There are three levels at which we exercise love:
- Loving with good will—called ‘Agape’ in Greek.
- Loving with the emotions—called ‘Phileo’ in Greek.
- Loving intimately to cause reproduction—called ‘Eros’ in Greek.
Now God ‘agapes’ everybody:
John 3:16 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 KJV+ ForG1063 GodG2316 soG3779 lovedG25 theG3588 world,G2889 thatG5620 he gaveG1325 hisG848 only begottenG3439 Son,G5207 thatG2443 whosoeverG3956 believethG4100 inG1519 himG846 should notG3361 perish,G622 butG235 haveG2192 everlastingG166 life.G2222
G25: agapa: ag-ap-ah’-o
As seen from the above the Greek word for loved is ‘agapao’ from ‘agape’: God ‘agapes’ the world, but He is not pleased with many of them and so does not ‘phileo’ them. He ‘agapes’ and ‘phileos’ those who are more committed to Him and so can take His rebuke and correction:
Revelation 3:19 (ESV): Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Revelation 3:19 KJV+ As many asG3745 (G1437) IG1473 love,G5368 I rebukeG1651 andG2532 chasten:G3811 be zealousG2206 therefore,G3767 andG2532 repent.G3340
G5368: phileo- fil-eh’-o
As can be seen from above, the Greek word for love here is ‘phileo’ and not ‘agape’.
Proverbs 9:7-8 (ESV): Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. (8) Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
You are to ‘agape’ scoffers (hater’s of authority) but not ‘phileo’ them and so try to correct or reprove them as doing so will cause them to hate or injure you.
Pray for them but do not try to correct or reprove them:
Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV): But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (45) so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV): ButG1161 IG1473 sayG3004 unto you,G5213 LoveG25 yourG5216 enemies,G2190 blessG2127 them that curseG2672 you,G5209 doG4160 goodG2573 to them that hateG3404 you,G5209 andG2532 prayG4336 forG5228 them which despitefully useG1908 you,G5209 andG2532 persecuteG1377 you;G5209 (45) ThatG3704 ye may beG1096 the childrenG5207 of yourG5216 FatherG3962 whichG3588 is inG1722 heaven:G3772 forG3754 he maketh hisG848 sunG2246 to riseG393 onG1909 the evilG4190 andG2532 on the good,G18 andG2532 sendeth rainG1026 onG1909 the justG1342 andG2532 on the unjust.G94
Again here the Greek word for loving your enemies is ‘agape’ not ‘phileo’.
Now God ‘agapes’, ‘phileos’ and ‘eros” in a spiritual sense (is intimate) with those who have been tested and found faithful to be committed unto Him even unto death and so He can reproduce His character in them causing them to be conformed to the image of Jesus:
Philippians 3:10-14 (ESV): (10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (12) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (13) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Genesis 4:1 (ESV): Now Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”
Matthew 25:10-12 (ESV): And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. (11) Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ (12) But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Now, this truth is typified in the Tabernacle of Moses: God ‘agapes’ everybody in the outer court, He ‘agapes’ and ‘phileos’ those in the Holy Place
and He ‘agapes’, ‘phileos’ and is intimate with those in the Most Holy place. See our chart on the Tabernacle.
In our article next week we shall how to love men as God does using this understanding.