The Greek word ‘storge’ as we seen yesterday, would best be described as affection. C.S. Lewis describes this kind of love as ‘the humblest and most widely diffused of loves’. The Greek Lexicon defines storge as ‘affection, especially of parents to offspring; but also of offspring to parents’. The image we should start with in our minds, is that of a mother nursing her baby or a cat with her kittens, all nuzzling together, purring, licking, milk, warmth and the smell of new life.
We need to understand storge, is the love and affection that naturally occurs between parents and children, can exist between siblings, and exists between husbands and wives in a good marriage. The word only occurs once in the New Testament in Romans 12:10 in the word, philostorgos, which is a compound word made up of philos (the noun form of phileo, which we will consider later) and storge. Romans 12:10 is a very important verse, directing us to be very loving and kind to each other.
Storge is never used alone in the NT. It doesn’t describe the love of God in sending His Son into the world for us because storge is natural, almost automatic and inevitable. It’s the type of love that binds families together, races, clans and social groupings (including national unity and patriotism).
There are, though, MANY instances concerning how a loving parent is to treat their children, and how loving children are supposed to treat their parents.
“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (The Fifth Commandment) [Exodus 20:12]
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. ” [Proverbs 13:24]
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” [Ephesians 6:1]
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” [Ephesians 6:4]
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. … Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church …” [Ephesians 5:21-25] (the word love here is actually agape).
Storge is a need-love, if we consider once more the image of the mother with the baby, or the cat with the kittens, the need and need-love of the young is obvious, so is the Gift-love of the mother. She gives births, gives milk, cares and protects.
The is a great difference between Storge (affection) and the love the Bible commands we as believers to show. Storge can love the unattractive, it doesn’t expect too much; it turns a blind eye to some faults, it suffers long, it is kind and it forgives quickly. However, God loves the unlovable and we his children should do the same. 1 John 4:19 says, ‘we love him, because he first loved us’ and Romans 5:8 goes that step further ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’. This is an incredible love and far deeper then a mere affection.
For further reference I recommend C.S. Lewis’s classic book ‘The Four Loves’