Re: Jn 21:15-17

From: McKay family (
Date: Sun Apr 19 1998 - 10:47:01 EDT

I said:
 When I did a study on
>> their use, I found that AGAPAW and FILEW are often used interchangeably
>> 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."

Jack replied:
> Examples of AGAPAW as [preference for, regarding the welfare] can
>be seen in Mt 5:43; Lk 7:5; Jn 11:5; Rom 13:8; 2Cor 11:11; Gal 5:14; Eph
>1Pet 1:22; and in many places depicting the love of Christians for one
>another, the love of God to men; God to Jesus, or the love to a master.
>AGAPAW involves the idea of affectionate reverence.

But the NT also uses FILEW of the love of God to men and even of his special
love for Jesus [John 5:20]. And the love of Christians for one another is
sometimes called FILADELFIA [based on FILEW, not AGAPAW]

And while John 11:5 uses AGAPAW of Jesus' love for the Bethany folk, in
11:36 the word for Jesus' love of Lazarus is FILEW.

> FILEW is an inclination based on senses and emotion and includes,
>unlike AGAPAW, a sexual love as well.

But what kind of love was Shechem's love for Dinah [whom he had just raped],
or Amnon's for Tamar [which led him to rape her] or Samson's for Delilah? In
each case, the LXX uses AGAPAW.

 When John calls himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved" he uses both
AGAPAW and FILEW. I don't think he is making fine distinctions here, but is
using the words equivalently, and if you like, somewhat carelessly.

When the word AGAPAW is used of the Pharisees' love of the place of honour
in the synagogue, and of their love of men's praise rather than God's
praise, isn't this a "love based on senses and emotion" and thus fitting the
alleged definition of FILEW perfectly?
Is this "affectionate reverence?"

David McKay

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