What Manner of Love

The greek word potapos primarily meant “from what country”, but came to mean “of what sort or kind”. It is used in the N.T. in a variety of contexts—of persons, Matt. 8. 27; Luke 7. 39; 2 Pet. 3. 11, and of things, Mark 13. 1; Luke 1. 29. In these verses, there is the element of astonishment and in some, even admiration.

After the Lord had stilled the storm on the lake, it evoked the statement, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him”, Matt. 8. 27. Consider this reaction against the background of this remarkable incident, and add to this the flavour associated with the word potapos. What sort or kind of man is this? How great? How wonderful? How amazing? Taking our word back to its source—Is He not of another “country”? Yes, He is singularly distinct, not only great but unique!

In 2 Peter 3. 11, the apostle uses the word to stress the need of holy and godly living on the part of Christians, because of the universal change which is yet to take place. In view of the temporary nature of our surroundings, we are called to live distinctive lives which show that we belong to “another country”.

1 John 3. 1 tells us that, because of the remarkable kind of love the Father has bestowed on us, we are called the children of God. We have been bom from above, and one day we will find our home in “that country which is in heaven”.

Consider again in our word the classical connection “what manner”. It reminds us of the greatness of the love of God. Reflect on the glorious, amazing and wonderful love which has made guilty and rebel sinners the children of God. Surely we do well to marvel at the singular quality of the kind of love which has been shown towards us—truly it comes from “another country”. It belongs to heaven, and has been manifested to us. Through Christ we have been brought into a sphere of blessing which is totally different from anything associated with the present world.

It should produce in us astonishment and admiration, as well as adoration. For God’s love in Christ is beyond all other love in its magnitude, Eph. 2. 4, and defies both explanation, 3. 19, and comparison, 1 John 3. 1.


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