Eros: Romantic Love in the Bible

Definitions and examples of erotic love in God's Word

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O'Neal, Sam. "Eros: Romantic Love in the Bible." ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/eros-romantic-love-in-the-bible-363367. O'Neal, Sam. (2017, February 5). Eros: Romantic Love in the Bible. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/eros-romantic-love-in-the-bible-363367 O'Neal, Sam. "Eros: Romantic Love in the Bible." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/eros-romantic-love-in-the-bible-363367 (accessed October 17, 2017).
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The word "love" is a flexible term in the English language. This explains how a person can say "I love tacos" in one sentence and "I love my wife" in the next. But these various definitions for "love" aren't limited to English. Indeed, when we look at the ancient Greek language in which the New Testament was written, we see four distinct words used to describe the over-arching concept we refer to as "love." Those words are agape, phileo, storge, and eros.

In this article, we'll see what the Bible says specifically about "Eros" love.

Definition

Eros pronunciation: [AIR - ohs]

Of the four Greek terms that describe love in the Bible, eros is probably the most familiar today. It's easy to see the connection between eros and our modern word "erotic." And there are certainly similarities between those two terms -- as well as a few differences.

Eros is the Greek term that describes romantic or sexual love. The term also portrays the idea of passion and intensity of feeling. The word was originally connected with the goddess Eros of Greek Mythology.

The meaning of eros is slightly different than our modern term "erotic" because we often associate "erotic" with ideas or practices that are naughty or inappropriate. This wasn't the case with eros. Instead, eros described the healthy, common expressions of physical love. In the Scriptures, eros primarily refers to those expressions of love carried out between a husband and wife.

Examples

It's worth mentioning that the Greek word eros itself is nowhere to be found in the Bible. The New Testament never directly addresses the topic of passionate, romantic love. And when the New Testament writers did address the topic of sexuality, it was usually in terms of providing proper boundaries or prohibiting harmful behavior.

Here's an example:

I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9

But, strange as it may sound, the Old Testament does broach the topic of romantic love. In fact, the concept of eros is very well illustrated all throughout the book known as Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs. Here are a few examples:

2 Oh, that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is more delightful than wine.
The fragrance of your perfume is intoxicating;
your name is perfume poured out.
No wonder young women adore you.
Take me with you—let us hurry.
Oh, that the king would bring me to his chambers.
Song of Solomon 1:2-4

How beautiful you are and how pleasant,
my love, with such delights!
Your stature is like a palm tree;
your breasts are clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree
and take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes,
and the fragrance of your breath like apricots.
Song of Solomon 7:6-8

Yes, those are actual verses from the Bible. Steamy, right?! And that's an important point: the Bible does not shy away from the reality of romantic love -- nor even from the sensations of physical passion.

Indeed, the Scriptures elevate physical love when experienced within the proper boundaries.

Again, these verses do not contain the word eros because they were written in Hebrew, not Greek. But they are proper and effective examples of what the Greeks envisioned whenever they spoke or wrote of eros love.