“True Love”

“As for the two words translated ‘love’ in the New Testament (Authorized Version) one of them, ‘phileo’, really means ‘to be fond of’. It comes in as a root in such words as ‘philanthropic’ and ‘Philadelphia’….

The other New Testament word rises to a much greater height. This is the word that is always used in the Bible to express God’s love to us. ‘God so loved the world’ – ‘Agapao’. Now this is the word which is used in the text we are considering. ‘Husbands, love your wives’ in the sense that God loves. There is nothing higher than this. Or, to put it another way. Take the list describing the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The Apostle is contrasting the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, and he says, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love’ – not erotic feeling, not merely being fond of, it is the love that resembles God’s love – love, joy, peace, and so on. That is the love, says the Apostle, which husbands should have and show towards their wives…

The Apostle is addressing people who are filled with the Spirit, for they alone can show this love. It is idle to say this to a man who is not a Christian. He is incapable of it; he cannot love with this kind of love. But the Apostle says that Christians should manifest this kind of love because they are filled with the Spirit. So one of the ways in which I show that I am filled with the Spirit is not so much that I go into ecstasies and manifest certain phenomena; it is the way I behave towards my wife when I am at home, it is this love which is ‘the fruit of the Spirit’.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “True Love; Ephesians 5:22-33” in Life in the Spirit