This sample conference content comes from a 10 minute discussion of the "Food for Thought" within the
inaugural 2019 program schedule:
From our culture’s perspective, the nearest meaning to "agapē love is to "esteem another" and, in some instances,
for personal benefit. How do we gain a more accurate understanding of this type of love?
1. Study the Greek noun "agapē" and the verb "agapaō" and extend this study using the Septuagint to identify
and study the corresponding Hebrew terms. Use several language helps references.
You'll discover that while the Greek verb "agapaō" (to love) is found in first century
extra-biblical texts to express today’s cultural meaning of "esteeming another," the noun "agapē" is almost
exclusively found in the Bible. In effect, this becomes a supernatural term that avails its meaning to those
who believe in God and read His word.
2. Collect all the verses with "agapē" and "agapaō" into three groups: those pertaining to God, Jesus Christ,
and human beings. As you study these collections, a greater understanding of "agapē" emerges.
Agapē is the love of the Father who desires that His children be with Him forever. Agapē is
the love of the Son who knows He's the only means that others will know of His Father's love for them. Agapē is
the love of God's children who know that everyone can be adopted by the Father Who accepts them as they are.
Agapē is selfless and encourages others to grow closer to the Father. Agapē is the divine love of God’s family.
But because only Jesus knows who's in the Book of Life, we are commanded, in a sense, to presume everyone is
potentially in the family.
3. Over time, test your working definition when you read the Bible, and you may discover that it does not
encapsulate the priority that Jesus places on "agapē" with his two great commands
Matthew 22:40 indicates that your working definition must incorporate some mention of God's
word which was authored by the Holy Spirit.
"Agapē" recognizes its basis in holiness.
Biblical scholarship recognizes and respects the force of God's Word.
Genuine "agapē" requires biblical scholarship.
Genuine biblical scholarship requires "agapē."
Without either, you cannot change anyone's mind including your own.
4. Re-test your working definition.
Against the Original Sin (Gen 3),
you gain a better understanding of how Adam and Eve failed. Their lack of biblical scholarship (Adam's failure
to ably teach resulted in Eve's mishandling of God's word) demonstrated their lack of "agapē." Without the
force of God's word to keep them holy, they could not alter their desire "to be like God."
The significance of this study of "agapē" is that without the constant reminder through Bible study, one
will forget and assume the natural and cultural meaning of the verb "love" as "esteeming love" without any
concern for one's holiness.