In the New Testament, Christians are often told to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Greek language uses different words to describe love: storge, philia, eros, and agape, to name a few. What do each of these types of love entail? How can you share them with people in your life?
Read about the different types of love below, then download some floral or woodland-themed Valentine’s Day cards with Scripture, created by Oar + Arrow— a creative team led by wife, Sherry Luhman, and husband, LCMS Pastor Ethan Luhman. Use these cards to share God’s love with parents, children, grandparents, friends and other loved ones.
Storge love is the type of love that you share through the familiarity with those around you or those that have a natural bond with you. This is not like a friendship; most commonly it is referred to as the familial bond, the love that is shared within families or between a parent and a child. Mention of storge love in the Bible can be found in Romans 12:10: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Philia—Friendship/ Platonic Love
Philia is the type of love shared through friendships. This type of love is, surprisingly, the least natural, as it is not created to give humanity anything other than nonromantic partnership. Typically, this love starts with interactions between two strangers trying to find common ground. In some cases, philia love can be the building block to eros love, but not always. To see the true definition of philia love, the classical and medieval works are perhaps the best, as philia friendship is often overshadowed by the next kind of love, eros, in contemporary works. In the Bible, philia love can be seen as a common characteristic of those who follow Jesus, most notably of His disciples as well as St. Paul and St. Timothy.
This type of love is the one closest to the common English definition of love: romantic and passionate. Eros is the act of being in love with and loving another person. Think of this as the love that is shared between a husband and wife. It is a deep, encompassing love that two people share. This love leads us toward goodness and happiness.
Agape love, or unconditional love, is mentioned in Psalm 136:26: “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.” It is visible in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Agape is freely given, no strings attached. The only way that this form of love is clearly seen is by God loving humanity. Because of our sinful nature, humans will never fully be able to love God or one another unconditionally. Thankfully, God gives His unconditional love to each and every person on earth.
Download and print Valentine’s Day cards to share God’s love with family and friends.