Biblical love is often thought of in
isolation from romantic love. Biblical love may seem stoic or shallow compared to the romantic love of husband and wife. Is this an accurate picture of the Biblical love God intends for husband and wife? Dictonary.com defines romantic as passionate, fervent and ardent – fierce and vehement. Does the Bible even address romantic love, the kind we think of on Valentine’s Day? You bet it does!
Certainly there are various types of love described in the Bible. Love for friends, love for brothers and sisters, even love for your enemy. However, Biblical love always goes further than what most in the world think of as love. This is true especially when the Bible is describing the type of love husbands and wives should have for one another. In fact God says this love is so deep, abiding and powerful that it can only be fueled by the grace and power of God himself through his Holy Spirit. Wow, pretty cool stuff.
Here are four reasons biblical love is truly romantic love.
1. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because it unmasks and exposes common cultural substitutes for what may seem romantic and exciting as actually selfish and sinful. The Bible clearly defines the difference between true romantic love which does whatever is best for the cherished object and its sinful impostor, lust. So many of today’s popular music hits, movies and media portray romance as what the Bible actually describes as lust. The Bible warns of the long term devastation of lust thus spotlighting true love and guiding people to that instead. The Bible goes on to promise God’s blessing on love that flows from His Spirit. Don’t confuse sinful lust, secret forbidden romantic feelings and illegitimate attractions for exciting romance. All of those are recipes for heartache and disaster.
2. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because there are pages of sacred Scripture dedicated to its example. Read the PG rated book of Song of Solomon or the story of Ruth and Boaz. (Both by the way are also pictures of Christ’s intense and sacrificial love for his church.)
3. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because the greatest love story of all time is that of Jesus, God’s son, sacrificing all for the love of his people.
In a captivating way the Bible presents Christ’s love for his people as the love of a bridegroom for his bride. The Bible presents true love by showing Jesus Christ’s willingness to leave his throne, come to Earth, live without shelter and then be beaten and murdered to forgive and save his bride, the church. Isn’t this the stuff all epic love stories of all time are patterned from? Talk about a romantic type as a pattern. The book of Ephesians tells men that they should love their wives like Christ loved the church by giving himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25)
4. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because it encompasses all three words the ancient Greeks commonly used for our one word love. In addition, the Bible then adds a fourth not so common word to describe the ultimate love of God. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Geeks commonly used three words to depict several elements of what we include in our one word love. The Bible mentions or alludes to all three of those elements in talking about true Biblical love between husband and wife, then adds the foundation of Biblical love which is encompassed in the Greek word “agape.” The Greek word is the most powerful of the four words for love and describes God’s own love for us.
The Greeks used three words to describe various aspects of love. From “phileo” to “eros” to “storge” these words depict a love that includes friendship and the mutual enjoyment of sharing life together then add a physical intimate sexual component along with an intense family bond. Far from demeaning women to simply an object of physical desire or leaving love as a one dimensional friendship in the marriage bond, Biblical love depicted in the added word, Agape, crowns the love relationship between husband and wife with high respect and regard as well as deep sacrificial ramifications on many levels. Adding the fourth word for Biblical love, “agape,” elevates love to more than feelings, physical elements and family relationships to a decisive bond empowered by God’s Spirit that is as strong as death. It incorporates traits such as unending patience, unbelievable forgiveness, long suffering and even eternity itself. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
Note: The Greek word “eros” is not actually used in Scripture to describe love probably because it was derived from the name of a Greek god. However intimate physical love is referred to many times in the Bible between husband and wife. (Song 1:13, 4:5-6, 7:7-9, 8:10; 1Co 7:25; Eph 5:31; and Heb 13:4).
More could be said about fervent fierce romantic Biblical love that includes forgiveness, mercy, and sacrifice. More could be written on how the Bible depicts God singing and rejoicing over his bride, the church, but for now during this season of Valentine’s, understand that the Bible is applicable to today’s culture. Romantic love is not the invention of man, but the gift and example of a loving gracious God. Look to the Bible for your examples of what true romantic love between husband and wife is really all about.
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