The Four Types of Love in the Bible

What the Scriptures Say About Different Kinds of Love

A heart drawn on a tree
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What comes to mind when you hear the word love? Some people think of a specific person, or maybe a number of people within their families. Others may think of a song, a movie or a book. Still, others may think of something more abstract, such as a memory or a smell.

Whatever your answer, what you believe about love says a great deal about you as a person. Love is one of the more powerful forces in the human experience, and it impacts us in more ways than we can imagine.

Therefore, it's no surprise that love carries a lot of weight in the Bible as a primary theme. But what kind of love do we find in the Scriptures? Is it the kind of love experienced between spouses? Or between parents and children? Is it the kind of love God expresses to us, or the kind of love we attempt to express back to Him? Or is it that fleeting and temporary feeling that makes us say, "I love guacamole!"?

Interestingly, the Bible addresses many different kinds of love throughout its pages. The original languages contain several nuances and specific words that communicate particular meanings connected to that emotion. Unfortunately, our modern English translations of those Scriptures typically boil everything down to the same word: "love."

There are actually four Greek words that communicate a different type of love. Those words are Agape, Storge, Phileo, and Eros. Because these are Greek terms, none of them are directly present in the Old Testament, which was originally written in Hebrew. However, these four terms offer a broad overview of the different ways love is expressed and understood throughout the Scriptures.

Agape Love

Pronunciation: [Uh - GAH - Pay]

Perhaps the best way to understand agape love is to think of it as the type of love that comes from God. Agape is divine love, which makes it perfect, pure, and self-sacrificing. When the Bible says that "God is love" (1 John 4:8), it's referring to agape love.

Storge Love

Pronunciation: [STORE - jay]

The love described by the Greek word storge is best understood as family love. It's the kind of easy bond that naturally forms between parents and their children -- and sometimes between siblings in the same household. This kind of love is steady and sure. It's love that arrives easily and endures for a lifetime.

Phileo Love

Pronunciation: [Fill - EH - oh]

Phileo describes an emotional connection that goes beyond acquaintances or casual friendships. When we experience phileo, we experience a deeper level of connection. This connection is not as deep as the love within a family, perhaps, nor does it carry the intensity of romantic passion or erotic love. Yet phileo is a powerful bond that forms ​a community and offers multiple benefits to those who share it.

Eros Love

Pronunciation: [AIR - ohs]

Eros is the Greek term that describes romantic or sexual love. The term also portrays the idea of passion and intensity of feeling. The word was originally connected with the goddess Eros of Greek Mythology.

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Your Citation
O'Neal, Sam. "The Four Types of Love in the Bible." Learn Religions, Mar. 4, 2021, O'Neal, Sam. (2021, March 4). The Four Types of Love in the Bible. Retrieved from O'Neal, Sam. "The Four Types of Love in the Bible." Learn Religions. (accessed March 27, 2023).

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