Bible Question:

What original Greek word was used for “love” in 2 Timothy 2:22?

Bible Answer:

The passage you refer to is,

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (NASB) 2 Timothy 2:22

The Greek word that is translated as “love” in this verse is AGAPEN. The root word is AGAPE which refers to the highest form of love. This type of love is not selfish. It is described in 1 Cor. 13:4-8a and illustrated by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross for each one of us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (NASB) Rom. 5:8-10

This Greek word is used throughout most of the New Testament. For example, it occurs in the following verses:

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (NASB) John 13:35

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (NASB) John 15:13

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . (NASB) Ephesians 2:4

. . . and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge . . . (NASB) Ephesians 3:19

Another Greek word, PHILEO, is used in only seven verses in the New Testament. Here are three of them,

For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (NASB) John 5:20

. . . for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. (NASB) John 16:27

If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 16:22

PHILEO refers to the love that occurs between friends. It has compassion and warmth. These verses tell us that God the Father has a compassionate love for Jesus as well as for us, and those who reject Jesus are cursed by God the Father.


AGAPE and PHILEO express the emotions of the heart. AGAPE is the greater of the two.

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