Mark Wilson emory2oo2 at
Wed Oct 17 14:42:36 EDT 2001

Antonius, in the funeral discourse addressed the Roman
people over the body of Caesar in this way:


- Trench, Synonyms of the NT, pg. 42, citing Dion Cassius, xliv, 48).

I have always found Trench's study on these two words most informative
where in this quote, the author uses FILEW toward the father
and AGAPAW toward a benefactor.

As noted by Trench, AGAPAN TON QEON is commanded of believers, but
never do you find FILEIN TON QEON. For FILEW involves the natural
affections and passion; while AGAPAW is a reasoned attachment, from
a sense of due respect. One can not command affection/passion.

Taking this distinction into the famous John 21 passage, Trench
further feels that when Christ asked Peter if he AGAPAiS ME, this
use of love, AGAPAW, "when all the pulses in the heart of the now
penitent Apostle were beating with a passionate affection toward
his Lord, this word on the Lord's lips sounds far too cold... to
very imperfectly express the warmth of his affection toward Him."
(pg. 42,43).

Just some more thoughts on this often debated issue...

Mark Wilson

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