Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Beginning of Love

Study Starter:  The Beginning of Love
By: Christopher Wiles

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Love is in the air!  With Valentine’s day fast approaching everybody is talking about love.  However, people always talk about love in our culture.  They talk about loving pizza, loving pets, and loving the President. (Really, some people do!  Check it out on FB here.)  Sometimes I think we’ve gotten love confused with the word “like”.  The best way to help us keep on the straight and narrow on true love is to teach from the Bible and model it for everyone around us.  Here’s the skinny about love from Hebrew.

Hebrew,  why not start here?  Some Jews & Christians consider Hebrew to be the first language through which God spoke in creating the world.  Our English word “Love” is in Hebrew “ahavah” (H160) which is made of four basic Hebrew letters “AHVH” (aleph-hei-vav-hei). I think it is possible the root of the word is the “HV ” which means “to give”.  This comes from Strong’s number H3051 “YHV”, but the Y drops out in the imperfect tense when and you put an “A” in its place to make “AHV” (Qal imperfect 1st common singular.  You can download the Hebrew parsing charts HERE and go to page 17 for verbs beginning with "Y"). If all of that made no sense, just know the two following concepts.
  • The word “AHAVAH” is used over 40 times (that’s AHAV with a feminine “AH” ending) and often talks about sacrificial love.  
  • When you add the “A” (aleph) on the front of "HV" to make it “AHV” you get the phrase, “I WAS GIVING” or “I AM GIVING.” 
Thus, I believe the word "love" originally having roots in the phrase “I give.”  You can find this word used in Genesis 29:20 after Jacob has given seven years of his life for Rachel, “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the LOVE (AHAVAH) he had to her.”  You can also find it in 1 Kings 10:9 stating “The Lord LOVED Israel forever” and “Hatred stirs up strife, but LOVE covers all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12) 

What does that mean for us?  Maybe we would be best served to use our word “LOVE” when we are talking about giving to someone rather than just enjoying something.  This Valentine’s Day, give a gift to someone you love, whether a spouse, friend, child, or neighbor.  Give them the gift of your LOVE.  

Oh, and don’t forget why we choose to give that special gift.
“We LOVE because He first LOVED us.” (1 John 4:19)

Footnote: I first found the idea of the connection of love & giving in Jewish Magazine (Apr 1999) but the Hebrew Lexicon work verifying the possible etymology is all my own, which explains why you don't see any source citations.

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