According to Dr. T. Miethe in his The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words, there are four Greek words which are all translated “love” in the English language:
- “Eros” embraces all aspects of sexual desire or passion; however, it is never used in the New Testament.
- “Stergo” is an instinctive natural affection or protectiveness that is inherent in one’s nature, such as: parents have for children, a father providing for the family, or a mother caring for sick members. However, this word is never used in the New Testament.
- “Phileo” is a tender affection, a liking, and fondness, such as in friendships. This term while used a few times in the Bible is never used in a command to people to have toward God.
- “Agapae” is an attitude of seeking the other person’s best welfare in accordance with God’s value system and truths, and follows through with the corresponding actions that that attitude prompts. It is not an emotion or feeling necessarily.
Mk. 12:28-31 What is the great and foremost commandment?
Do you love the LORD with all your heart (seek God’s best with full sincerity of will/choice, to do so as an act of your will)?
If so, how?
Do you love the LORD with all your soul (with intensity/fervency of feeling toward/for Him)?
If so, how?
Do you love the LORD with all your mind (thoughtfully, with understanding of intellect seeking God’s best welfare)?
If so, how?
Do you love the LORD with all your strength (seeking His best with all your energy or power of being)?
If so, how?
Are you loving God with your whole being or with only part of your being, and why?
In what specific ways do you express this kind of love to God?
How should we love our neighbor?
How much do you love yourself, and in what ways do you show each day that you love yourself?
Who is our neighbor – Lk. 10:29-36?
In what specific ways do you love people as much as you do yourself?
Lk. 6:31 How should we treat people?
Are you doing this? If so, in what specific ways?
Lk. 7:44-47 How did the woman show her love to Jesus?
How do you show your love to Jesus and God the Father, and why those ways?
What seems to be the relationship between forgiveness and love?
How much (what amount) do you think you have been forgiven of your sins?
How much do you love Jesus, and how is it evidenced?
Jn. 13:34-35 How were the disciples to love one another?
And how did Christ love them (e.g., Jn. 10:15; 17:6, 8, 12-13, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24; 14:2, 16)?
Is this how you are loving your fellow Christians (i.e., sacrificially)?
What will people know by this?
Do people know that you are a disciple/follower/imitator of Christ, and how?
Jn. 14:15, 21, 23 If we love Jesus, what will we do?
As you observe your life (i.e., your obedience to God’s commands), to what degree does it reflect how much you love God?
Do your actions back up your words, “that you love God”, and in what ways?
Jn. 15:13 What is the greatest expression of one’s love for his friend?
Do you love anyone to this degree, and why?
Matt. 10:37 We should love Christ more than whom?
Can you honestly say that you do?
How did you determine your answer?
If your parents did not want you to read your Bible, pray, evangelize, go to a biblically-accurate Bible study group, be trained or equipped to serve God, or be a missionary, what would you do, and why?
Should our love for Christ be greater than for our family and even ourselves (Lk. 14:26), and why?
Rom. 5:5 God’s love has been poured out within our hearts through whom?
Who has God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6)?
Do you? How do you know?
Gal. 5:13 How should we serve one another?
How would this be done or evidenced?
How important are our motives for the things we do (1 Cor. 13:3; 16:14; Prov. 16:2), and why?
Is this your motive when serving others? What other motives do you often have when serving others?
Gal. 5:22 Love is the fruit of Whom?
Therefore, Who should we allow to be in control of our lives if we want love to be produced through our lives?
Are you doing this? If so, how?
Rom. 8:28 What does God cause to happen to those who love Him and are called (to salvation; to become a Christian) according to His purpose?
Do you believe this is true of you when you are in the midst of hard or trying situations or difficult circumstances, and why?
Rom. 12:9 What should love be without?
To say you love God or people and then do evil or sin against them is hypocrisy. In what way – or when – will our love for God or others be genuine – Psa. 97:10; 1 Jn. 3:18?
Do you hate sin/abhor evil, or have you grown immune to sin and tolerate it not only in other people’s lives, but even in your own, and why?
Rom. 12:10 What should we do in brotherly love?
How can you specifically go about being devoted to (i.e., having a family-like, tender/kindly affection toward) other Christians?
Is this the attitude you have toward your fellow Christians, and why?
Rom. 13:8-10 What should we owe people?
What do we fulfill (accomplish the intent of) when we love people?
How much do you owe to your fellow Christians, and why?
What doesn’t love do to a neighbor?
Do you wrong people that you say you love, and why?
1 Cor. 13:4-7 Describe what love is.
Is this a description of the kind of love that you have when you say that you love someone?
1 Cor. 16:22 What is said of anyone who does not love the Lord?
Will you be accursed, and why?
1 Cor. 16:14 What is said of any Christian who does anything?
Is this true of you? If not, when isn’t it?
What can you do to make this verse true in your life (e.g., Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:18; 1 Jn. 5:14-15; Col. 3:12)?
Eph. 4:15 What should be done in love?
When you correct someone or are explaining something to someone with whom you have a difference of opinion, do you communicate with a motive of love (i.e., seeking his/her best rather than to put him/her down or simply win an argument)?
How would you be able to communicate truth in love?
Phil. 1:9-10 For what does Paul pray for these Christians?
Why is it important that our love be knowledgeable and discerning (based on the truths of the Bible, what’s best from God’s perspective)?
How can we have a knowledgeable love?
What do you plan on doing as a result of knowing this truth, and how soon?
Col. 3:12-14 What is love?
Are you trying to preserve the unity among the Christians, and why?
How do you go about doing this, specifically?
1 Thes. 3:12 What is Paul’s desire for the Christians at Thessalonica?
Is the quality (seeking your fellow Christians best welfare in more areas of expression, like: spiritually, physically, materially, emotionally, intellectually, financially) and quantity (greater frequency of expression) of your love for Christians and for all people growing?
If so, in what specific ways, and how often?
1 Tim. 4:12 Though Timothy was young, what was he to be an example of to other Christians?
Is the way your love and life are exhibited a good example for others to follow?
If not, what plans do you have to become such an example, and how soon?
2 Tim. 1:7 What has God given Christians the spirit (or Spirit) of?
Is God’s Spirit in control of your life so that He can produce these qualities in and through you?
If not, what area of your life is He not in control of?
How do you plan to yield that area of your life to the control of God’s Spirit, and when?
2 Tim. 4:7-8 To whom will the Lord award the crown of righteousness (i.e., the reward for doing right)?
Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want Jesus to return today to take you up to heaven?
Some Christians say that they want to get married first, have a family, travel, or do some fun things before Christ returns. Are you guilty of this misplacement of love’s priority, and why?
Jas. 1:12 What has the Lord promised to those who love Him?
Does acquiring a crown of life (a greater quality of life in heaven, such as a higher position or closer relationship to God) interest you?
Do you persevere under trials or hard circumstances as an expression of your love for the Lord, instead of giving up?
How or why would this be an expression of love for Him?
Heb. 6:10 How can Christians show their love toward God’s name (i.e., God)?
Are you helping other Christians? If so, specifically, how?
Heb. 10:24 What should we consider (plan) how to stimulate one another to do?
Do you take time to think through or plan how you can stimulate/motivate Christians to love each other and do good to each other, or are you an instigator in trying to get Christians mad at, jealous of, or even fight with each other, and why?
1 Pet. 1:22 What adjectives (descriptive terms/words) should characterize our love for the brethren (i.e., other Christians)?
Is your love for other Christians sincere, fervent (intense and earnest), and genuine rather than phony, superficial/shallow, and hypocritical?
How did you determine your answer?
How does a Christian acquire a sincere/genuine, fervent love for others?
1 Pet. 4:8 Why should we fervently (intensely and earnestly) continue in our love for one another?
[The word “covers” means “forgives,” not “ignores” (Psa. 32:1; 85:2).].
Does your fervent love for other Christians express and prompt forgiveness for their sins, and why (2 Cor. 2:7, 11)?
1 Jn. 2:4-6 In whom has the love of God been perfected (accomplished)?
Has the love of/for God been perfected/accomplished/made a reality/exhibited in your life?
How can you know?
1 Jn. 2:15-17 What shouldn’t we love, and why?
[The “world” is all that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims/goals, aspirations, at any time current in the world … the spirit of the world of men who are living alienated and apart from God” – Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, “Romans,” p. 207.].
Are you loving the world (i.e., the values, goals, priorities, and thinking of non-Christians or those carnal/backslidden Christians who are living alienated from God) or the things in the world: the lust of the flesh (e.g., drunkenness, gluttony, illicit sex or drugs), the lust of the eyes (e.g., greed or coveting/desiring the wrong things or people because they are not God’s will), or the pride of life (e.g., arrogance/self-importance/egotism derived from a person’s position, possessions, popularity, prestige, appearance, skills/talents, intelligence, achievements, associations, etc), and why?
If you’re loving the world or the things in the world, what do you plan on specifically doing to correct the situation?
1 Jn. 2:10 Who abides in the light (i.e., moral light or holiness, of which God is, 1 Jn. 1:5)?
Are you continually loving your brother (i.e., fellow Christian), and why?
If not, how could you (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:12)?
1 Jn. 3:14 What does the person who doesn’t love his fellow Christian abide in?
Are you abiding/living in death (i.e., spiritual separation from God)?
[This spiritual separation can be permanent for the non-Christian or temporary for the carnal/worldly/backslidden Christian.].
How does a Christian get back into (spiritual) life, 1 Jn. 1:9; 2:10?
1 Jn. 3:16-18 How should we love?
Are you loving others in deed (actions) and truth (actuality; genuineness)?
Give two recent examples of where you’ve done this.
[Oftentimes people flippantly say that they love someone, but it’s really only cheap, insincere words or the right thing to say at the time to look good. Be truthful and show it by your actions.].
1 Jn. 4:18 What does perfect love cast out?
If you know that God perfectly loves you, what should your attitude or perspective “not be” about doing God’s will for your life or any of His commandments?
Do you fear obeying any of God’s commands or fear doing His will for your life (i.e., evangelizing the spiritually lost, building up other Christians spiritually, and living a holy life, separated from sin unto God), and why?
1 Jn. 4:19-21 Who cannot love God?
What should the one who loves God do?
Is this true of you?