Re: AGAPW, FILW: etymologies - Was: What language(s) did Jesus

From: Ronald Ross (
Date: Wed Feb 12 1997 - 18:06:39 EST

Walt McFall wrote:
> Hi David,
> Just a note here. I have often heard many (well intentioned)
> preachers claim that the word AGAPh *really* means a
> "God-type of Love". This makes me cringe...
> In 2 Sam 13 (LXX) both AGAPAO and AGAPh refer to Amnon's
> love (which included his incestuous *rape*) of his half sister Tamar !
> Also, in 2Tim 4:10 Demas forsook Paul because he *loved* (AGAPAO)
> this present, evil world !
> Anyway...
> For an interesting look at this topic (specifically regarding the verse you're
> discussing)... take a look at D.A. Carson's book "Exegetical Fallacies"
> Baker Books, pp. 31-33 and pp. 51-53 (Word-Study Fallacies).
> Semper Fi,
> Walt McFall

While I am inclined to believe that there are no (very few?) absolute
synonyms and that therefore "AGAPAW" and "FILW" must be different is
some (probably very minor) way, I fully agree with Walt McFall and
others in that whatever the difference is, it cannot be the one we so
often hear from the pulpit (God's love vs human love, etc.). I have not
been able to read this thread in its entirety, and so apologise if
someone has already referred to the Louw & Nida article on these two
verbs. These authors discount the God's love/Man's love contrast, but
point out some other *possible* interesting contrasts (25.43).

Ron Ross
Department of Linguistics
University of Costa Rica
UBS Consultant

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