"Preacher Greek"

From: perry.stepp@chrysalis.org
Date: Tue Jun 25 1996 - 09:37:52 EDT

The Bible Answer Man replied to my reply:

> No one to my knowledge ever said that _all_ uses of AGAPAW or AGAPH
> refer to
> "divine" type of love. What was said was that when the biblical
> writer wants
> to refer to the divine, self-sacrificial love, the writer was more
> prone to
> use AGAPAW instead of FILEW as is illustrated many times in
> Scripture for the
> preference of the term.

No, but what *has* been in view throughout this thread is the
question of AGAPAW and PHILEW in Jn 21, and the artificial
distinction some try to draw between the two on the basis of some
intrinsic difference. This distinction does indeed preach well:
unfortunately (like many of the Greek points many preachers try to
appeal to), it is artificial and forced eisegesis, and not a proper
handling of the Word.
Louw and Nida make the best point, if one seeks a distinction,
and this based on useage, not intrinsic meaning:

  "people are never commanded to love one another with PHILEW or
  PHILIA, but only with AGAPAW and AGAPH. Though the meanings
  of these terms overlap considerably in many contexts, there are
  probably some significant differences in certain contexts; that is
  to say, PHILEW and PHILIA are likely to focus upon love or
  affection based upon interpersonal association, while AGAPAW and
  AGAPH focus upon love or affection based upon deep appreciation
  and high regard" (*Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based
  on Semantic Domains*, 1:25.43).

(Sorry about the long quote.)

Grace and peace,

Perry L. Stepp, Baylor University

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