Eros – Philia – Agape: The Three Greek Words For LOVE


In the Greek language there are three words that are used for love. The first one, eros, stands for sexual, romantic love. Eros is the kind of love mostly known by the world. This eros love is what generally motivates people.

loveThe second word, philia, generally refers to affection between friends. From this word we have Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love”. Although eros and philia have others as their focus, they both can be motivated by self-interest, self-gratification and self-protection. They are both the kind of love that is designed to satisfy the desires of the one doing the loving. There may be an element of giving involved, but it is a giving for the purpose of getting something in return.

Agape loveThe third Greek word for love is agape. The meaning of this word for love stands in sharp contrast to that of the other two words. This word alone points to a completely self-sacrificing love, a love that lacks self-interest, self-gratification and self-preservation. Agape love is motivated primarily by the interest and welfare of others. In the New Testament, agape is the

Greek word most frequently used for the love for God, the love for spouses and the love for enemies. Agape love means action. It means that we act in a loving way towards others. It means we use our mind and our might for the benefit of another, without regard for ourselves. It is not based on our feelings.

Does this agape love sound familiar to the parents and caregivers reading this newsletter? I know many who demonstrate agape love toward their families. Sometimes this is the only way we can cope in our roles. Wishing you all eros, philia and agape love!

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