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Defining "Love" in the Bible

In the KJV of the Bible, there are three words in the Greek that is translated as “love” and only one Hebrew word.

The main difference between the Greek "agapao" and "phileo" lies in the nature and depth of the love they represent:

In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, different Hebrew and Greek words are translated as "love" based on the context and nuance of the original language. Here are some of the key words translated as "love" in the KJV, along with their meanings:


"Ahava" (אַהֲבָה): This Hebrew word conveys a broad sense of love, including affection, desire, and goodwill. It is often used to describe human love, as well as God's love for His people.


"Eros" (ἔρως):

While not directly used in the KJV, the Greek word "eros" represents romantic or passionate love. It is associated with desire, physical attraction, and emotional intimacy between partners.

These words offer different nuances and shades of meaning that are important for understanding the various forms and expressions of love as presented in the biblical text. Each word contributes to the richness and depth of the concept of love as portrayed in the Bible.

Agapao (Agape, ἀγάπη)

Agape love, represented by the Greek word "agapao," is often described as the highest form of love in Christian theology. It signifies a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love that is characterized by giving without expecting anything in return, seeking the best for others, and showing compassion and forgiveness regardless of circumstances. Agape love is considered divine in nature and is frequently used to depict God's love for humanity, as well as the ideal love that believers are called to show towards others.

Phileo (Phileo φιλέω):

Phileo love, represented by the Greek word "phileo," refers to a type of love that is based on friendship, affection, and emotional connection. It is characterized by warmth, intimacy, and a sense of camaraderie between individuals. Phileo love is relational and denotes a bond of friendship or companionship. This type of love is more personal and relational than agape love, as it often involves feelings of closeness and mutual affection that develop in friendships, family relationships, and other personal connections. While phileo love is important for building relationships and fostering emotional bonds, it is considered to be a different type of love than agape love, which is more universal and unconditional in nature.

In summary, agape (agapao) love is characterized by selflessness, unconditional giving, and divine nature, while phileo love is rooted in friendship, affection, and emotional connections between individuals. Both forms of love have their significance in human relationships and are valued for their unique attributes and expressions.


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