Synonomy in John 21
While I tend to agre that there is probably no significance in the
alteration of agapao and phileo, I would add my two cents (probably less to
some) that there is good evidence that Jesus would have been conversant
in Greek and spoken in Greek on multiple occasions. Whether JOhn 21
rrepresents such an occurence is of course impossible to tell. In most
any situation, it is a toss up bwtween saying Jesus spoke Aramaic that is
translated into Greek in the Gospel text and saying he spoke in Greek
influenced by a Semitic language. If Jesus did in fact speak in Greek on
this occasion (and I am not mounting that argument as I don't think there
is good evidence either way), these two verbs coould be deliberate choices.
On the other hand, given that the author of John is probably also the
author of 1st John, and in 1st John 2 the author uses agape to refer to
loving the world, and he certainly doesn't mean agape in the "devotional"
sense commonly given it, even a delierate choice on the original speaker's part
may not have the devotional connotation we would like it to have (you do have
to admit, it is a nice thought devotionally, even if it isn't correct and
should therefore not be taught).