ve learned to think about “agape” love as a love of decision, or a love of the will. These are a couple of related items I want to dive into this week in thinking about the straightforward thoughts given in the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13.

Verses and Notes for Reference

Words used interchangeably or unexpectedly (when based on certain assumptions):

  • The Father loves the Son (John 3:35; 5:20).
  • Jesus loved Lazarus (John 11:5, 11:36).
  • While one Hebrew verb for ‘love’ is used in Proverbs 8:17, the Septuagint uses both (agapaō, phileō).
  • Amnon uses the agape form for his ‘love’ for Tamar (2 Sam. 13:4)
  • Paul uses the agape form for love when he says Demas ‘loved’ the present world (2 Tim. 4:10).

The UBS Translator’s Handbooks note on the passage in John 21:

“At one time it was fashionable to see a distinction in meaning between the two words, but most scholars now agree that the words are used synonymously.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NAS95)

Galatians 5:22:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22 NAS95)

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