What Is Love?

What is love

What is love? The word is  thrown around so much for things that really have nothing to do with it. We say it when we really mean something else. I know I have.

For example:

“I love that pizza” or “I love that ice cream”“That was delicious”
“I loved that movie”“That was a great movie”
“I love how I look in that dress”“I look great in that dress

None of those things have anything to do with real love. We may enjoy them, or like them.  But what I am talking about is something very different.

In the Bible there are four main types of love that are expressed.

4 Types

Eros– is romantic love and refers to physical or sexual love. The word eros was commonly used in the Greek speaking world of new testament times according to Vines Expository Dictionary This is the type of love found in the Song of Solomon, for example.

Storge (pronounced stor-jay) is the kind of love that you have between family members such as father and son, mother and daughter and the like. Some examples would include Noah and his children, Ruth and Naomi, etc.

Philia– is the kind of love that you find between friends or brotherly love. An example would be John 13:15 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

Agape– is the sacrificial, unconditional love of God. It is considered the highest form of love and is the main one that I am talking about here.


With Agape there are four key elements to remember.

Love is a choice

It is an exercise of the free will. It is not an emotion. God chose to die for our sins. He sacrificed himself so that we can be reconciled with Him.

In the same way that God chose to send His Son Jesus to die in our place for our sins, we can also make the same choice.

We can choose to respond with love and not hatred.

We can choose to daily show patience and kindness. 

We can choose to sacrifice our time, or our resources to help someone else.

Love is obedience

Jesus exemplified this in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was about to happen and could have stopped it at any time. He even prayed for God “to remove this cup from me if it be possible” but then he said “nevertheless, let your will be done.  He put aside his own will knowing that the Father’s will was best.

We don’t always understand the things that happen to us. However, God always has a plan and it is a plan “for good and not for evil. A plan to give us a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

And Romans 8:28“all things for the Good of those who love God and who are called according to his purpose”

Love Seeks the Welfare Of All

The opposite of love is self-seeking or self-pleasing. True Agape is unselfish and looks to others first. It looks for the opportunity to good and not to do evil.  It looks to sow seeds of peace and not anger or strife.

How many opportunities do we have every day that we may not even think about, where we can extend this kind of love to someone else?  I know that I miss opportunities every day. Especially when I get tired or at the end of a long day. Time’s when I am busy with something else and want to finish and don’t want to be disturbed.  It isn’t always convenient, but it is always the best choice.

Love Is An Action

It is verb and not a noun.  You may have the greatest of intentions and you may choose to extend it to another in your heart and your mind. But, until you put that choice into action it doesn’t mean anything.

Take a look at the scripture below.  According to 1 Corinthians, without love, nothing else matters.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NIV

God put action behind his choice to love us. Jesus chose to die on the cross, submitting his will to that of His Father and as a result, we all have the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven, in paradise with Him through no work of our own.

“Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ” 

“Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian”


Poem- What is Love?

I wrote the poem below especially for this post. I will never cease to be thankful for the unconditional and sacrificial love of God.

What is love?
The word is thrown around
All the time.
But, what does it really mean?
It's a generous act of kindness
A selfless sacrifice
A kind word spoken
To someone in need
It is patient and forgiving
It doesn't envy or boast.
Others are put first
There are no conditions
On true Agape love.
It's peace where there is strife
Gentleness when one is broken.
Quiet strength in the midst
Of opposition
It's standing strong,
Willing to sacrifice for a
Purpose greater that your own
It's Jesus leaving his home
In heaven
Coming to suffer and die
On the cross
For your sins and my own.
By Patricia Adderley


The next time you start to say “I love pizza” or anything else, perhaps you can ask yourself also “What is love, really?” Ask yourself what you really mean. I know I will. You may want to check out my previous post called “Unconditional Love”.

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