Re: Philadelphia vs agape

From: Mike & Ellen Adams (
Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 10:10:03 EDT

> David McKay
> wrote, concerning the use of: FILADELFIA and AGAPH:
> > I would have thought that in 1 Thess 4:9, we have an excellent example
> > of the words being used interchangeably.All compound words containing
> > "love" in Greek combine with FILEW, not AGAPH.
> > But in verse 9 Paul uses FILADELFIA for brotherly love, but then talks
> > about the love we should have for one another with the word AGAPH.
> > Surely these words are used synonymously here.

If the two words meant exactly the same thing, I would imagine there would
only be one word. Surely there is an overlapping of meaning, but there is
also a disctinction. I've always understood the "shadow" of difference is
that one meant a an affection-love, the other a committed-love. The word
AGAPE, though it may apply to either a "holy" or "unholy" love. It is used
far more frequently in the New Testament, I believe, for two reasons. 1.
because it is a broader term than PHILADELPHIA. 2. because scripture in
general deals with our will and motivations.

II Peter 1:7 admonishes us to add to our PHILADELPHIA AGAPE. The passage is
sequential, with each attribute built upon the other. Although many of the
words in this list may have some overlapping in meaning, the author is
clearly emphasizing the distinction, with each successive attribute built
on the foundation of the one(s) previous. Although there may not be huge
distinction between the two words, there is a distinction, and one that is
profitable to note in a context such as this.

Ellen Adams

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:25 EDT