There are two different Greek words – agapao and phileo –  meaning love in the New Testament.  In the King James Bible, the word agape is translated as charity or love, whereas phileo carries the thought of brotherly love and affection.

Phileo love is oriented to family and friends – a warm, caring love.  Here are some examples where phileo  is used: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew10:37), “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10), “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8).  We can see from these verses that phileo love is focused on loving family or Christian brethren.

Agape love gives and blesses without the thought of receiving love in return. Hence, agape is sometimes translated as charity, as charity graciously gives. It is also the highest form of love. The following verses demonstrate the use of the Greek word agape: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8); “God is love” (1 John 4:16); “love your enemies” (Matt 5:44); and “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  From these verses, we can see that this agape love is one of God’s attributes; that God’s attribute of agape love led Him to provide a savior for the world; that agape love includes loving our enemies; and that this highest standard of love means laying down our lives in sacrifice.