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The eight loves.

Love has patience. Love behaves kindly. It doesn’t act with uncontrolled emotion. It doesn’t draw attention to how great it is. It doesn’t exaggerate. It doesn’t ignore others’ considerations. It doesn’t look out for itself. It doesn’t provoke behavior. It doesn’t plot evil. It doesn’t delight in doing wrong: It delights in truth. It puts up with everything, puts trust in everything, puts hope in everything, survives everything. Love never falls down.

—Paul and Sosthenes, 1 Corinthians 13.4-8 KWL

Ancient Corinth’s definition of love didn’t match this definition. Neither, for that matter, does our culture’s most common definition.

When we hear love spoken of in movies, sung about in the coffeeshops, discussed on talk shows, and analyzed in books, it usually falls under one of the four definitions we find in C.S. Lewis’s book The Four Loves. (I wrote about it previously.) Lewis wrote on four ancient classical ideas which tend to be called “love” in English: Affection (Greek, storgí), friendship (fílos), romance (éros), and charity (agápi, the love Paul and Sosthenes wrote of in 1 Corinthians 13). Of those four concepts, affection, friendship, and romance tend to be what we speak about when we bring up “love.” Charity not so much.

Thing is, four concepts isn’t enough. English-speakers have a lot more ideas in mind when we talk about “love.”