Today, we want to discuss the essence of the word ‘love’ as reflected in the New Testament.
Whereas the word ‘ahava’ (love) appears 45 times in the Old Testament, this number almost doubles in the New Testament!
One of the most interesting chapters in the whole Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. Many call it the ‘Love chapter.’ It is so thorough and complete that there is nothing we can add that was not taught before. Therefore, let’s look at the Hebrew word itself. If you know Greek, that’s fine, too, at least within the context of this chapter.
‘Love’ in Greek and Hebrew sounds similar: ahava and agápē (the consonants B or V and P were historically mixed up in hundreds of cases in countries that were under Greek occupation. In some languages, such as Hebrew, cross-phonetic difficulties are also evident with ‘G,’ ‘H’ and ‘R’ consonants). The main mixup is, as mentioned, with ‘P’ and ‘B’ or ‘V.’ If you take these into account, you’ll find almost the same word in Hebrew and Greek. From a linguistic perspective, there is no doubt that the words are related.
Some Bible scholars claim that ‘love’ as we see it in the said chapter is not at all the kind of love human beings experience. The King James translation took us to a ‘safe’ distance from simple love as we can experience it as people to the high virtue ‘charity.’ The other Greek scholars claim that ‘Agape’ is love that is of and from God, whose very nature is ‘love itself.’ This claim may be correct in its face value, but neither the scholars nor the King James translation can change the fact that Jesus, Yeshua, speaks to people about the very same feeling they recognize when they hear the word ahave (let not any obscure reasoning of agápē confuse us). You need very little to contradict King James translation. Just read verse 3 of the Love Chapter: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
What charity? Isn’t giving everything one owns to the poor considered charity? Of course, it is. It was then and it is today. The verse makes sense only if the word is replaced with what it is in Hebrew − LOVE. And, yes, it is the common human love to fellow men here.
If you still have doubts about calling YOU to show your human love, check out the gifts of your spirit granted to you by God:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith”
Perhaps you need more explicit wording:
“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen”