Re: A question from a novice!

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 12:41:50 EST

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<div>At 12:16 PM -0500 3/19/00, Jim West wrote:</div>
<div>&gt;At 09:53 AM 3/19/00 -0500, you wrote:<br>
&gt;&gt;In a message dated 3/19/2000 9:30:07 AM Central Daylight
&gt;&gt; writes:<br>
&gt;&gt; I cannot pinpoint to it, but I sort of remember that in
&gt;&gt; AGAPAW is frequently used to express the love
&gt;&gt; between men and women, even the one that is quite
&gt;&gt; If so, on what ground did you consider AGAPH as selfless
love, self<br>
&gt;&gt; sacrificing<br>
&gt;&gt; love? &gt;&gt;<br>
&gt;because thats how the NT uses it.&nbsp; The original question did
not ask about<br>
&gt;LXX usage- but about NT.<br>
&gt;Words have usage- not meaning.&nbsp; Context is all important for
<div>&gt;meaning.&nbsp; When the NT uses AGAPAW and its derivatives
it is ALWAYS in the</div>
<div>&gt;sense of self giving love which requires and expects nothing
in return.</div>
<div>&gt;That the LXX uses the word differntly is TOTALLY irrelevant
to its NT usage.</div>
<div>The original question was, in fact: &quot;I have a question on
the definition of AGAPH:&nbsp; What distinguishes this word from
other Greek words meaning love?&quot; Then a NT example was cited for
the assumed meaning.</div>
<div>But I would be hesitant about so bold and sweeping a statement
as, &quot;When the NT uses AGAPAW and its derivatives it is ALWAYS in
the sense of self giving love which requires and expects nothing in
return.&quot; We've several times had exchanges over the interchange
of FILEW and AGAPAW in John 21, and although I know that there are
still those who hold that there is a real distinction between the two
words there, my impression is that there's been a decided shift away
from the majority that was once quite confident of such a
<div>Here's Louw &amp; Nida:</div>
<div><font color="#007700">25.43 AGAPAW; AGAPH, hH f: to have love
for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation and high
regard - 'to love, to regard with affection, loving concern,
love. 'I give you a new commandment, that you love one another'
Jn 13:34;&nbsp; 'for he will hate the one and love the other' Lk
16:13;&nbsp; 'the Father loves the Son' Jn 3:35;&nbsp; 'for he
loved us first' 1Jn 4:19.</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">AGAPH:&nbsp; 'love does not fail' 1Cor
13:8;&nbsp; 'a person who loves doesn't do evil to his
neighbor' Ro 13:10.</font></div>
</x-tab>Though some persons have tried to assign certain significant
differences of meaning between AGAPAW, AGAPH&nbsp; and FILEW, FILIA
(25.33), it does not seem possible to insist upon a contrast of
meaning in any and all contexts. For example, the usage in Jn
21:15-17 seems to reflect simply a rhetorical alternation designed to
avoid undue repetition. There is, however, one significant clue to
possible meaningful differences in at least some contexts, namely,
the fact that people are never commanded to love one another with
FILEW&nbsp; or FILIA, but only with AGAPAW and AGAPH. Though the
meanings of these terms overlap considerably in many contexts, there
are probably some significant differences in certain contexts; that
is to say, FILEW and FILIA are likely to focus upon love or affection
based upon interpersonal association, while AGAPAW and AGAPH focus
upon love and affection based on deep appreciation and high regard.
On the basis of this type of distinction, one can understand some of
the reasons for the use of AGAPAWw and AGAPH in commands to
Christians to love one another. It would, however, be quite wrong to
assume that FILEW and FILIA refer only to human love, while AGAPAW
and AGAPH refer to divine love. Both sets of terms are used for the
total range of loving relations between people, between people and
God, and between God and Jesus Christ.</font></div>

<div>-- <br>
Carl W. Conrad<br>
Department of Classics/Washington University<br>
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018<br>
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649<br> <br>

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