Part 1 – God is Love
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
When we come to the word “love” we need to define the word in order to get an accurate meaning. In the English translation we only have the one word, Love; but in the original language of the Bible there are several different words that are translated love. I will only address three as the other words are a variation of these three.
The first one is “eros” and its meaning is sexual love. It is the root word that we get our English word “erotic” from. This word is not used anywhere in the Greek New Testament. When it comes to any type of sexual love the New Testament is completely silent so we know that this does not describe God nor is it an important facet of worshiping Him. This type of worship is only a part of pagan and heathen practice, and in no way is a part of worship of the one true God. You won’t get to know God through this avenue. Its practice is for the purpose of procreation and not worship
The second word is “phileo” and speaks of brotherly love or our value of another one. It is the word that is used in our English word Philadelphia, known as the city of brotherly love. The word “phileo” is also used in the word philanthropist, or a benevolent person. It speaks of the highest type of love a person can have for another person without God’s involvement. It refers to the love a mother has for her child or a man laying down his life for another. It is both benevolent and sacrificial and is used several times in the New Testament.
The third word is “agape or agapao” and it describes God’s type of love as seen in John 3: 16 where it states that God so loved that He Gave His only Son. This type of love is out of the character and nature of God Himself. It is infinitely beyond phileo love in that it does not demand retribution nor is it based upon merit or degree. It is freely given, unlimited in scope and without strings. It is not found in man without God. It is not natural to man nor can it be manufactured by man but comes only from God. This is the word that is used to describe God.
You cannot know this type of love until you come to know God. Knowing God will bring you to know this type of love. It is not natural, but supernatural. His love is expressed in His sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin. A debt that we could never pay, yet the Bible declares Ro 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We cannot earn it nor do we deserve it, but it is given to us as a free gift by our returning to Him and receiving it as a free gift. We call that grace. If it is not of grace then it is of works and will utterly frustrate the grace of God. It is disrespectful to attempt to know Him any other way that the way He opened to us. If you are to know God then you must respond to His love for you in the way of loving Him back and not disrespecting His love for you.