About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
In the first
century Greco/Roman world there were a few words that can be translated
into English as love. Two of
these words, "agape" and "philos," appear many times
throughout the New Testament. We
have come to associate "agape" with sacrificial, or God's love
as was demonstrated on the cross of Christ.
We associate "philos" with brotherly love, or love that
is reciprocated between two people. We,
thus, often mistakenly conclude that "agape" is a superior
expression of love than "philos."
If you study how
the New Testament uses agape and philos you will notice that both words
are used in reference to God. God
expresses both sacrificial love and reciprocal love.
These words are also often used interchangeably. Although they have
their differences in specific meaning, they have their similarities. This
tells me that both expressions of love are equally important and necessary
in maintaining healthy relationships, whether these relationships are with
Jesus or with each other. This
is important, and here is why.
Sacrificial love is
primary in building a good relationship because it sets aside self to love
and serve another, but relationships are not built on agape alone.
As important as agape is, it does not necessarily produce good
relationships. That is clearly
seen with Jesus' agape expression of love on the cross.
Not everyone appreciates His sacrificial love.
Just because you sacrifice yourself for another does not mean the
other person will reciprocate your sacrificial love or appreciate your
acts of love.
This is where
"philos" comes into play. Philos
is love that is reciprocated between two people.
It is a free flow of love from one person to another and back
again. It is this exchange of
love that produces healthy relationships.
When agape is reciprocated through philos, relationships become
relationship you desire is between you and Jesus, between you and your
spouse, or between you and someone to whom Jesus has placed you alongside,
both agape and philos are fundamental in creating and maintaining these