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Agapao and Phileo as Synonyms

More Greek examples from the Agape: A Correction in Love? page.

Is agapao (sometimes spelled agapeo) God's love and phileo man's love, as a few misguided Christian teachers assert? Are these words used this way in Scripture? We have previously shown how agapao is used for sin, and how phileo is used by God of us in biblical passages, showing that the popular teaching is clearly wrong.

Here are three interesting example pairs of scriptures to illustrate how the two Greek words agapao and phileo were used often in the Bible as near synonyms, and interchangeably.

Concerning John the beloved disciple:

John 21:20 (NIV) Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved [agapao]...

John 20:2 (NIV) She came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved [phileo]...

Note that both were written by this very disciple, who used the terms interchangeably as well in Peter's restoration (see link for more on this, below). But onward to the next example.

Hebrews 12:6 (NIV) "The Lord disciplines those he loves [agapao], and he punishes..."

Revelation 3:19 (NIV) "Those whom I love [phileo] I rebuke and discipline..."

The above and below do not really need any commentary.

Luke 11:43 (NIV) " [agapao] the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the market-places."

Luke 20:46 (NIV) " [phileo] to be greeted in the market-places and have the most important seats in the synagogues."

It would seem that these words are not as crisp as advertised, but rather that in these cases they are used as effective synonyms...

To return to where you were, hit "BACK".

If you have not come from there, see the document: Agapao, A Correction in Love.

For more on agape and phileo in relation to John's description of Peter's restoration, click to the left.

For more Greek misogesis gaffs, see Harmatia, Rhema, and Logos in the Sacred Cows section.

For an appeal to stop dropping Greek words where it is not edifying, but rather an obvious a form of showing off for teachers, see the document: Use and Misuse of Greek and Hebrew.


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