Re: John 21 again

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Tue Feb 18 1997 - 02:01:06 EST

Gary S. Shogren wrote:
> Thanks, Carl, Paul, Eric, Randy, others - for your good input on PHILEO and
> AGAPAO in Jn 21. As the interchange is getting a bit much to copy and
> respond to, I'll just put in my didrachma.

And, Gary, for the same reason, I will just respond to one of your
points, all of which were good (even if I don't completely concur with

> This is my subjective impression, but I can hardly think of a
> sermon I've heard on Jn. 21 that didn't focus on the synonym issue, to the
> overshadowing of the pastoral focus of Peter's work, or, of all things, what
> it looks like to have love for Christ. IMHO, good exegetical preaching not
> only takes the small bits into account, but it also helps the listener have
> a sense of the proportions of the issues in a passage...which, in Jn 21,
> means that the synonyms issue is minor (if one takes the words as having
> slightly different flavors) or minute (if one takes the words to be
> virtually interchangeable).

I propose another option for an application which is the case if one
does see this passage as drawing a contrast between these synonyms.
Peter, like (most, many, all: take your pick) Christians, professed a
love for the Lord. The Lord revealed to Peter by his questions that his
love, which was genuine, was still deficient. He then gave the
prescription to correct this situation: the pastoral care. It is by
caring for, by selflessly loving, others that we begin to approach the
type of love for God that He expects.

What I like about this option is that it can be demonstrated by the
text, it is in consonance with the Scriptures, and it is more than just
a scholarly discussion of Greek words. Now if I could just find a way
to translate it into the Ibanag language of the Philippines, which has
two words for love, both of whose distinct semantic domains include
different aspects of both AGAPAW and FILEW!



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