Re: Synonyms in John 21 etc.

From: George Gunn (
Date: Fri Jun 21 1996 - 16:57:23 EDT

A long time ago, Trench observed a similar distinction to what Don Wilkins
has suggested. Although he does not use quite the same descriptive terms,
"higher"/"lower," the distinction he makes is as follows:

        "agapasthai ... expresses a more reasoning attachment, of choice
and selection ..., from a seeing in the object upon whom it is bestowed that
which is worthy of regard; or else from a sense that such is due toward the
person so regarded, as being a benefactor, or the like; while [phileisthai],
without being necessarily an unreasoning attachment, does yet give less
account of itself to itself; is more instinctive, is more of the feelings or
natural affections, implies more passion" (Trench, Syn., sect. xii)

George Gunn
Shasta Bible College

At 04:08 PM 6/21/96 EDT, you wrote:
>Until Don Wilkins' post, everything I have read assumes or implies that
>AGAPAW is a "higher" form of love than FILEW, I guess because it is based on
>the "intrinsic worth" of the object loved and seeks nothing (e.g.,
>friendship) in return, whereas the "affection" inherent in FILEW somehow
>implies a more selfish love. I hope there is further discussion around Don's
>intriguing and definitely provocative remarks. Has this perspective been
>discussed in journals/books?

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