By Doug Bell
2 Corinthians 7:2
"Make room in your hearts for us..."
If you read this verse in the KJV It reads; “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man."
-- 2 Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)
But even the NKJV says;
"Open [your hearts] to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one."
-- 2 Corinthians 7:2 (NKJV)
Even though the Greek lacks ‘in your hearts,’ it is implied by verse 3, where Paul says,
"I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together."
-- 2 Corinthians 7:3 (ESV)
The Apostle is encouraging all the Corinthians to “give back” or “return” the love Paul had for them. The Greek language is far different than English. For instance, I can say “I love potato chips, and I love my wife.” There isn’t any variation or intensity to show which I love the most (My wife, if you had any doubt!). But in the Greek language there are four different words to express which type of love is being expressed:
1.) Eros (ἔρως): Refers to romantic love felt towards one’s spouse. This Greek term is where the word “erotic” is derived from. The word "Eros" is not actually used in either the Old or New Testaments.
2.) Phillia (φιλία): Refers to feelings one has towards close friends “brotherly love” This word was used in the New Testament to describe Jesus’ love for his disciples (John 20:2) and for Lazarus (John 11:3).
3.) Agape (ἀγάπη): This is the kind of love that we should have for all men, and also for our enemies. It is a selfless kind of love that Christians must have in regard to acting in the best interest for all human beings.” But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44).
4.) Storge (στοργ): This Greek word refers to love we have for our parents, siblings, our children and other members of our family. Paul used this word in the negative in Romans 1:31 when he described the pagans that he was in contact with, beings without “natural affection.”1
I’m sure you have heard enough sermons or read that of all the Greek words for Love, that Agape Love is the greatest. The reason for this, is that it is the type of love God the Father has shown us in the Vicarious, Substitutionary Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ! (Meaning)
Vicarious = instead of someone else.
Substitutionary = suffered by one person as a substitute to the benefit & advantage of another.
Atonement = the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
And this Caring, Helping, and Sacrificial type of love (Agape), is what Christians are to show! In 1 Corinthians 13, ever time Paul the Apostle says we are to love, he uses Agape!
Love is SO important to the Christian Life that Jesus' tells us in John 13:
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And Jesus also tells us Matthew 22:
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
And we have Paul's words Romans 13;
8 ¶ "Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."