February 16, 2013

Love – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:42 pm by sranderson0103

“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20)

Especially this time of year, we are told love is “in the air.” Faint remnants of reverence for Catholic “Saints” (St. Valentine) flavor expressions of emotion for the opposite sex. Hollywood makes millions extolling mystical, uncontrollable “happenings.” Such escapades are usually rationalizations for plain old sexual promiscuity, naively called “love.” It is a wonderful word, sadly and wickedly perverted.

Christians should know that “love” in the New Testament almost always means unselfish, self-sacrificing “agape” love. The Greek word for sexual love or romantic love, “eros,” is never used at all in the New Testament. Even marital love is ideally agape love in its main expression, as in Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” If husbands would learn the real meaning of “love” and how to do it, they need only look at their role model, Christ and His relationship to the church, together with the specific instructions to husbands and wives in the New Testament, such as that found in I Corinthians 7.

Of course, New Testament instruction builds on that revealed in the Old, designed to bring us to Christ.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ,…” (Gal. 3:24)

In the Old Testament there are about a dozen different Hebrew words used for “love,” and these often have wide variations in meaning, depending on context, often including romantic love as one of them. For example, Jacob’s willingness to work for Laban seven years in order to obtain Rachel for his wife clearly must have involved a high degree of romantic love on his part. He also loved her sister Leah, after Laban insisted he marry her first, but “he loved also Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30).

Several different “love” words are used in the Song of Solomon. The royal king and the lowly shepherd, both court the most beautiful girl in Israel. They frequently speak of their romantic love for each other. There is no doubt that God approves of such love when it is pure and true and involves self-sacrificing agape love as well.

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4).

The word, “honor” is defined by Brown Driver Brigs as:

“1. pert. to being of exceptional value …a. costly, precious…b. of great worth/value, precious of the blood of Jesus…1 Pt 1:19”

Marriage is thus “honored” when it is “undefiled.” The inspired writer says it is defiled by “fornication” and “adultery.”

The word for “fornicators” can refer to any kind of sexual activity. Some may call it “love,” but this is a caricature, outside of man-and-woman, lifelong marriage. It defiles that which God says must be honored.

The greatest love of all, of course, in both Old and New Testaments, is God’s love for the men and women He has created and redeemed.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris



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