With Valentine’s Day approaching, our minds often turn towards the concept Oflove. When we think Of love,
especially on Valentine’s Day, we typically think of love as a noun. Even in the church we often use the noun form
Of love; for example, when we talk Of God’s love or that in Jesus Christ, love came down to earth.
Love as a noun Often denotes the feeling of love as an emotion, the tightening of the chest, the sweaty palms,
the lump in our throat, sensations we feel when that special someone walks into the room, Love isa powerful
emotion. It is the emotion of poetry, literature, and drama. Without love as a noun, television or theatre would
be bereft Of most Of its plots and subplots. Think about all of the murder mysteries that wouldn’t exist without
love as a noun. There would be no more romantic comedies and much Of the drama Of the world would cease to
exist. That is because love the noun evokes passion. It gets our blood flowing and it excites our curiosities.
Love the emotion makes us do things we normally wouldn’t do, When we feel love, we want to sing or shout.
We are willing to change Our appearance in order to attract the Object Of our affections, We want the other per-
son to feel the same love that we feel. And when this happens, it is quite remarkable.
However, there is also the verb form of love, to love something or somebody. Even with the verb form, we
often relate this to a feeling. TO love somebody is to feel the emotion of love; it is our desire to feel our passion
that drives much of Western society.
Like English, the Greeks understood love as both a noun and a verb. The Greeks nuanced the word love into
three different forms: agape, philos, and eros. Eros is the more passionate and carnal of the three. philos is typi-
cally the love of brotherhood and friendship. The word Philadelphia simply means “the city Of brotherly love.”
That leaves us with agape. Agape is the word commonly used within the Bible for love. Some have tried to make
the connection that agape is more spiritual Of the three, but that is a misrepresentation of the word. It isn’t that
agape is more spiritual than the others; it is that it is the most appropriate Greek word when relating to What
Jesus was talking about. It isn’t that God’s love isn’t brotherly or passionate, anyone who has read the Song of
Solomon, can affirm that God’s love for Israel is quite passionate. so we must look beyond the word
and see the context of how Jesus talked about love. The Bible talks about love as a noun and a verb.
In the same way, Jesus used love as a noun and a verb. however, it is not typically used to relate
the emotion but the action Of love. Love is a natural action of God which he
displays to the world. For instance John 3:16, “God 50 loved the world that he his only begotten Son.” It is
this kind Of action that we are supposed to emulate: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and
strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Our love is to emulate God’s love and God’s love incorporates all of us.
In my marriage, I have experienced love as both a noun and a verb. I feel love for my wife, and I also love her
as she loves me. I don’t believe that we should separate the feeling Oflove away from our experience or God’s
experience because it isa wonderful emotion. However, Of the two, the Bible favors love as an action over emo-
tion. One can feel love and not show love. Also, one can show love even when they do not feel it. Which Of
these two expressions do you think that Jesus would support? To show love is greater than to feel love, but how
wonderful and complete our lives are when we both feel and show our love.
My prayer for you this Valentine’s day is that you may feel and experience love as a noun and a verb With
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