The four Greek words for love; John 15:9-13

Class Outline:

Title: The four Greek words for love; John 15:9-13.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.


It is our light, not our darkness that most challenges us. We are all meant to shine as God’s royalty.


It's not just in some believers; it's in every believer. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people the hope to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically calls others to freedom.


John 15:9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.


John 15:10"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.


John 15:11"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.


John 15:12"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.


John 15:13"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

In the introduction of mystery doctrine to the Church by our Lord we are again introduced to the NT concept of love and in the form of a command.


This love was not possible prior to the Church since the power source necessary for its function was not yet available to believers. This power source is the filling of the Spirit and the mystery doctrine of the CA.


The fact that this love is new is also concluded by the word used. Agapan or agape are found very infrequently in classical Greek literature although it was an available word. Homer only used it ten times, Euripedes only three, and the noun form in not found at all. In verb, noun, and adjective forms agapan is found about 325 times in the NT.


When we look to history some explanation is helpful. The Greeks knew nothing of the love of self-sacrifice that was exhibited on Cavalry. To the Greeks this ultimate display of God’s love would seem weak and a waste of a man’s life.


It is no accident that the Lord repeats His introductory teaching on this love. It is vital to the success of the CA believer. Without it we will never break the barrier of Spiritual maturity.


John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.(Repeated verbatim in John 15:12).


John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.(John 15:10)


John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."


John 14:23 "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.


John 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.


John 14:28  If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.


There are four words for love in the Greek language.


Love is a transitive verb, meaning it has a subject and an object.


1. ster,gein[stergein] = a natural love as in parents to children or any social unit where there are close relations one for another.


This is the love that binds families or any natural or social unit even though at times there may exist temporary divisions. This word would apply to an animal loving its offspring.


This word is found 3 times in the NT. Twice it is found with the negative alpha as a prefix referring to a lack of this love in the degenerate human.


ROM 1:31

[they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer…] without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;


2 Tim 3:3

[in the last days difficult times will come… men will be…] unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,


These verses speak of the natural fabric of love that holds families together disintegrating at times in history when the client nation self-destructs or the time directly preceding the Rapture of the Church.


2. evran[eran] = passion, an overmastering passion seizing upon and absorbing into itself the whole mind. This word is not found in the NT.


3. filein[philein] = a friendly love, a love that is called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object. Pleasure to the subject based on the attraction of the object.


This love doesn’t always imply romance and in the NT it is infrequently used in reference to the romance of right man right woman.


Titus 2:4

 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,


 “love their husbands” - fi,landroj[philandros] = total soul love for your hero. “love their children” - filo,teknoj[philoteknos] = total soul love for your children in training.


We will examine the love of right man and right woman more closely before we complete this section of John 15.


It is used 45 times in its various forms in the NT where it is a love of liking, an affection for someone or something that is the outgoing of one’s heart in delight to that which affords pleasure.


It was used of the love of the Lord for Lazarus and also of the love that we are commanded to have of Jesus Christ, however, not in John 15.


Before we can truly understand agapan we must look a bit deeper into philein.


1 Cor 16:22  If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha.


 “does not love” - ouv filei[philei - present active indicative] - Jesus Christ is not attractive referring to a malignant hatred of Him.


Matt 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.


 “loves” - filwn[philon - present active participle] = not to imply no love for family, but rather a greater attraction for the Lord. If the love of affinity is greater for another than the Lord the believer is out of balance.


Matt 23:6 "And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues


 “love” - filousin[philousin - present active indicative] = attraction and strong affinity for the approbation of others.


John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.


John 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.


John 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.


John 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.


 “loves his life” - filon th.n yuch.n[philon ten psuchen] = The pure love of living your life your own way. To have great pleasure from setting your own priorities and scale of values.


It is a proverbial saying of universal application, adduced here in support of the solemn declaration of the preceding verse that fruit-bearing comes through sacrifice.


If the Lord set His own priorities He would have by-passed the cross, but our Lord submitted to the will of the Father and by this He loved [agape] the Father.