In 1 Corinthians 13 we find one of the most quoted sections of scripture—a beautiful description of love. But to get the complete picture, we need to understand the background of the people who were reading this.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
In Corinthian culture, sex and love were often viewed as inseparable. If you grew up in this culture, you were exposed to various belief systems, especially the pantheon of Roman gods. The most obvious of all gods was Aphrodite— her temple was the most prominent religious fixture in the city sitting atop the acropolis, some 1500 feet above the city.
Aphrodite was the goddess of love, but what kind of love?
She was the goddess of eros love, or erotic love. Every evening around 1,000 priestesses or temple prostitutes would walk down from Aphrodite’s temple to the town of Corinth to offer their services to the residents—to help them in their “worship experience.”
If you lived in Corinthian culture 2000 years ago you would naturally assume that if you want to experience love the best way is through sex. Sound like any other culture you know?
Here is the problem with focusing on eros love: it’s about whatever makes me feel good.
There is nothing evil in itself about eros love, God designed us to be physically attracted to the opposite sex. Chemistry and passion are important parts of a relationship, but by itself, eros love does not provide a solid foundation for a long-term love relationship.
If you look to eros love for long-term satisfaction you may find yourself jumping from one relationship to another, continuously facing relational burnout, or see your approach to love becoming more and more about self-gratification.
What role does eros love play in your marriage or relationships with the opposite sex? How can you move away from self-gratifying love toward self-sacrificing love?
Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis, bestselling author of Today We Win: A Simple System To Achieve What Matters Most, host of The Bible Better Podcast, Bible Teacher at Valor Global Online School, and teaching pastor.