Part 1

by Pete Macinta

NOTE: When I write "AGAPE", "PHILEO", "EROS", I include all their main forms / declensions in the Greek In today's society there is plenty of talk about love. Unfortunately millions are disillusioned in marriage and other social relationships because the love in our present world is impure or just really not love. If you are having trouble in a ANY relationship*, take the time to review this page and the next, praying about it, asking God to make any changes in you or anyone else as necessary. This discussion on love will not deal with marital love alone. To help those that are married, please study this page first, then follow the link at the end of this study that deals with additional marital issues.

* = By any "relationtionship" means I also include all social conduct not having a sexual expression. We are commanded by God to love all mankind.

God has plenty to say about love and some principles from His Book are outlined below. Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for our English word "love", viz., agape (ah - GAH - pay), and phileo (fil - LAY - o). Another word is found in the Greek outside of the Holy Scriprures, ...Eros (ER - ros).The following describes the proper place in our hearts for all three of these elements in any relationship. Permit me to introduce the BEST of these three first.


This Greek word is used to express the highest and purest type of love possible. GET THIS!... the Greek indicates that it is generated from one's MIND and is NOT an impulse from our emotions. (A stark contrast from what we learn around us.) It is unconditional, selfless, self-sacrificing. It does not expect to be loved back! It just loves! 1 Cor. 13 lists some qualities of this word ( charity is used in the King James Version ). "Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill to any 13:8-10."E. J. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, part 2. p. 21..

Before I continue, I want to emphasize the fact that Agape stems from the MIND and not from the emotions. It is very unlike what we often see depicted on tv, the movies, internet, etc.. This is an extremely important principle and I further deal with it in

Basic Help For The Marriage Under Attack (yet to be migrated to this site)

For our purposes here, you must determine in your heart to accept this principle and apply it in the relationships that you have.

The best way to assure that you have Agape in your heart is to have God remove the sin nature in your life and invite Christ in as Savior and Lord. Only God can give complete and pure Agape. In fact, becoming a TRUE Christian enables you to better your relationships with others by basing your actions on Agape. If you want to become a real Christian now, pray this prayer and mean it from your heart:
Father, forgive for being a sinner and I ask You to cleanse me. I ask Jesus into my heart and make me a new creature. Help me, Father, to live for You. I love You. Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer and meant it, you may want to review some further help I give when someone surrenders to Christ. If you have prayed this prayer and meant it, more power to you! God will give you the ability, if you let Him, to get things straight in your relationships.


Phileo is defined as tender affection and does not have to be unconditional nor stemming from the mind. It might love if only loved back in some cases. Yet E. J. Vine (p.22) points out that in the NT. "It is unselfish love, ready to serve. The use of phileo, ..., conveys the thought of cherishing the object {Vine refers to John 21:15-17 - Peter's three replies and our Lord's last question to him.} above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of highest veneration." I briefly explain John 21:21-17 to the right here in pink.

Words such as Philadelphia and philosophy stem from phileo. Pedophile does too, but remember that phileos itself does not carry the conotation of sinning. Pedophilia is a most hideous sin!

Phileo can express a deep friendship with others.

John 21:21-17

This is the passage where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Each time Peter responds that he does love Jesus. The third time that Jesus asks Peter, Peter weeps. One would assume it is because that Jesus had asked him a total of three times, however, the main reason is found in the Greek. The first two times He askes Peter does he AGAPE Him. In the Greek, Peter cannot bring himself to use the same word. On both the first and second replies Peter is recorded as using PHILEO, not AGAPE. So, the third time Jesus changes the word for love to PHILEO. THAT is why Peter wept. Peter honestly pointed out that he felt that he could not say that he had AGAPE love for Jesus. Now, the third time, Peter's depths of his heart are searched by the Master's use of PHILEO. Peter did use PHILEO also in his third response.


You guessed it! - the sexual attraction between people. Although this word is not found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God points out that eros, in its rightful place, is honored by God.

What is the proper place for eros? According to the Word of God eros that includes sexual activity is only permissable in marriage, and to God marriage is that physical, emotional, spiritual union between one man and one woman for life. Eros, before marriage, without sexual activity, no doubt needs to exist prior before a marriage - kind of helps to encourage the reproduction of humans you know! And, before anyone jumps to conclusions, emotions of eros towards a person of the same gender as you are declared as sin in the Word of God. But God will free you from that if you let Him!

In Christ, in marriage, eros, can be completely pure. Paul by the Spirit, in fact, commands married couples to have sex in order to safegaurd against sin. ( See 1 Cor. 7 ). I was a little shocked while giving premarital counseling to someone years ago when they told me that they thought that having sex with their wife would be a sin. Indeed not! In fact, refusing to have sex with your partner for certain reasons, or, at many times, excuses, is sin!

Sadly, because of the sin nature in all humans, eros around the world is way out of hand. From this stems homosexuality, rape, spousal abuse, incest, pornography, "white slavery", degragation of women and men, beastiality, pedophelia, and much more. You see that the very thing that is to be so beautiful between a married man and woman satan has taken and corrupted it through our evil imaginations. Many of us men, even as Christians, have to spiritually fight off these thought patterns. Some women too, must do the same I am sure. Pornography, for example, can be as mentally addictive as gambling and other vices.

Because of the misuse of eros, diaseses like AIDS effect the innocent. I realize that the misuse of eros is not the only reason the innocent suffer from AIDs and other problems, but it does effect the innocent quite a bit! Hence, eros is SACRED and HOLY in marriage (Heb. 13:4). Outside of marriage there are problems.

Now, shall we put these three together? . . . Well, not so fast! We need a place to put them, and, besides, the three only come together in marriage - NOT outside of marriage. Whether we put three or just two together we still need a foundation. No better foundation can be laid than . . .

... that's right! Jesus Chirst! The best way to insure a solid foundation is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Chirst. It should start with you, the reader of this page. If you are married, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as you follow His precepts, will make for a stable marriage. If you are not married, it improves how you deal with other people. Think about this: if you accept Christ now as your Savior you will definitely become a better person, most likely your work habits will improve and you might even get a raise at work! But, the main reason why you should come to Jesus is because He loves and died to remove your sin.

Surrendering to Christ as your Savior, King, and Lord will not gaurantee a bed of roses for the rest of your life. In fact, persecution shall surely await you in some form. Satan will also try to disrupt your life. However, if you do not accept Christ as your Savior, if you die, you will go to hell. Getting back to this life, you are more likely to have marital troubles unless you accept Christ as your personal Savior. So we highly recomend that you accept Christ as your personal Savior right now. Pray this prayer, and mean it from your heart....

Father, forgive me for being a sinner. Please cleanse me. I now ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart to rule and to reign as Savior. Thank you Father for answering my prayer. Help me to live for You no matter what. This I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

If you have prayed that prayer and have meant it click here, and another page will come up at the bottom of which you will find basic guidance in growing in Christ.

If you have surrendered to Christ as your King, but your spouse has not, (1) pray for your spouse, and,(2) witness first by your life, and more by your life than your mouth! If you have accepted Christ as your Savior and your spouse has not, you still have a better chance of your marriage surviving various pitfalls than if you had not accepted Christ - as long as you go by the true leading of the Holy Spirit.

While we are on this topic, if you use a Bible other than KJV or New King James, you need to know,at this point, that the strongest Greek word for "divorce" NEVER APPEARS IN 1 COR. 7. So just because your spouse refuses to get saved IS NO GROUNDS TO EVEN CONSIDER DIVORCE. Also, remarriage after a divorce while your "former companion" is still living is adultery (Luke 16:18). If your "marriage" is homosexual union - break it up NOW, for homosexuality is a sin. Real Biblical marriage is NOT a homosexual union. In reality and in the eyes of God, there never was, is not, and never will be a homosexual marriage. If you were entangled in this before you were saved, and you have truly repented ( no longer a homosexual ) you are forgiven. Remember, your homosexual marriage never existed. Man's law may say that it did/ does. God's Word says NO!

If you are married and you both know Christ as your personal Savior, this is the very best! Be not embarrassed to pray together. Worship together privately and publicly. Enjoy the Holy Word together. In another page, which is to be produced, we will also show you how to build a holy wall to protect your marriage as you build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Also, marital precepts are laid out on other pages in this site, and links to these will be found on part two of REAL LOVE.

For all readers now, build upon the foundation of Jesus Chirst. Starting right now, base your thinking and actions upon the life of Jesus and the written Word of God.

I feel led to type this now....for example....Do you make fun of your spouse either privately or publicly. Stop it now! Jesus would not do that at all! See? If we all behave like Jesus there would be much less friction between people. We are to love our wives guys ( and this is reciprocal gals ) as Christ loved the church. Did Jesus ever make fun of the Church?

Fortify this foundation by reading and studying the Word of God, obeying the Word of God, private worship of God each day and public worship of God everytime the doors of the church are open. Pray without fail. Learn to love, and you will eventually be loved back. Stay on this foundation, otherwise, when pressure comes, you shall be quite shaky and unstable.

Either you are on the foundation of Jesus Christ or you are on the foundation of the world. As you can see in the illustration to the left, a foundation that is not Jesus Christ is not a foundation at all. The one on the right depicts how alot of friendships are when an individual does not have Jesus Christ as his or her foundation. What satan enjoys doing then is tramping upon our relationships, driving them even further into the mire of the world.

Because of the sin nature, without depending upon Christ for help, we all basicly tend to (1) drift off the foundation of Christ if we had been on it or / and (2)begin to neglect to use agape in our relationships and /or (3) place the elements of eros, phileo, and agape in the wrong order in our relationships.

The Holy Bible clearly shows that we all have a sin nature. See Rom. 5:12, 3:9. Now I will agree that some people may have better control over some aspects of their lives than others, but, having Christ reside in our hearts and letting Him live through us prevents us from drifting off the foundation, neglecting agape, and placing the elements of eros, phileo, and agape in the wrong order in our lives.


When we drift away from the foundation of Jesus Christ we then dwell in a place where standards become relative - absolutes become less frequent. Example: You are driving a car and you come to a stop sign. What does the stop sign mean?
A. Keep going
B. Slow down, look both ways, and go if nothing is coming
C. Completely stop
D. Gun It And Go!!!

Come on now, you know "C" is the correct answer! Besides breaking the law, the other choices risk damage, injury, and death. The same is true in the spirit realm, and we are all spirit creatures.

Truly single? (never been married or widowed with no former spouse) - Sexual activity prior to marriage is sin. See 1 Cor. 5:1, 6:9 and many more.

Married Or Have Been Married ( only physical death dissolves a marriage [ 1 Cor. 7:39 ] )?- Sexual activity and flirtation outside of your marriage is sin. See Luke 16:18, 1 Cor. 6:9, Gal. 5:19, Heb. 13:4, and many more.

If you have looked up those passages you have looked at the very Word of God. God does not change His mind. The holiness He requires is NOT A MOVING TARGET!

Drifting from the foundation of Jesus Christ leads to sin and sin leads to more sin which leads to death.

Neglecting Agape

First of all, to insure you have AGAPE you need to ask Christ to be your personal Savior and Lord, committing your life to Him. This has already been discussed on this page. There is a possibility that some reading this may have been born again earlier and have backslidden. You definitely need to come back to the Lord and recommit your life to Christ.

Sometimes Christians become lax and stray away from Biblical principles. Another unsettling fact is that some Christians have never been taught about the principles of AGAPE, nor did they endeavor to study it for themselves. Permit me to quickly review some of the qualities of AGAPE, but then I want to share something special with you. In brief, some of the qualities of AGAPE and, hence, principles that we should follow are . . .

  • It is selfless.
  • It is forgiving.
  • It is sacrificial.
  • It does not expect to be loved in return.
  • It is unconditional.
  • It is FAITHFUL!
  • And now, I wish to share something very special with you. I mentioned earlier that many qualities of AGAPE love ( called charity at times in the KJV ) can be found in 1 Cor, 13. At this point, I need to share with you a phrase from 1 Cor. 13:7 where it states that AGAPE LOVE ( charity in KJV )...

    Beareth all things...

    The Greek word for "beareth" is stego ( STAY - GOH ). It means to cover, but, when the Greeks would stego a boat for example, the boat would be covered ( stego ) with pitch both on the outside AND ON THE INSIDE!!! So, we can clearly see that AGAPE provides a protective covering in our relationships. AGAPE is first directed towards God through Jesus Christ: because we love God, we will not sin. Secondly AGAPE is directed towards our fellow man: because we love God, we love all people, and will not sin against them. Agape will shield us from from premarital sex and extramarital excursions ( ranging from flirting to adultry ). The momment we neglect AGAPE is the very momment we become vulnerable. AGAPE shields our PHILEO and EROS in our daily lives.

    For those that are married, we come in contact with others every day at work, school, the store, CHURCH, etc. ( I have heard of reports of actual flirting in church.) AGAPE puts EROS "on the back burner" with the double shield of STEGO, reserving our EROS only for our spouse. (By the way, none of this is automatic: you and I must cooperate with these God given principles! ). We must use PHILEO daily and that stays in view with a doubled shield of stego.

    Rom. 16:16 Says . . .
    We Are To Greet Each Other
    With A Holy Kiss!

    This verse ( along with three more ) is being used today to foster the habit of greeting people with kisses in church, and, I imagine, greeting Christians anywhere with a kiss, not just in church. When Paul wrote that by the Spirit, in his days usually men would sit together by themselves and the women would sit together by themselves in assemblies. Men did not kiss women and women did not kiss men in these assemblies. With sin so prevelant in the world and the average Christian not adequately rooted in the Word a "Holy kiss" is quite rare. Some churches may promote this kissing, but how holy is it? I am sure this "Holy kissing" has been used by satan as an inroad to hearts to corrupt the PHILEO and EROS.

    Let's just shake hands ( hugs by the opposite gender should be avoided too. ). DO NOT GIVE THE ENEMY A FOOTHOLD!!!

    My Recommendations For Kissing

    1. Kiss only your spouse on the lips.

    2. Cheek / forehead is fine for other relatives.

    3. Those of the same gender might get a peck on the neck.

    Both the capacity for PHILEO and EROS remain with all of us throughout every hour of our lives on this planet. We must use AGAPE with the double shield of stego as we come in contact with others. Any married Christian who comes into contact with someone of the opposite gender should feel AGAPE arise with the double shield: you watch how you behave and what you say to others. You leave no hint that you may be interested in them beyond BASIC friendship. Next to Jesus, your spouse should be your best firend. Grant it, there are times that you need to talk about your relationship with your spouse with another person. Pick someone who is a real Christian, is the same gender as you, and who can keep a confidence.

    Of all places, in these times, the church is a special place to stay on gaurd. I prefer the method that women pray with women and men with men. I wonder how many times the altar rails have been desecrated by flirtation in the pretense of ministry? I do not exagerate my friend! I know of one church in NC back in the early 80's where flirtation was rampant! I know of too many more!

    On this page where I have indicated that EROS is only for marriage, I mean the aspect of EROS that goes from internal feelings to external actions. ( However, the Lord warns us not to lust in our hearts. ) As mentioned above, it is quite simple to understand that the emotion of EROS needs to be there to some degree to attrack us to the opposite sex. This is good, if controlled. This broader aspect of EROS needs to be discussed.

    So, you like the opposite sex. Good! God says so ( Gen. 1:27-28) ! Now, calm down and learn - he he! Accept that it is good according to the Word, BUT put it "on the back burner" . Date, but date without sexual contact, viz., massaging (the area of the body a swimsuit would cover ), petting, probing, intercourse. Save that for marriage. Laughing are you now? Christian marriage counselors tend to agree that sexual familiarity prior to marriage reduces mutual respect during marriage. So, squelch emotion and look at the other person OBJECTIVELY with the help of God. You will not be able to objectively look at a person unless you, with God's help, put eros away and let it have its' proper expression in marriage.

    Objectively look at that other person. Note their physical, emotional, and spiritual problems. Ask them questions pertaining to various aspects of life, including the bringing of children into the world ( how many and how to discipline ). Be honest and frank with each other - and with yourself. REAL LOVE is an action of our will through our minds and is not based upon emotions. BEFORE you marry, understand that marriage is for life. You are to love your spouse whether they get better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. Sit back and try to look ahead. Ask God for His direction. Regardless of what society says, THE WORD OF GOD SAYS you are committed for the rest of your life or your spouse's life. Divorce does not stand in the eyes of God.

    So, for those that are truly single ( never married ), come to know Christ as your Savior and obey the Holy Spirit's direction in activating AGAPE's double shield.

    For those that are divorced and not remarried, follow those same instructions, but knowing that the Scriptures indicate you must be reconciled to your former spouse or not marry again. You are in a very difficult position, but God is able to help you, and He does, when we recieve His help. Part 2 of Real Love will provide a link for those that are divorced.

    NOW let's place all these in order!

    REAL LOVE part 2! ( stay in this window )

    REAL LOVE part 2! ( open another window )

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