Last modified on May 17, 2024, at 11:58


Agape (ag-uh-pay) is one of four Greek words translated into English as "love" in the New Testament. The other three are "storge" (stor-gay) and "philos" (fy-loss) and "eros" (eh-ross).
Agape is usually understood as a spiritual or compassionate form of love in contrast to the thought of storge which is the deeply affectionate love of family and more broadly the patriotic love of country and can include Agape, and philos which is a brotherly sort of love of close friendship, and eros which is enjoyment of sensory pleasures, erotic or sexual love.

Greek name
Greek ἀγάπη
Romanization agapé
Strong number G26
In descending order of excellence the four loves are:

Agapeo (ag-uh-pay-oh): Unconditional love; the love of God in the renewed mind coming forth in outward manifestation of selfless benevolence
Storge: Love of family; Parent/child, siblings, cousins, etc.; patriotic love of one's country and people. In a very close family, agape is felt as well
Phileo: Love between friends, and in its highest nobility of loyalty it can express itself in agape
Eros: The sense of being in love; romantic love; also the love of pleasant things that provide sensual enjoyment[1]

In the Koine Greek texts of the New Testament, the word agape is used in many places to refer to the love of God, the love of Christ and the living love of the Holy Spirit that unites all men in brotherhood. Most references to it are in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13,[2] where it is referred to as a form of compassion which is unconditional and voluntary; that is, it does not discriminate, is not conditioned by any outside forces, and is something that one decides to do, without thought of personal reward. It is mentioned by John again in 1 John 4:8,[3] where it is stated that 'God is love' (ἀγαπη).

Agape, however, is not exclusively divine love. Jesus described the two most important commandments as 'love (ἀγαπη) the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' and 'love (ἀγαπη) your neighbor as yourself', in Matthew 22:37-41[4]

Agape is what one could call Christian or brotherly love, and by its very nature it is selfless and giving. One must consider that the selfless agape love is the love that people of the Christian faith are to have for one another, as Christ would have had for them.

Christian love, fellowship and joy

See also: Atheism and loneliness vs. Christian love, fellowship and joy

Jesus Christ and his apostles taught a gospel of love.[5] For example, the New Testament teaches that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

In his article The Triumph of the Gospel of Love, Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulo) wrote:

It is generally agreed by scholars and saints that the teaching of "love" and charity represent one of the essential dimensions of the Gospel of Jesus and the Gospel of Paul. Accordingly, from the extant words and parables of Jesus many concern themselves with the message of love. For example on the Sunday of Meat Fare, from the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus identifying Himself and in solidarity with the destitute, the suffering, the rejected and the oppressed, calling for and rewarding altruistic philanthropy:

"... I was hungry and you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, when I was a stranger you took me in, when naked you clothed me, when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me ... I tell you this anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did it for me." (Matt 25:35-36, 40)...

Christians undertook a great deal of almsgiving to the poor not only to fellow believers but to pagans as well. So amazed was the anti-Christian pagan emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD), with the sheer benevolence and excellence of Christian philanthropy that he was forced to admit in wonder their superiority over paganism in matters of charity:

"These godless Galileans (ie. Christians) feed not only their own poor but ours: our poor lack our care" (Ep. Sozom. 5:16).[6]
Watoto Children's Choir from Kampala, Uganda

Got Questions Ministry writes about Christian fellowship:

Koinonia is a Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. Koinonia’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The first occurrence of koinonia is Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of koinonia.

Philippians 2:1-2 declares, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Koinonia is being in agreement with one another, being united in purpose, and serving alongside each other. Our koinonia with each other is based on our common koinonia with Jesus Christ. First John 1:6-7 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”[7]

In December 2003, the University of Warwick reported:

Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[8]

The ex-atheist C.S. Lewis became a Christian and wrote a book entitled Surprised by Joy.[9]

Christian worldview concerning resolving conflict among Christians

See: Christian worldview concerning resolving conflict among Christians

Sermons on agape love


See also

External links


  1. The naturalist's love of nature and the esthetic beauty of the material creation for its own sake is a form of eros for what God has made. In some cases Wildlife Preservationists and Conservationists have shown themselves capable of agape for living things and the natural environment apart from any love for man or God. The Greeks believed that Eros was the innocently mischievous offspring of Aphrodite the goddess of beauty and venereal love who pierced mortals with love or hate. The Roman equivalent of Eros was Cupid, the root of cupidity, the love of the good life, and in particular love of things one would like to have and enjoy for their own sake and sometimes to display proudly. Modern culture has debased the classic idea of erotic love and appreciation of pleasant things into the narrow sensual depravity of erotic bodily lust alone and the debased addictive cravings generated by porneia (pornographic pleasure) and "recreational" drugs; not only lust but other things—overeating, gambling, violence, speed, personal indulgence in any one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Willingness to sacrifice and die for such things is not agape-love.
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
  3. 1 John 4:8
  4. Matthew 22:37-41
  5. The Triumph of the Gospel of Love by Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulo)
  6. The Triumph of the Gospel of Love by Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulo)
  7. What is koinonia?
  8. University of Warwick (December 2003). "Psychology researcher [Dr. Stephen Joseph] says spiritual meaning of Christmas brings more happiness than materialism". Scienceblog. Retrieved on July 24, 2014.
  9. Suprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis Documentary