Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent intention and commitment toward another. The concept of the love of God is deeply rooted in the Bible. The Hebrew term chesed refers to covenant love. Jehovah is the God who remembers and keeps His covenants in spite of the treachery of people. His faithfulness in keeping His promises proves His love for Israel and all humanity.

Another word, ahavah, can be used of human love toward oneself, another person of the opposite sex, or another person in general. It is used of God’s love toward Jeremiah in Jer 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love [ahavah]’ therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness [chesed]” [NASB].

In NT times three words for love were used by the Greek speaking world. The first is eros, referring to erotic or sexual love. This word is not used in the NT or in the Septuagint. It was commonly used in Greek literature of the time.

The word phileo (and its cognates) refers to tender affection, such as toward a friend or family member. It is very common in the NT and extrabiblical literature. It is used to express God the Father’s love for Jesus (John 5:20), God’s love for an individual believer (John 16:27), and Jesus’ love for a disciple (John 20:2). The word phileo is never used for a person’s love toward God. In fact, the context of John 21:15-17 seems to suggest that Jesus desired a stronger love from Peter. END OF PART 1

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