And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own … 1 Samuel 18:1

We’ve been discussing Agape, which is the most important of the three kinds of Love when it comes to having a successful marriage. This is not to say that the other kinds of Love are not important. The challenge comes when people get mixed up about these kinds of Love. This is what leads to broken hearts and divorce.

Let’s look at what is called Phileo today. Phileo is Friendship Love, Brotherly Love or Natural Love. You must have heard of Philadelphia, a city in the United States. The name is a combination of two words Phileo and Adelphos, Love and Brother. Philadelphia is the city of Brotherly Love.

Phileo  is Love that’s natural. It’s Love that naturally exists between siblings or good friends. The limitation of this kind of Love is that it is mostly reactionary. There are many siblings who are at logger heads. Some siblings even hate each other and don’t talk to each other. When siblings are at peace with each other, they can affirm love for each other but the minute someone decides to get out of line, the Love is gone.

We find a great example of Friendship Love in the story of King David and King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Even though Jonathan was by right to succeed Saul as King over Israel, he loved David so much that he was ready to be second in command. King Saul was so enraged that he tried to kill Jonathan but Jonathan was unshaken.

The thing about Phileo is that it develops over time. There are some folks who call everyone they meet their Friend. A Friend is someone that you know, like, trust and respect. This is different from an acquaintance. An acquaintance is someone you barely know. You may have a colleague at work who you don’t see outside the work place. You don’t really know that fellow. He’s not your friend.

These clarifications are simple and obvious but you’ll be surprised at how much trouble some fellows have gotten into for thinking an acquaintance is a friend. Some even introduce an acquaintance as their friend to someone else and then get into trouble because the third party dealt with the acquaintance on the basis of that introduction and paid dearly for it.

It’s important to know who your real friends are and often it is when you face some adversity that you know who is a real friend and who is a “fair weather” friend. We will look a bit more closely at the importance of Phileo in marriage tomorrow.


Thank you Lord for helping me to understand the difference between a Friend and an Acquaintance. I pray for a discerning spirit to enable me to always separate true friends from “Fair weather” friends. Amen.


Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 25:19, 1Samuel 18:1