I don’t know about you, but in our home we take bible studying very serious. Its not something we do when we are tired or only on Sundays. When we study we often can get lost in one scripture for hours. You might say: “How is that possible?”
Say for instance that we are studying the verse in 1 John 4:7-8 that says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Seems pretty simple, easy to understand, nothing else to keep in mind right? However, if we look at how the Greek language is structured we will find that there are four Greek words for love. They are agape, phileo, storge, and eros. Three of them appear in the Bible.
In this verse when it says love, its using the word agape which is Gods love for us. An unconditional love. This type of love is expressed because of what it does, not because of how it feels. Very different from phileo which denotes a strong emotional connection.
Now just to churn your brain a little and show you something you have probably never considered before, lets look at John 21:15-17, just 3 chapters after Peter denies Jesus 3 times. We know this story, its Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him.
So whats the big deal about all of this? Its simply fascinating, just read along.
In verses 15-17 Jesus asks Peter 3 times, do you (Peter) love (agape) me. And three times Peter answers Yes Lord you know that I (phileo) you.
I believe that Jesus is testing Peter and asking him again and again so Peter can determine the depth of his love for Jesus. Is Peter willing to agape Jesus which implies unconditional non selfish, sacrificial love to the point of suffering if need be? Is he going to deny Jesus again? I am sure that after this encounter with Jesus, Peter had a thing or six to think about if you know what I mean.
So to sum all of this up: if we want to accurately understand the Bible, it is important that we examine closely what we are reading so we can better apply it to our life. Often because of misunderstandings in scripture, people manipulate and misinterpret what was written. That’s why its important for every christian, man, woman and child to learn the scriptures and pray for Gods discernment and understanding.
I hope with the examples I wrote above you will be inspired to dissect your bible piece by piece and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. In the coming weeks I am going to list some really good resources I have used since I came to Christ almost 20 years ago, so make sure you check back soon under the Bible Study Resources section. For now I will leave you with one really cool tool you can access online by going to http://biblos.com/
Please be sure to post your comments and let me know if this post was helpful for you.
Lots of Love – Mariana