What is the meaning of phileo love?

The Greek language has terms for four kinds of love. These terms are phileo, agape, storge, and eros. The two latter Greek terms for love are not mentioned in the Bible, although we do see them expressed in certain stories. To better understand phileo love, it must be defined as one part of these four terms.

Storge is affectionate love. This love exists naturally between family members and friends, such as the warm, unforced love shown between spouses, or between a parent and a child. Storge love is displayed in many stories in the Bible, such as in the stories of Noah, Jacob, and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Eros is sexual or passionate love. Song of Solomon paints the best example of this love. God created this love, just as He created all the other sides of love, and it is important within a marriage relationship. But the Bible also warns against eros outside of the husband and wife marital relationship (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Agape love is sacrificial love. This is the most noble and powerful type of love because it is an act of the will. Christ showed us agape love when he died on the cross, sacrificing Himself so that we can know eternal life and salvation.

Phileo love is brotherly love. This type of love is most often shown within close friendships. This is a generous and affectionate love that seeks to make the other person happy with no expectation for the acts of kindness to be returned. David and Jonathan are one of the Bible's best examples of phileo love within a friendship. First Samuel 18:1–3 describes their friendship and says, in part, that "… the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. … Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul."

Phileo love is shown toward people we feel warm and affectionate to. This means that we do not show our enemies phileo love because we do not feel warm and affectionate toward them. However, God does call us to show agape love toward those individuals we dislike and clash with (Luke 6:28; Matthew 5:44). As we grow closer to God and experience more of His compassion, we may even experience phileo love toward people we are beginning to understand better.

Related Truth:

What is the meaning of agape love?

What is the meaning of storge love?

Does the Bible say anything about friends?

What is a biblical definition of true friendship?

What is Christian fellowship and why is fellowship so important?

Return to:
Topical Truth

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is part of Got Questions Ministries

For answers to your Bible questions, please visit