Types of Love – Eros, Phileo, Agape & Storge


Yes, there are more types of Love, than just one. This post on the types of love.

The Greeks had four words to describe what we call love, Eros, (romantic love), Phileo, (enjoyment, fondness, friendship), Storge (family loyalty) and Agape (unconditional love with stick-ability). I like to think of them broadly as;

  1. Eros

A love felt particularly within the body (trembling excitement, elation, joy), coloured and underpinned by deep and beautiful procreative urges. C.S. Lewis distinguishes Eros from natural sexual urges and lusts, because Eros is a state of the heart and while it is intimately related to sex, sex can exist, and often does exist, without Eros enlivening it.

See also: Definition of Love

It leads to children, family, joy and laughter. It is good and right, but it is usually not enough to sustain a relationship long term. Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love, usually between a man and woman, but can also be “platonic” and extend to deeply intimate friendships.

Socrates defined Eros as also working with the soul to recall knowledge of beauty , and in that capacity contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth; While Eros can simply be an earthy thing, when Spirit infused and elevated to it’s true position, it speaks deeply of universal mysteries, and is usually most keenly expressed within the most sacred of all relationships, that between husband and wife.

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Eros suggests that even sensually-based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence . The elevated buzz of Erotic love is said to naturally fade within a year of its beginning. Perhaps it is too exhausting and all consuming? Perhaps we just get lazy?

I don’t necessarily think it has to fade at all, and part of the purpose of this blog is to record my thoughts and experiences on Eros. And how we can nurture and maintain this beautiful love in our lives.This is the erotic love between men and women which is a sensual love.

It is acceptable within the confines of marriage but outside of this matrimonial union, it is seen as sinful and why Paul told the Corinthians that “if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor 7:9 ).

This love is what gets many people, even Christians, into serious trouble because they can commit adultery if left unchecked and not resisted, they can commit adultery of the heart (Matt 5:28), it can lead to an addiction to pornography, and it can become an idol in itself. While this level of love is necessary and healthy within marriage, outside or before marriage it can be totally destructive.

  1. Phileo

If Eros is the love of the body, Phileo is the love of the soul. It is easy love and affection, it is bent towards our natural tastes and preferences. It embodies culture and beliefs. It’s about the friendship you feel towards people like you, with the same interests, social graces, and style. In the scriptures, this kind of friendship love is used to describe many relationships. God is said to have this kind of love for us and Jesus.

See also: Bible Verses about Love

Jesus felt this kind of love for his disciples, parents felt it about their children and children to their parents. It is not then a shallow love, but rich in emotion and feeling, like when your heart beams towards your child when they do something wonderful. However it is also described as a negative shallow love, natural and exclusive and conditional.

Phileo is soul love, and it’s strength and value will depend on the elevation of the soul of the bearer.This is the type of love that David and Johnathan had and was about as intense as it can be outside of the love that God displays. These two men would have died for one other. This love produces a bond that eros and storge love cannot compare with.

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This is the love that Christians are commanded to have for one another (Rom 12; 1 Cor 13). Jesus told the disciples and He tells us today, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-14) . This love is very unselfish and is like the love where soldiers display while under fire trying to save a fellow soldier who is wounded, where in combat a soldier falls on a grenade to save the life of his fellow soldiers, and where someone dies or risks dying for someone or others in order to save or protect their lives.

  1. Agape

Is more of a parental, mature, sacrificial kind of love. The Thayer Lexicon describes agape beautifully when it says “to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above all other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it.” In a way it is as idealistic as Eros, in that it is a crazy love that will not let go.

Agape loves, usually at cost to the bearer. Agape puts the beloved first and sacrifices pride, self-interest and possessions for the sake of that beloved. This is the love that God has for us which inspired him to sacrifice His son and for His son to obey and sacrifice himself. It is the kind of love we are commanded to have for one another. It is a love of supreme greatness.

See also: Bible verses about Loving others

Agape love is the most supreme love of all and is an attribute of God and does not come naturally to humans. This type of love is supernatural as Jesus displayed on the cross saying “forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This love is not as much a noun (a thing) or what is felt but it is displayed by what someone does.

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Love is a verb.it is an action.it is what you do like Jesus dying for us while we were still sinners as summed up in Romans 5:7-8 “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How many people do you know or have you heard of that died for their enemies? Jesus did.

In fact “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) and it is not a love that condemns but one where “He came into the world to save the world” (John 3:17b).

  1. Storge

This is the love of community and family. Often dutiful, sometimes unfeeling, but very strong none the less. It is a natural, carnal love, but powerful enough to be a real hindrance to spiritual growth, especially when family and culture are holding you down. It is a love that may pull you towards a lesser path.

This is the type of family love that is commonly found in the Bible and is vital to the proper function of families and can sometimes be found in extended families. This is the type of love found in Martha and Mary who lost their brother Lazarus.

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It is the type of love that Abraham had for his son Jacob, the kind that Noah had for his wife and children, and the same kind of love that any father and mother has for their children as well as the children’s love for their parents.

Storge love can also occur between a husband and a wife. It appears to be the same type of love that animal parents seem to display for their young. Storge is a Greek word (στοργή) for family love and frequently used for natural affection.


Contributor: Temiloluwa Olaposi

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