Has anyone ever said to you, “May the love of God surround you”? These are wonderful words to hear. They bring comfort to those who feel lonely, unloved, or fearful. But what do these words mean?
- “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.”
The psalmist praises God’s greatness and might. He declares, “Our soul waits for the Lord.” As you wait for the Lord, looking to Him for guidance and deliverance in whatever situation you face, rejoice! His help and love create a shield around you. Ask Him to refresh you with His love (hesed).
Hesed is often used in the Old Testament to describe the covenantal love of God surrounding you. There is no direct English or Greek equivalent, so it is often translated as love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, mercy, devotion, and favor.
The unfailing love of God is part of His covenant with you through Jesus. This means that it cannot be broken—you cannot be separated from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
The word hesed also carries the idea of peace. The New King James Version of Isaiah 54:10 says this…
- “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (emphasis added)
So then, if you say to someone, “May the love of God surround you,” you are blessing them. You are telling them, and asking God, to form a shield of His protection around them and cover them with unfailing love and covenantal peace.
Let’s look at four types of God’s love surrounding you.
What Are Four Types of God’s Love?
Jesus calls us, as followers, to…
- Love our enemies
- Love one another as He loves
- Love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls
- Love our children
- Love our spouses
In the New Testament, we see more aspects of God’s love. We don’t love our enemies in the same way we love our children. Nevertheless, Jesus calls us to love. So, what types of love is He describing?
In Greek, which is the primary language of the New Testament, agape love is considered the highest form of love.
Agape love represents unconditional love, loving another by choice and not obligation. It is a selfless love that focuses on others. It is sacrificial love, willing to give up everything for another. It is unconditional love, choosing to love even when you don’t have to.
Bible Verses About the Agape Love of God
- “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8
- “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”—1 John 3:16
- “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”—1 John 4:7-10
Storge is a Greek word for love that describes familial love: love between parents and children, siblings, husbands and wives. Storge love naturally develops as bonds are created. It is protective, loyal, selfless, and withstands many ups and downs.
Though the word storge is not found in scripture, you will find many verses about God’s design for the family. Storge’s opposite, astorgous, is found in scripture and means “without natural affection.” Paul writes in Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3 people will become so selfish in the end times that the natural love normally found in a family will be missing.
Storge love is displayed in the passages about Jairus caring for his sick daughter and Mary and Martha caring for their sick brother. In both instances, those in the caretaker roles ask Jesus for healing.
Bible Verses About the Storge Love of God
- “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…”—Ephesians 5:25-26
- “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”—Ephesians 6:1-3
- “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”—1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The word phileo is used in the Bible to refer to the love shared by close friends. You’ve heard the phrase, “We are so close, we’re like family.” This is a description of phileo love, a love of close friends as if they are family.
Romans 12:10 says to love each other with genuine affection and brotherly love, being devoted and delighting in honoring one another. This passage uses the Greek word philadelphia, which is translated as brotherly love. The instruction is to love your neighbors, friends, and others as if they are family.
Bible Verses About Phileo Love of God
- “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”—John 15:13
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’”—John 13:34-35
- “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”—1 John 4:7
Eros love is a word to express sexual love shared by a husband and wife who are joined together in marriage. This description of love is best reflected in the Song of Solomon, when the husband and wife are intimately connected and attracted to one another.
Eros love illustrates God’s design for intimacy, passion, and connection in marriage. Sadly, our culture today has twisted this divine expression of love into something vulgar and confusing. But this isn’t God’s design at all. This type of love is a call for every couple to come together as husband and wife with a foundation of their union being centered on Christ. God wants men and women to celebrate eros love within the boundaries of marriage.
Bible Verses About Eros Love of God
- “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you. Draw me away!”—Song of Solomon 1:2–4
- “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”—Hebrews 13:4
- “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”—1 Corinthians 7:8-9
How do these verses and truth about God’s love shape your heart and mind? How do they challenge you to see God’s love differently than you have before? As you can see, the love of God surrounds you in a multitude of ways. His love is complex yet straightforward at the same time.
Maybe you are hesitant to receive the love of God. Maybe you think you aren’t good enough or you must earn it. All you have to do is receive. God’s love opens the door to discovering true love.
God is love. His love is the highest, purest, and most selfless love—and Jesus is the embodiment of this truth.
This is why John 3:16 says…
- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
His love for you is bigger than you could ever imagine. First John 4:7-8 says God is love: agape, storge phileo, and eros. It is all-encompassing, all-protecting, and all-delivering. You simply need to trust.
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”—Psalm 34:7-8