Re: A question from a novice!

From: Steven Lo Vullo (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 23:43:50 EST

<x-html><!x-stuff-for-pete base="" src="" id="0" charset="iso-8859-1"><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<META content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" http-equiv=Content-Type>
<META content="MSHTML 5.00.3013.2600" name=GENERATOR>
<BODY bgColor=#ffffff>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Barry,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>There is, no doubt, much truth to what you say
regarding AGAPAW and its derivatives <EM>in many, if not most, contexts in the
NT. </EM>However, to say "it always shows itself through actions of goodwill,"
and that its&nbsp;basic meaning&nbsp;is "doing what is best for someone ...
regardless of how you feel about them" I think confuses contextual usage with
inherent meaning. For example, how did the Pharisees' love (AGAPATE) for the
"chief seats in the synagogues" and "respectful greetings in the marketplaces"
(Luke 11:43) exhibit "actions of goodwill" or "doing what is best for someone?"
The surrounding context shows that they had very little regard for the
well-being of others, and their actions substantiated this. Or take&nbsp;John
3:19. How does the love (HGAPHSAN) of men for darkness show&nbsp;"actions of
goodwill" or "concern for others," particularly since they love this darkness
rather than Christ himself (the Light that has come into the world). Then there
is John&nbsp;12:43, which states that Jesus' opponents&nbsp;"loved (HGAPHSAN)
the approval of men rather than the approval of God." Certainly they were not
possessed of an attitude of goodwill for others, or doing what was best for
them; they simply used others to bolster their own self-image, and that at the
expense of pleasing God. One more example should suffice. In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul
says "Demas, having loved (AGAPHSAS) this present world, has deserted me." Now,
what sort of goodwill and concern for Paul does this action reveal? And does not
this verse indicate that AGAPAW in certain contexts <EM>does</EM> connote
emotional attachment? After all, it was not an action of "goodwill" toward the
world or "doing what is best" for the world that motivated Demas to desert Paul,
but a sinful emotional attachment to it. And speaking of emotion, what about
texts like John 3:35, 10:17, 11:5, 13:23, 14:31, 19:26, and 21:7. Does the love
spoken of in these verses contain no emotional element at all, no tender
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Please do not misunderstand. I appreciate the
insights you offered in relation to how AGAPAW and its derivatives are used
in&nbsp;many contexts in the NT. But I think we must be careful as a general
rule&nbsp;not to equate usage and inherent meaning. This is a habit that will
drive us to pigeonhole words without giving due consideration to their semantic
range and contextual usage.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Steve LoVullo,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Madison, WI</FONT></DIV>
style="BORDER-LEFT: #000000 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px">
  <DIV style="FONT: 10pt arial">----- Original Message ----- </DIV>
  style="BACKGROUND: #e4e4e4; FONT: 10pt arial; font-color: black"><B>From:</B>
  <A href="">Barry D.
  Murrell</A> </DIV>
  <DIV style="FONT: 10pt arial"><B>To:</B> <A
  href="">Biblical Greek</A> </DIV>
  <DIV style="FONT: 10pt arial"><B>Sent:</B> Sunday, March 19, 2000 8:50
  <DIV style="FONT: 10pt arial"><B>Subject:</B> Re: A question from a novice!
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Peter,</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>In doing my own research into the meaning of AGAPAW and how
  it relates to the other words in Greek which are translated "love", I came to
  the conclusion that AGAPAW is not centered on an warm emotional attachment
  (while the others ARE emotionally motivated in one degree or another) it
  always shows itself through actions of goodwill. It could be perhaps best
  described as <STRONG>doing what is best for someone (even&nbsp;applied inward
  toward oneself in cases of selfishness) regardless of how you feel about
  them</STRONG>. The emphasis is upon the action and not upon the
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Therefore, in some contexts AGAPAW&nbsp;might speak of the
  various "spins" which many have mentioned in this thread, but one thing which
  AGAPAW always seems to speak of is love which is expressed in ACTION which is
  NOT attached (or motivated) by emotion.</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>I have often spent time wondering why we see AGAPE and its
  various forms used so much and the others used so little. Then one day it
  dawned upon me that it is because God has in fact called us to action. Your
  original question of this thread got me thinking about it again. The post
  which spoke of the time variations in word meaning got me back into the thread
  and all of the variations found and brought out in the various posts moved me
  to jump in. </FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>You know, perhaps the reason why so many misunderstand the
  intention of the word "love" found in the Bible is because our modern concept
  of "love" is emotion based. If people approach the message of the Bible with
  an emotion based picture of love then they will never really grasp the full
  meaning of what God is calling his people&nbsp;to do. As&nbsp;an example I
  would cite Matthew 5:44, where Jesus tells us to AGAPE our enemies. If we try
  to apply the "warm fuzzy"&nbsp;paradigm surrounding love in OUR world then
  this command of Jesus causes much distress and confusion. However, if we apply
  the idea&nbsp;mentioned above then the command makes sense and is achievable.
  If we apply this same idea to the various relationship passages then we really
  get a dose of reality. For example, Ephesians 5 suddenly says, "Husbands,
  <STRONG>do what is best for </STRONG>your wives <STRONG>regardless of how you
  feel</STRONG>." </FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>In fact, it was this passage (Ephesians 5:19-ff) which first
  put me onto this idea. (Also the "second greatest" command (Mark 12:31) where
  the "pattern" for the love (AGAPE) that we are to give to our neighbor is that
  which we are <STRONG>already giving to ourselves</STRONG>. The love which a
  man gives to "his own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29) and that which a person gives to
  themselves is not <STRONG>emotion based</STRONG>, but <STRONG>action
  based</STRONG>. It is <STRONG>consistent</STRONG>, it is
  <STRONG>ongoing</STRONG>, it is&nbsp;<STRONG>not dependent upon an
  accompanying&nbsp;warm feeling</STRONG> in the heart. </FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>To me this is what distinguishes AGAPAW.</FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Hope this helps..</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Barry D. Murrell</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Missionary/Director </FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Christian Learning Center</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>Cebu City, Philippines</FONT></DIV>
  <DIV><FONT size=2>
  <DIV>----- Original Message -----
  <DIV>From: "Peter Osborne." &lt;<A
  <DIV>To: "Biblical Greek" &lt;<A
  <DIV>Sent: Monday, March 20, 2000 4:10 AM</DIV>
  <DIV>Subject: A question from a novice!</DIV></DIV>
  <DIV><BR></DIV>&gt; Hi,<BR>&gt; I have a question on the definition of
  AGAPH:&nbsp; What distinguishes this word<BR>&gt; from other Greek words
  meaning love?&nbsp; From its usage in 1 John 3:16 and<BR>&gt; elsewhere, I
  have always connected this word with self-sacrifice or self<BR>&gt;
  denial.&nbsp; However hardly any lexicons I have used seem to make this
  link.&nbsp; Am<BR>&gt; I correct in believing that AGAPH is self-denying love
  and this is what<BR>&gt; distinguishes it from other Greek words for
  love?<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; Peter Osborne.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; ---<BR>&gt;
  B-Greek home page: <A
  You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [<A
  href="mailto:"></A>]<BR>&gt; To
  unsubscribe, forward this message to <A
  To subscribe, send a message to <A
  <BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; </FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:41:02 EDT