Sunday, November 27, 2016

The word eros is not in the Bible

How are we women to love Jesus? What is the nature of our love to our Savior? Or even of His love to us corporately and individually? Are there different kinds of love?

There are different kinds of love. In English, we use the word love in many ways, but it's still the word love. I love ice cream. I love a short commute. I love my sister. I love my husband. I love Jesus.

In the Greek however, the language of the New Testament, there are different words to express different kinds of love. There is agápe, éros, philía, and storgē.

Storge is used in the Greek to indicate a strong familial affection. I love my family, Also, I love my country. Storge is not in the Bible.

Philia was famously used by Peter in his response to Jesus when Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" (John 21:15-16). Philia is a kind of strong brotherly affection. It's where the word Philadelphia comes from. When Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Jesus, using the word agape, Peter (ashamed) persistently used the word philia in reply.

Agape love is used in the Bible several times and it's an important version of the word. Agape means love but when it's used in the Bible it specifically means a love from God, defined by God. It is the very nature of God, "God is [agape] love". (1 John 4:8). Agape is a sacrificial love. It's the kind of love displayed by the Good Samaritan to the beaten and robbed man in the road. It's the kind of love we're called upon to love our enemies with, by the way. (Matthew 5:44). It's God's love, holy and good.

Eros is a sexual love, or at the very least, an intimate physical love. It's a fleshly sensual love.

I've written about the romaticizing Jesus movement. This is a movement where a female "Bible teacher" teaches or sings or speaks about a Jesus where we have intimacy with Him. These women use language to indicate physical activity with Jesus is part of our normal relationship with Him. These women have taken the concept of love and twisted it. They have stretched the metaphorical biblical language in the Bible of Bride (church) and Groom (Jesus) into realms where the actual marital bedroom benefits with an actual husband on earth are also part of our heavenly relationship with Jesus.

Ladies, this should not be.

"While it is true that the Bible utilizes images of marriage to parallel Christ’s relationship to the church, two things must be taken into account. Firstly, Christ relates to the church as a collective unit. He is married to the community as a whole and not to billions of individuals who claim to serve him–he is not a polygamist. Secondly, the love Christ shares with his church is not defined by the Greek term "eros" from which the English word “erotic” is derived, but is expressed with the noun "agape" (pronounced ah-gah-pay) which denotes love demonstrated in deeds. Those who view themselves as children of God are not called to exercise eros but agape; they are not invited to brief episodes of self gratifying sexual intimacy but to a lifetime of social and spiritual interaction." (Spectrum Magazine)

The word eros is the kind of love to Jesus and from Jesus these female teachers write about. I could post many examples from popular female "Bible teachers" who constantly express this kind of love in their lessons, or who describe their relationship with Jesus in this way, but I won't. You know what I'm talking about.

The word eros is not in the Bible. Not once. This erotic kind of love between a woman and her husband is fine and biblical. It's implied for example in Paul's missive to husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7. Yet even when Paul alludes to marital bedroom activity however, he never uses the word eros.

So for a teacher to use the word eros between women and her Savior is not biblical at all.

Ladies, when you hear a Bible teacher saying we love Jesus like a boyfriend, we are being enfolded in His arms, and worse things relating to our body, you know this woman is not teaching rightly. She cannot be rightly dividing the word of truth when she discusses physical intimate love to & from the Savior because that kind of love is not in the Bible. So where would she be getting this aspect of love from? Her flesh. False teachers always appeal to the flesh.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2).

We see so often depicted in this lyric by Kelly Carpenter and many other woman teachers a Jesus depicted romantically, but it's false.
You are my desire, no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Kelly Carpenter – "Draw Me Close"
As a final thought, ladies, we can know Jesus through His word and learn of His many and infinite attributes through study of it.  His character is endlessly fascinating, and it's deeply satisfying to ponder His attributes. Why add an attribute to our relationship with Him that does not exist? We have enough in Him already. His grace alone is sufficient. He is wonderful and true and good. He is not our lover and He is not our boyfriend. He is not our cheerleader. He is the Ancient of Days, come to take His seat and make the earth His footstool! He is-

the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5)
the first and the last, who died and came to life (Revelation 2:8)
the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Revelation 2:18).

The moment you hear or read of a singer or teacher speaking of Jesus is this eros way, now you know to avoid her immediately, and why. It's simply not biblical.

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Further reading:

Sisters, Jesus is not your cheerleader
Toning down the truth of Jesus to make him more palatable actually does the opposite—he loses all richness of flavor and becomes a bland imitation. . . . The news we get to share is so much better than 'You’re okay, I’m okay.'
Romanticizing God
If we eroticize God, we may end up worshiping a buddy/boyfriend who bears little resemblance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As Nichole Nordeman said so aptly in song, "Let me not forget to tremble."
Romance with Jesus: the Bigger Picture
A common thread here is relating to or experiencing Jesus in a specific way, through the imagination or imagery of romance whether based on human relationships or subjective, mystical ecstasy in the mind.  This places a human idea on a pedestal and exchanges something glorious for something dull. Human romance may seem wonderful when it’s between a man and woman, and it is.  But should it be our model for relating to God?  Last time (and every time) I checked, the Bible doesn’t say, "Women, love Jesus as wives romantically relate to their husbands or as girlfriends romantically relate to their boyfriends."

4 comments :

  1. Eros can be read as the ascendant type of love (to deity) where agape would be descendant (to neighbor). There's also the Song of Songs to contend with. This call to perfectionism contrasted with the great humanity of the ancients has to be understood.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      LOL, your comment completely refutes everything I'd written. Did you read the article?

      First, eros is never ascendant to the deity, whose name is Jesus by the way. We don't love Jesus that way. It is inappropriate. Further, the word eros is not the kind of love mentioned in the Bible. Other kinds of love is.

      Second, the link to Spectrum Magazine resolved the Song of Songs issue. They write:

      "The tendency to confuse Divine love with sexual intimacy stems back to some prudish theologians of antiquity who were uncomfortable with the inclusion of the Song of Solomon in the Bible and interpreted it as an allegory of Christ’s desire for his church. While it is true that the Bible utilizes images of marriage to parallel Christ’s relationship to the church, two things must be taken into account. Firstly, Christ relates to the church as a collective unit. He is married to the community as a whole and not to billions of individuals who claim to serve him–he is not a polygamist. Secondly, the love Christ shares with his church is not defined by the Greek term “eros” from which the English word “erotic” is derived, but is expressed with the noun “agape” (pronounced ah-gah-pay) which denotes love demonstrated in deeds. Those who view themselves as children of God are not called to exercise eros but agape; they are not invited to brief episodes of self gratifying sexual intimacy but to a lifetime of social and spiritual interaction." end Spectrum Mag

      Third, your sentence "This call to perfectionism contrasted with the great humanity of the ancients has to be understood" sounds lofty but does not make practical sense.

      --No one is calling anyone to perfectionism.
      --'the great humanity of the ancients' is a perplexing notion. The same humanity that slew an innocent Man in the most inhumane way possible than man ever inhumanely devised- crucifixion?
      --nothing from the ancient humans must be understood regarding this issue, not when the Bible has spoken to it. God's word settles the matter.

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  2. It is true that no one is called to perfection, in the sense that 21st Century Christians understand it. However, we are being carried along to a great journey to Perfection: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." [New American Standard Version translation] The Greek word for perfection is ἐπιτελέσει [transliteration: epitelesei] It is a future indicative active verb [future-obvious meaning; indicative-the manner of affirmation is positive, not in doubt or anomalous, as another verb affirmation, subjunctive, would indicate; active, the One performing it is the agent of action].

    That is, God, through Jesus Christ, will bring us to a completed maturity. That is true for all uses of the sense of perfect Christians in the New Testament. We are being matured--perfection through the agency of God in Christ. As you say, there is no "sinless perfection" until that time we arrive in the Heavenly presence of Christ.

    Christ assured us of this kind mature perfection at the cross when he cried it, "It is finished [paid in full in Divine currency; never has to be paid again]"

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  3. I absolutely agree with you on this. Very well written.

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