What Is Philia Love?

What is philia love in the Bible? 

The two most common types of love found in the Bible are philia and agape. Agape describes God’s beautiful and unconditional love (read more here). Whereas philia is more a general word for love that refers to the love between friends. 

Philia love is based on care, respect, shared interests, and compassion for others. Let’s take a closer look at Philia love and see what it means. 

What Is Philia Love In The Bible? 

Philia might sound sort of familiar to you. It’s where the city of brotherly love gets its name, Philadelphia. This kind of love is found in friendships. This Greek word describes the powerful bond among friends. And the Bible talks about how we should apply this love to our lives. 

Philia Love Meaning

Philia Love Definition (φιλία) = friendship or brotherly love

Philia is the most general type of love found in the Bible and is used to show how Christians should interact with one another. We most often see this love in close friendships. In the Bible we see philia love displayed through David’s friendship with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3). 

It’s philia love that Jesus said should be the marker for his followers’ lives (John 13:35). The church should be known for this kind of love that centers around care, respect, compassion, and deep connections among each other. 

Further, when Jesus called himself a “friend of sinners” he used the word philia. Meaning that he loves us even when we were still sinners. He displayed compassion and cared for us when we didn’t deserve it. 

Christians are called to be part of the body of Christ, his family. For this to happen it is philia love that is required. This means that we ought to be warm and devoted to one another. There will be times when this will be challenging, but this is what Jesus has modeled for us and now is calling us to do for others. 

Philia love involves close friendship that carries with it warmth and affection. And this is not the kind of love that we are to have toward everyone, we can’t. Philia love requires both parties to participate. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus calls us to love our enemies. When he does so he uses the word “agape” love. We are to agape love everyone, we are to philia love those in the body of Christ. 

Philia love is what should be the marker for a Christian’s life. People should be able to identify who’s a follower of Jesus by how they display care, respect, and compassion for others. And in doing so they will be able to see the love that God has for them. 

Now, check out agape love: What Is Agape Love? (a practical explanation)

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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