Re: Jn 21:15-17

From: McKay family (
Date: Sun Apr 19 1998 - 01:07:25 EDT

So far, in the latest [but probably not last] discussion on this passage, I
have not seen any citations of the way the 2 words for love are used in the
rest of John's writings, and in the rest of Scripture. When I did a study on
their use, I found that AGAPAW and FILEW are often used interchangeably in
the Bible. The big distinctions people make between them are simply not
sustainable. This is why many Bible translations choose to translate them
both as simply "love."

For instance: When Shechem raped Dinah, and fell in "love" with her
afterwards, when
Amnon "lusted" after and then raped Tamar, when Samson fell in "love" with
Delilah, the LXX uses AGAPAW. (It also uses it for David's love for
Jonathan, Solomon's love for God, and God's love for us, of course.)

It is used in Proverbs of the love of pleasure and wine and in Ecclesiastes
of the love of your wife, but also of the love of money.

In Hosea it is used of Ephraim's illicit lovers, of the love of a
prostitute's earnings, of loving detestable things, and of loving to oppress
the weak. In Zechariah it is used of loving truth and peace, but also of
loving false oaths.

In Isaiah it is used of God's love for man, but also of men's love of
bribes, of an adulterer's love of his bed, and in Jeremiah it is used of the
love God's people have for false gods, of Judah's love of false prophecies,
astrology, and of wandering away from God. In Lamentations it is used of
Jerusalem's false lovers, and in the same way in Ezekiel.

And in the NT, it is true that it is often used of God's love for us. But
FILEW is also used this way.

AGAPAW is also used of the ordinary love of sinners for one another (see
Luke 6: 32)
In Luke 11:43 it is used of the Pharisees' love of the place of honour in
the synagogue, and in John 12:43 it is used for loving the praise of men
more than the praise of God.

In 2 Tim 4: 10, it is used of Demas' love for this present world.In 2 Peter
2: 15, it is used of Balaam's love of the wages of unrighteousness.

FILEW is often used of God's special love, and is not at all a lesser word
for love. Both FILEWand AGAPAW are used of "the disciple whom Jesus loved,"
and in John 5:20 it is used of the Father's love of the Son (you can't get a
greater love than that!) It is also used of Jesus' love for Lazarus, the
Father's love for us, and Paul uses it of our love for Jesus, while John
uses it of God's love for the Laodiceans.

FILEW is, of course, also used negatively, but I don't need to give you
those references to establish my case that, to a degree, the 2 words are
used interchangeably.

David McKay

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:31 EDT