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Agapao is love that is…

… commanded of believers (John 13:34, 15:12, 15:17)

… empowered by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the surrendered saint (Gal 5:13, 14, 15, 16, 22)

… commanded of Spirit filled husbands for their wives even as Jesus demonstrated for His bride, the church, giving Himself up for her (Ep 5:25-note) As mysterious as it seems, we simply cannot love our wives like God loves unless we allow God's Spirit to love through us. Remember that the charge to both husband and wife in Ephesians 5 follows after and is intimately related to Paul's command to continually be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18). Simply stated, if husbands are not filled with the Spirit, they cannot demonstate agape love to their wives! They might be able to demonstrate phileo love which is more akin to love of friends, but cannot love with an agapo type love.

… to be given in the same way Spirit filled husbands love their own bodies (Ep 5:28-note)

… the love with which the Father loved the Son and which may be in believers (Jn 17:26)

… a debt we are to always seek to repay but can never fully discharge (Ro 13:8-note)

… taught by God (1Th 4:9-note)

… manifested by specific actions and attitudes (1Cor 13:4, 5, 6, 7, 8 -see notes 13:4 5 6 7 8)

… shown not just by words but by deeds (1Jn 3:17, cf such love in action as a manifestation of genuine faith in James 2:15, 16- note)

… manifested by keeping God's commandments (Jn 14:15, 21, 23, 24)

… the response Jesus called for one to demonstrate to his or her enemies (Mt 5:44-note)

… love calls for one to love one's neighbor as one's self (Mt 19:19)

… love that seeks the recipient's highest good, not activated by virtue in the recipient (undeserved) (Jn 3:16)

… not based on affection, sentiment or emotion but upon a decision of the will

… given or offered even if the love is not received or reciprocated

… love differs from phileo which is based on affection

… love that finds its perfect expression in Jesus Christ and the Cross (Jn 3:16, cp 1Jn 3:16)

… the love of the overcomers in Revelation who did not love their life even to death (Re 12:10-note)

...can have a negative connotation as with Demas who loved this present world (2Ti 4:10) Does that suggest that Demas who actually traveled with Paul was never saved? We can't be absolutely sure but since no one loves the world (1Jn 2:15-16) can love the Father, it is very likely Demas was not genuinely born again.

… love that cannot be manifested by unregenerate individuals in its true Biblical sense of being Spirit enabled. Agapao when used in the context of the unregenerate means generally to have a high esteem for or to take pleasure in something. This type of agapao love is based on one showing a high regard for the object's perceived value or importance as shown in the following passages…

Luke 7:5 of a Roman centurion who loved Israel

Luke 11:43 of Pharisees who loved the front seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places

John 3:19 of unregenerate men who loved the darkness rather than the light

John 12:43 of the men who loved the approval of men rather than the approval God

2 Timothy 4:10 (note) of Demas who loved this present world and as a result deserted Paul and went to Thessalonica

1John 2:15 of those who love the world which indicates they do not possess the love of the Father within them (Compare uses in LXX translation of Ps 4:2, 11:5, 52:3, 4)

2 Peter 2:15 (note) of the false teachers who forsook and went astray from the right way because they like Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness

Agapao is found 143 times in 110 NT verses in the NAS - See all uses below.

Agapao is found 198 times in the Septuagint (LXX) - See all uses below.

The first use of agapao in the LXX corresponds to the first mention of love in the Bible in the context of Abraham's call to sacrifice Isaac…

And He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love (LXX = agapao) , Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." (Genesis 22:2)

Here are some other representative uses of agapao in the LXX…

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love (LXX = agapao) your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18) (Cited in at least 8 NT passages - Matthew 5:43; Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8)

O love (Lxx = agapao in the aorist imperative) the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful, And fully recompenses the proud doer. (Psalm 31:23)

And the descendants of His servants will inherit it, and those who love His name will dwell in it (Zion). (Psalm 69:36)

Let all who seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee; and let those who love Thy salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified." (Psalm 70:4)

O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)

Peter emphasized the primacy of Christian love writing that…

1 Peter 1:22 (note) Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere (unhypocritical, unfeigned, lacking pretense or show and thus genuine) love of the brethren, fervently (ektenes = an athletic term = “striving with all of one’s energy” - used to describe a runner who is moving at maximum output with taut muscles straining and stretching to the limit) love one another from the heart (not just head knowledge, not just with words but with deeds) (Philadelphia is the fruit of the new birth into the family of God.)

1 Peter 4:8 (note) Above all (most important of all), keep fervent (ektenes = an athletic term = “striving with all of one’s energy” - used to describe a runner who is moving at maximum output with taut muscles straining and stretching to the limit) in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (Comment: One aspect of this "covering" is to overlook sins against one's self if possible, and be ready to forgive as you have been forgiven.)

In his first Epistle, John makes a number of important statements regarding the vital importance of Christian love. including its source, its manifestation, its effect on the one who demonstrates it, etc

Zodhiates - agapáō and phileo are best understood when one carefully analyzes the conversation that the risen Christ had with the Apostle Peter in John 21:15-19. Peter confessed that though he fell short of the supreme and sacrificial love of Christ (agapáō which is a response to His love), he was His real friend (phileo) and wanted to make the interests of Christ his own interests. Since that was the case, the Lord entrusted Peter with the shepherding of His flock.

Kenneth Wuest - agapaō kind which produces the incentive for holy living and sacrificial service. Our Lord used that word when appealing to Peter to go back to his preaching commission. Our Lord said, “If a man love Me (agapaō), he will keep my words” (John 14:23). It is to the degree in which we have this kind of love flooding our souls, that we will live holy lives of self denial in the service of the Lord Jesus. And the secret of the production of this love is in the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit. And the degree of this operation of the Spirit is dependant upon the yieldedness of the Christian to the ministry of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love (agapē), Paul tells us (Gal. 5:23). He says again, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Ro 5:5).

The secret of Christian service that glorifies the Lord Jesus is in the love which the Holy Spirit produces in the heart of the Christian. The quality of that service is measured by the intensity of the love in the heart of that Christian. The intensity of that love is determined by the degree of yieldedness of that person to the Holy Spirit. Peter, in his first letter (1Peter 1:22), gives us a beautiful illustration of the possibility of the amalgamation of these two kinds of love in one personality. Writing to Christians, he says: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, resulting in an unfeigned brotherly love, out of the heart love one another fervently.” Phileo is used first by Peter, and then agapaō.

These Christians to whom the apostle was writing, had a fondness, an affection, for one another. It was one Christian heart responding to another Christian heart. They found the Lord Jesus in the heart of a fellow-Christian, and therefore they were fond of that Christian. This was a non-ethical love. Now, Peter exhorts them to saturate this phileo love with the Holy Spirit produced agapaō love, and make that fondness and affection a thing of heaven. It is the amalgamation of the two loves which will result in an ideal Christian experience. Just so, the believer must be careful to see that the phileo fondness he has for the Lord Jesus, is saturated with the agapaō love produced by the Holy Spirit, lest a lack of the latter will result in a Christian experience in which the believer exhibits a great fondness for the Lord Jesus, but manifests little love for Him by a life devoid of earnest obedience and service. Here lies the explanation of why some Christians can sing and pray and testify about their love for the Lord Jesus, and yet their lives do not show a rich, ripe, mature experience. These have much phileo love, little agapaō (ἀγαπαω) and for the reason that they do not live Spirit-controlled lives. The ideal is an amalgamation of the two kinds of love. (Great Truths to Live By)
 
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