Today we’re taking a look into the word AGAPE. In the Hebrew language this directly translates to LOVE.This is a big word that has a lot of meanings to a lot of people. So, to better understand AGAPE,we must understand what the bible means by LOVE. Consider someone who walks out of the newest action-filled, spy movie and says “Man! I LOVE that scene with the upside-flying, helicopter that was shooting out flames!” Then one year later looks at his wife at the alter and says I LOVE you. Surely, he can’t mean his LOVE for that incredible feat of a scene and his LOVE for his wife have the same place in his heart. The same thing is happening in the bible. There are so many different types of LOVE conveyed in the bible.
Leviticus 19:18 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt LOVE thy neighbor as thyself: I AM the LORD.” KJV
Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” KJV
Song of Solomon 6: 2-3 “My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze[a] in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.” ESV
In these verses, we found LOVE for your brother/neighbor and LOVE for God or even LOVE for your significant other. These, too, have translation to either Greek or ancient Hebrew. Here are some words in the bible that translate into LOVE, but take on a completely different meaning:
PHILIA is LOVE for your neighbor.
EROS is LOVE that is sensual or romantic.
STORGE is LOVE for your family
But what is AGAPE kind of LOVE? 1 Corinthians 13 depicts AGAPE LOVE in a way by relating it to other words. I believe this is a great launching point to finding a deeper understanding for AGAPE LOVE.
Gaining a deeper view, consider the relationship between a Roman soldier and an Israelite. In this time, Rome had conquered and ruled over the Jewish people. They weren’t exactly friends or going to church on the Sabbath. Imagine a Roman soldier carrying all the gear they did for miles and miles. This soldier comes across an Israelite and decides he is done carrying all his gear. He draws his sword and holds it to the Israelite. The soldier commands this Israelite (minding his own business, not harming anyone), “You! Carry my gear to the next town! Or you will die by my hand!” Obviously, the Israelite may have some animosity towards this Roman soldier. Wouldn’t you? I know I would. Some would say this Israelite has two options: 1. Take the Roman’s gear and carry it. 2. Fight or die at this man’s hand. AGAPE LOVE gives a third option. Asking the Roman, “Can I carry it further? You look thirsty. May I get some water from my house for you?”
Let that sit for a second…
This Roman had earned no grace - has even created strife where none may have existed. Still, you are taught to find it in your heart to go further - to show him something that is last on your mind, AGAPE LOVE. One may see this as a walking doormat or a coward. I argue just the opposite. Truly, it is braver to find a way to LOVE someone who does not care for you – would even wish ill on you just for being where you sit. Yahweh has done just that for us. Taking the bible aside, consider today’s society into question. We have removed Yahweh so far from our lives, that people are killed, fired from jobs, or destroyed from uttering their LOVE for GOD. How can a creator love his creation enough to where he would come down and die for His people? Yahweh could have rightfully abandoned His people after we have broken covenant so many times. We still do it today! We only are asked to SHEMA (Listen/Obey) His word.
Here at CCAG we live by “LOVE God, LOVE people.” I call everyone reading this post, to find it in your heart to AGAPE His people - even when they cast you out, make fun of you, and/or think bad/talk ill of you. Ask them, are they thirsty? Do they need a drink from everlasting waters that bring everlasting life? Yahweh did this for you, me, and everyone else.