This should have been yesterday’s post (Saturday 10th February 2018), but I was struggling with my mental health and sat staring at a blank blog post for ages, unable to type. So, I’m now rather determined to get back on track.
I love the gospel of John. It’s my favourite book in the Bible. We use the word love to describe a strong liking of a lot of different sorts of things, don’t we? Recently, at a group I attend at church, we watched Rob Bell’s Nooma DVD Flame. Rob explains the difference between 3 of the Hebrew words for love: dod – sexual chemistry, raya – friendship love; and ahava – choosing to love, commitment. (See: http://storage.cloversites.com/gracechurch10/documents/002_Flame-full.pdf).
In the New Testament, in the original Greek, there are four words for love: agape – unconditional, committed love; philia – deep friendship; storge- love for family; and eros – sexual desire. It seems to me that agape and ahava share some similarities.
I have been trying to expand my knowledge on love since 2015. Love hurts, so I’ve been searching for answers about what real love is. It’s been a hard path to follow. I have experienced a good deal of agape love in the last couple of years and built up a good understanding of agape. I’m now working on practicing the application.
So, I was interested when I opened my Bible at John 21: 15-25. This is the passage where Jesus asks Peter whether he truly loves Him. He asks the same question twice. Then the third time, He asks whether he loves Him. The first two times Jesus asked, He used the word agape. The third time He asked, He used the word philia.
I’m always interested that Jesus asks Peter three times whether he loves Him, and that He uses two different terms for love. Thinking about it logically, His asking was for the purpose of reinstating Peter. It was time for Peter to become pastor/shepherd of people.
In my next post I will reflect on Peter’s responses.