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Love is More Than a Feeling

For a word that we use so often, love is a very difficult word for us to define. I looked up love in the dictionary on my shelf, and found that it is both a noun and a verb. It has eleven different definitions. Love has to do with God. It has to do with sex. It has to do with romance. It even has to do with tennis. So there's a pretty wide range of what the definitions are.

I tried to picture a young couple, dating, attracted to each other. He schedules a romantic evening. They go to a restaurant that's really too expensive for him to afford. Afterwards they go out on a warm, moonlit night, and sit on a park bench overlooking the lake. He puts his arm around her and he realizes that tens of millions of times men have said to women "I love you." And somehow he is fearful that she would not get all that was meant and the full definition of what was said. And so he looks into her eyes, and having checked it out in the dictionary, he says, "I have tender and passionate affections for you as a member of the opposite sex." Somehow, it doesn't quite capture all that love is about, and it breaks the romance of the moment.

In English we have only one word for love. I think that unfortunate. The ancient Hebrews had the same dilemma. 'Ahab was the ancient Hebrew word, and all different shades of love had to be captured in that single term. The Greeks had far more. Storge was probably one of the most frequent uses of love that the Greeks had in their language. It referred to the love between a parent and a child, especially between a mother and a child.

But then they had a different word for the kind of love that two best of friends would have. Not a romantic love, but an attraction, a commonality, a compassion for the other. Phileo was ...

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Leith Anderson is president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals and Baptist pastor emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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Sermon Outline:


The Greeks had several words for "love."

I. Agape loves as is.

II. The best that we can give.


Instead of suggesting that you go out and love, I would suggest that you just get loved up by God.