TO LOVE AND BE LOVED
by Oden Hetrick ©1970
There is a mysterious invisible power that thrills the emotions, sways the intellect, and controls the actions of those who obey the call of love. The Bible tells us that God is this mysterious invisible power --
"God is love, and he that dwells in love, dwells in God and God in him." (I John 4:16)
To be in love is to experience mentally and emotionally the moving of the Spirit of God.
"The love of Jehovah is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us" (Rom 5:5)
Speaking of love -- a vast new world of meaning and understanding is opened up by two Greek words for love, pronounced, "agapa-o" and "phileh-o".
Agapao means -- love as an action of the mind or reasoning power; mental esteem; social or moral love.
Phileo means -- love as an action of the emotions, the feelings, the heart; warm instinctive personal attachment.
As you can see, the Greek language has very inclusive definitions for words translated love. And when we apply these definitions to love as it is used in the Bible, we discover some very interesting things.
First, let us consider the love God has for us. In John 14:21 Jesus said,
"...he that loves me shall be loved of my Father."
The underlined word means, "mental love." Again in John 16:27 Jesus said,
".....the Father Himself loves you."
Here the original Greek word translated 'loves' is phileo, that means, "love of the heart" So according to the Greek language of the Bible, God loves us with His mind and with His heart; by social and personal attachment, using His reason and His emotions.
"What manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us." (I John 3:1)
When God loves us enough to allow His only Son to die for our redemption, that's true love you can depend on -- forever. The Greek also reveals Jesus' love to us. In the following verse, mental love is expressed.
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him..." (Mark 10:21).
In these two verses, emotional love is expressed.
"...the other disciple whom Jesus loved ..." (John 20:2).
"….Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." (John 11:3)
It is heart warming to know that God loves us with such all-inclusive affection, but are we to return this love of the reason and of the feelings to the Divine Creator? In Ephesians 6:24 we are told to love Jesus mentally.
"Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
In I Cor 16:22 we find that anyone who does not love Jesus with his heart will be accursed when Jesus returns to earth.
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (a person accursed) Maranatha" (our Lord cometh).
Concerning our love to God, we have the plain words of Jesus in Matthew 22:37
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
What more can be said, when Greek word meanings and plain English tell us that divine love requires mind and heart, mental esteem and emotional feelings. The Greek word used in this verse, is agapa, that means: the benevolent affection of a love feast.
"For the love of Christ constraineth us." (II Cor 5:14)
But Jesus does not stop with love to God; He goes on to say,
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Mat 22:39-40)
If there is any doubt that we should love our neighbor with both our mind and our heart, I Peter 1:22 says,
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love (sincere affection) of the brethren, see that ye love (mentally) one another with a pure heart fervently."
A very interesting word in what Jesus said, is "neighbor", because the word "neighbor" as most often used in the Law and Prophets means: close associate; brother; friend; companion; lover.
Now look at Romans 13:10 that says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law."
Are we to fulfill the law by love in this life only? Well, it appears that since "the Word of Jehovah endures forever", (I Pet 1:25) there will always be a command for saints to express total love of mind and heart to Jehovah, our family, our friends, a companion, and close associates.
"… I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says Yehovah." (II Corinthians 6:17-18) "…God is love" (I John 4:8)