Love (Gk. ἀγαπάω, agapao, ἀγάπη, agape). (17:26; Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8, 1 John 2:5, 15) Strong’s 26
The verb and noun forms of this word are each used well over 100 times in the NT, so it is a fairly common word. It is used commonly outside both the NT and Christian literature as well. In non-Christian literature, this word is used much like the term “love” in English, referring to affection for people, things, etc. Christians adopted this word, following Jesus’ use of it, and gave it a narrower and more particular meaning, “divine love.” It is always used in this particularly Christian way in the NT. Divine love is always sourced in God, and is an expected expression of a Christian’s love for God and other Christians. The essence of this divine love is that it affirms eternal and infinite value. When the NT forbids this love, it always has a temporal object in mind (e.g. honored seats, the world). When it encourages it, there is always an object of eternal and infinite value in view, that is, God or humans. Finite human beings are of infinite value simply because God created them in His own image, forever. God affirms that His image, a human being, is of infinite and eternal value (John 3:16). Christians, likewise, must make the same affirmation of love with respect to every human being, especially believers (1 John 4:7, 8).