Sunday, May 13, 2007

Words that make me cringe, part 2

αγάπη love [agape love] is another expression which gives me the horrors, because it shows a misunderstanding of the way language works, and it sounds like a parading of misinformation.

A simple study of the Greek words for love in the bible shows they are often used interchangeably. Sometimes one word is used with widely differing connotations, just as we do with the word love in English.

Some of the best stuff written debunking the idea that the bible's Greek has a special word for each concept has been done by Don Carson in his Commentary on John, his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God and in his book Exegetical Fallacies.

Of course there is such a thing as a whole-hearted devotion to God, and there is such a thing as God's special love for Christ and for those he has chosen as Christ's bride, but the bible plainly uses a variety of words for this, including αγάπη [agape] but also many others, often compounds of a completely different word.

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