May 2, 2018WOFCF Bible Study Explosion
Fruit of the Spirit Series – Part 1 of 9, Love (Gal 5:22-23)
If we had to rank all of the fruits of the Spirit in their order of possible importance, it is certain most, if not all of us, would agree that the quality of love would have to be #1. Please keep in mind, all of our Adult Bible Study lessons are ‘group-discussion’ focused and not ‘lecture-focused.’ So if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to share your thoughts with us and do not hold back on using your spiritual gifts. Tonight, we will begin our first lesson of this nine-part series. Let’s begin with understanding some of the different definitions on what love is from the different Bible dictionaries and commentaries:
Several words or word pairs are used in the New Testament to express love. One familiar word pair is philia/philein. These two words are always employed with a special sense of warmth and deep affection. Although they commonly deal with matters of the heart, the emotional aspect of man, these words are not restricted to purely human love. They are used at times in respect to God's love for his dear Son () and for God's love for those who also love Jesus (). They describe Christ's love for Lazarus (), for John his disciple (), and for the reproved believer ().
A word pair formed from the same root occurs in two compound nouns: philadelphos () and philadelphia (), both of which speak of brotherly love. The latter is the more frequent term and speaks of, "the love of Christians one to another growing out of a common spiritual life." Still another noun from this root is the word philostorgos, which also occurs in . Building upon the preceding philadelphia, this word carries the implication that in a real sense believers establish a family. Therefore, Christians are to treat one another with all the love and closeness of members of their family.
The other word pair that occurs with great frequency in the New Testament to express love is agapē. The noun agapē, is used of God's love and also of genuine Christian love, which reflects and acts in accordance with God's love (e.g., ). Indeed, "A Christian's whole soul attitude toward others is to love others and seek their highest good-no matter who or what-just as God does ()." Love is listed first because Paul undoubtedly believed it to be the most important of the virtues (see 1 Co 13:13) and because all of the others may be understood to be included in it and to flow out from it. Indeed, love is to be the operative dynamic of the Christian life.
Next week, we will continue with Fruit of the Spirit lesson series.