“Love” is the third most commonly looked up word at Merriam-Webster.com. Do you want to know what “love” means? You ought to. “Love God” and “love others” are the two most important commands of the Bible, on the authority of Christ himself.
Maybe you’ve already heard that agape (ἀγάπη) is the standard word for love in the Greek New Testament, and maybe you’ve heard that it points to a specific kind of love: a selfless, giving, non-emotional love—as opposed to the friendship love of philia (φιλία).
But I want to question these common assertions, give you a liberating tip for using Greek in your Bible study (whether you know Greek or not), and then apply that tip to one passage in which the meaning of agape figures prominently.