Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (1987):
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
In the King James Version in 26 places from 1 Corinthians 8:1 onward. The same Greek word, which appears in the New Testament 115 times, is elsewhere translated by "love."
A New Word: The substantive agape is mainly, if not exclusively, a Biblical and ecclesiastical word (see Deissmann, Bible Studies, 198 ff.), not found in profane writings, although the verb agapan, from which it is derived, is used in classical Greek in the sense of "love, founded in admiration, veneration, esteem, like the Latin diligere" (Grimm-Thayer), rather than natural emotion (Latin, amare).
A New Ideal: It is a significant evidence of the sense of a new ideal and principle of life that permeated the Christian consciousness of the earliest communities, that they should have made current a new word to express it, and that they should derive that word, not from the current or philosophical language of Greek morality, but from the Septuagint.
An Apostolic Term: In the New Testament the word is apostolic, and appears first and predominantly in the Pauline writings. It is found only twice in the Synoptics (Matthew 24:12; Luke 11:42), and although it is in both places put in the mouth of the Saviour, it can easily be understood how the language of a later time may have been used by the narrator, when it is considered that these gospels were compiled and reduced to writing many years after the spread of the Pauline epistles. The word is not found in James, Mark or Acts, but it appears in Paul 75 times, in John 30 times, in Peter 4 times, in Jude twice and in Hebrews twice. Jesus Christ gave the thing and the spirit in the church, and the apostles (probably Paul) invented the term to express it.
Latin Equivalents: When Jerome came to translate the Greek Testament into Latin, he found in that language no word to represent agape. Amor was too gross, and he fell back on dilectio and caritas, words which, however, in their original meanings were too weak and colorless to represent agape adequately. No principle seems to have guided him in the choice of the one word or the other in particular places.
English Translation: Caritas in English became "charity," and was taken over by the English translators from the Vulg, though not with any regularity, nor as far as can be judged, according to any definite principle, except that it is used of agape only in man, never as it denotes a quality or action of God, which is always translated by "love." When agape is translated by "charity" it means either (1) a disposition in man which may qualify his own character (1 Corinthians 8:1) and be ready to go forth to God (1 Corinthians 8:3) or to men; or (2) an active and actual relation with other men, generally within the church (Colossians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 5:14), but also absolutely and universally (1 Co. 13). In the earlier epistles it stands first and unique as the supreme principle of the Christian life (1 Co. 13), but in the later writings, it is enumerated as one among the Christian virtues (1 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:2; 2 Peter 1:7; Revelation 2:19).
Inward Motive: In Paul's psalm of love (1 Co. 13) it is set forth as an innermost principle contrasted with prophecy and knowledge, faith and works, as the motive that determines the quality of the whole inner life, and gives value to all its activities. If a man should have all gifts of miracles and intellect, and perform all the works of goodness and devotion, "and have not love, it profiteth nothing," for they would be purely external and legal, and lacking in the quality of moral choice and personal relation which give life its value (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love itself defines men's relation to men as generous, tolerant and forgiving.
Character: "Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not" (1 Corinthians 13:4). It determines and defines a man's own character and personality. It is not boastful and arrogant, but dignified, pure, holy, courageous and serene. Evil cannot provoke it nor wrong delight it. It bears cheerfully all adversity and follows its course in confident hope (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). It is final virtue, the ultimate ideal of life. Many of life's activities cease or change, but "love never faileth."
Ultimate Ideal: To it all other graces and virtues are subordinated. "Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). In one passage only in the New Testament (3 John 1:6) agape seems to have a meaning that comes near to the later, ecclesiastical meaning of charity as almsgiving.
Almsgiving: With the growing legalism of the church and the prevalence of monastic ideals of morality, caritas came to mean the very opposite of Paul's agape--just "the giving of goods to feed the poor," which "without love profiteth nothing." At present, the word means either liberality to the poor, or tolerance in judging the actions of others, both qualities of love, but very inadequate to express its totality.
Tolerance: The Revisers have therefore accurately dropped the word and substituted "love" for it in all passages. It is interesting to note that in Welsh the reverse process has occurred: cariad (from Latin caritas) was used throughout to translate agape, with the result that, in both religious and ordinary speech, the word has established itself so firmly as almost to oust the native word serch.
|Other Ancient Sources|
4 Maccabees 13:21-27--When they were born after an equal time of gestation, they drank milk from the same fountains. For such embraces brotherly-loving (philADelphoi) souls (psyCHAI) are nourished;
and they grow stronger from this common nurture and daily companionship (syne-THEIas), and from both general education and our discipline in the law of God.
Therefore, when sympathy (sympaTHOUS) and brotherly affection (philadelPHIas) had been so established, the brothers were the more sympathetic (sympaTHESteron) to one another.
Since they had been educated by the same law and trained in the same virtues (areTAS) and brought up in right (diKAIo-) living, they loved (e-GAPo-n) one another all the more.
A common zeal (homoze-LIa) for nobility (kalokagaTHIas) expanded their goodwill (EUnoian) and harmony (hoMOnoian) toward one another,
because, with the aid of their religion (euseBEIa), they rendered their brotherly love more fervent (potheinoTERan auTOIS kateSKEUazon te-n philadelPHIan).
But although nature (PHYseo-s) and companionship (syne-THEIas) and virtuous habits (areTE-S e-THO-N) had augmented the affection (PHILtra) of brotherhood (adelPHOte-tos), those who were left endured (anESchonto) for the sake of religion (euSEBeian), while watching their brothers being maltreated and tortured to death. (RSV)
Alt.:--They were born after the same amount of time, and drank milk from the same fountains. The same fond embraces nurtured brotherly love in their souls. They grew more fervent as they were brought up together enjoying each other’s company day after day, and being shaped by the same education, particularly their training in God’s Law. So it is clear, when such mutual sympathy and love for each other had been established, these seven brothers had even more sympathy for each other. They loved each other so much because they had been educated in the same Law, held the same moral values, and were raised together to live a life that is just. Their affection for each other and harmony grew even more because they shared a common passion for good character and conduct. Family love for each other was made even more desirable to them by their godly behavior. Still, even though nature, custom, and good habits made their love toward their brothers stronger, the brothers who were left alive put up with seeing their brothers tortured to death because of their godly way of life. (CEB)
Alt.:--and having been brought forth at equal intervals, and having sucked milk from the same fountains, hence their brotherly souls are reared up lovingly together; and increase the more powerfully by reason of this simultaneous rearing, and by daily intercourse, and by other education, and exercise in the law of God. Brotherly love being thus sympathetically constituted, the seven brethren had a more sympathetic mutual harmony. For being educated in the same law, and practising the same virtues, and reared up in a just course of life, they increased this harmony with each other. For a like ardour for what is right and honourable increased their fellow-feeling towards each other. For it acting along with religion, made their brotherly feeling more desirable to them. And yet, although nature and intercourse and virtuous morals increased their brotherly love those who were left endured to behold their brethren, who were ill-used for their religion, tortured even unto death. (BLXX)
Alt.:--Born after an equal time of gestation, they drink milk from the same fountains by whose embraces minds filled with brotherly love are nourished together. They grow more robust through common nurture, daily companionship, other education and our discipline in divine law. So strong, indeed, is the sympathy of brotherly love. Yet the seven brothers felt still greater sympathy toward each other. For since they were trained in the same law, diligently practiced the same virtues and were brought up together in right living, they loved each other still more. Their common zeal for nobility of character intensified their goodwill toward one another and their oneness of mind, for with their piety they made brotherly love still dearer to themselves. But although nature, companionship and virtuous habits had combined to augment the bonds of brotherhood in their eyes, through their piety those who were left held firm while they saw their brothers maltreated and tortured even unto death. (NETS)
Community Rule 1:3b-5a--in order to love all
which he has chosen, and to hate all which he has rejected, keeping away from all evil
and adhering to all good works; (Charlesworth)
Community Rule 2:23b-25a--No one shall either fall from his
standing place or rise from the place of his lot,
for they shall all be in the Community of truth, of virtuous humility,
of merciful love, and of righteous intention
towards one another, in a holy council, and members of an eternal
|1 Clement 49-50|
The First Epistle of Clement (Ancient Greek: Klementos pros Korinthious "Clement to Corinthians") is a letter addressed to the Christians in the city of Corinth. The letter dates from the late 1st or early 2nd century, and ranks with Didache as one of the earliest -- if not the earliest -- of extant Christian documents outside the canonical New Testament. As the name suggests, a Second Epistle of Clement is known; but this is a later work, not by the same author.
Version from The Lost Books of the Bible (1926): The Lost Books of the Bible is an unimproved reprint of a book published by William Hone in 1820, titled The Apocryphal New Testament, itself a reprint of a translation of the Apostolic Fathers done in 1693 by William Wake, who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the three centuries since these were originally published, a great deal more is known about the Apostolic Fathers (including a good deal of the original text that was not available in 1693) and New Testament apocrypha, so this version has a different chapter number:
1 Clement 21:1-11
He that has the love that is in Christ, let him keep the commandments of Christ.
Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing charity is:
and how that no expressions are sufficient to declare its
Another version, translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.):
Chapter XLIX--The Praise of Love.
Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. [Jas. 5:20; 1 Pet. 4:8.] Love beareth all things, is long-suffering in all things. [Comp. 1 Cor. 13:4, etc.] There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls.
Chapter L.--Let Us Pray to Be Thought Worthy of Love.
Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing is love, and that there is no declaring its perfection. Who is fit to be found in it, except such as God has vouchsafed to render so? Let us pray, therefore, and implore of His mercy, that we may live blameless in love, free from all human partialities for one above another. All the generations from Adam even unto this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ. For it is written, "Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves." Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile." This blessedness cometh upon those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Another version, by Charles Hoole:
1 Let him that hath the love which is in Christ keep the commandments of Christ.
2 Who can describe sufficiently the bond of the love of God?
3 Who is sufficient to speak as he ought of the excellence of its beauty?
4 The height to which love leads up is unspeakable.
5 Love joineth us unto God; love hideth a multitude of sins; love beareth all things; is long suffering in all things. In love there is nothing illiberal, nothing haughty. Love hath no schism; love maketh not sedition; love doth all things in harmony; in love all the elect of God have been made perfect. Without love nothing is acceptable unto God.
6 In love, our Master hath taken us to himself. Through the love that he hath for us, Jesus Christ our Lord hath given his blood for us, by the will of God, his flesh for our flesh, his soul for our soul.
1 Ye see, brethren, how great and wonderful a thing love is, and how there is no describing its perfection.
2 Who is sufficient to be found in it, except those whom God shall have deemed worthy? Let us pray, therefore, and ask from his mercy that we may live in love, without human partiality, blameless.
3 All the generations, from Adam even unto this day, are gone by; but they who have been made perfect in love according to the grace of God inhabit the abode of the pious, and shall be made manifest in the visitation of the kingdom of Christ.
4 For it is written, Enter into the secret chambers but a little while, until my anger and wrath be passed, and I will remember the good day, and will raise you up from your sepulchres.
5 Blessed are we, beloved, if we do the commandments of God in the harmony of love, so that through love our sins may be forgiven us.
6 For it is written, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin, and in whose mouth there is no guile.
7 This blessedness cometh unto them who are elect by God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.
Ch. XLIX. He who has love in Christ, let him do the commandments of Christ. The bond of the love of God, who can set forth? The greatness of His beauty, who is sufficient to speak forth? The height into which love leads up is unspeakable. Love joins us to God: love (cf. James 5:20) covers a multitude of sins: love bears all things; is long-suffering in all things. Nothing coarse is there in love, nothing haughty. Love has no divisions: love makes no dissensions: love does all things in concord. In love have all the chosen ones attained to full growth. Apart from love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love the Master took us to Himself. Because of the love which He had towards us, His blood Jesus Christ our Lord gave on our behalf in the will of God, and His flesh on behalf of our flesh, and His soul on behalf of our souls.
Another version, by J.B. Lightfoot:
1 Let him that hath love in Christ fulfill the commandments of Christ.
2 Who can declare the bond of the love of God?
3 Who is sufficient to tell the majesty of its beauty?
4 The height, where unto love exalteth, is unspeakable.
5 Love joineth us unto God; love covereth a multitude of sins; love endureth all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing coarse, nothing arrogant in love. Love hath no divisions, love maketh no seditions, love doeth all things in concord. In love were all the elect of God made perfect; without love nothing is well pleasing to God:
6 in love the Master took us unto Himself; for the love which He had toward us, Jesus Christ our Lord hath given His blood for us by the will of God, and His flesh for our flesh and His life for our lives.
1 Ye see, dearly beloved, how great and marvelous a thing is love, and there is no declaring its perfection.
2 Who is sufficient to be found therein, save those to whom God shall vouchsafe it? Let us therefore entreat and ask of His mercy, that we may be found blameless in love, standing apart from the factiousness of men. All the generations from Adam unto this day have passed away: but they that by God's grace were perfected in love dwell in the abode of the pious; and they shall be made manifest in the visitation of the Kingdom of God.
3 For it is written; Enter into the closet for a very little while until Mine anger and Mine wrath shall pass away, and I will remember a good day and will raise you from your tombs.
4 Blessed were we, dearly beloved, if we should be doing the commandments of God in concord of love, to the end that our sins may through love be forgiven us.
5 For it is written; Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall impute no sin, neither is guile in his mouth.
6 This declaration of blessedness was pronounced upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Another version, from The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch by Rev. Johannes Quasten and Rev. Joseph C. Plumpe. Mahwah NJ: Paulist Press, 1946:
49. He who has love in Christ must observe the commandments of Christ. The binding power of the love of God who is able to set it forth? The radiance of His beauty–who can voice it to satisfaction? The sublimity to which love leads up is unutterable. Love unites us with God; love covers a multitude of sins; love endures everything, is long-suffering to the last; there is nothing vulgar, nothing conceited, in love; love creates no schism; love does not quarrel; love preserves perfect harmony. In love all the elect of God reached perfection, apart from love nothing is pleasing to God. In love the Master took us to Himself. Because of the love which He felt for us, Jesus Christ Our Lord gave His Blood for us by the will of God, His body for our bodies, and His soul for our souls.
1. ho ECHo-n aGApe-n en chrisTO- poie-SAto- ta tou chrisTOU paragGELmata.
2. ton desMON te-s aGApe-s tou theOU tis DYnatia exe-GE-sasthai;
3. to megaLEIon te-s kalloNE-S auTOU tis arkeTOS exeiPEIN;
4. to HYPSos, eis ho aNAge he- aGApe-, anekdiE-ge-TON EStin.
5. aGApe- kolLA he-MAS to- theO-, aGApe- kaLYPte PLE-thos hamartiO-N, aGApe- PANta aNECHetai, PANta makrothyMEI. ouDEN BANauson en aGApe-, ouDEN hypeRE-phanon. aGApe- SCHISma ouk ECHei, aGApe- ou stasiAZei, aGApe- PANta poiEI en homoNOIa. en te- aGApe- eteleiO-the-san PANtes hoi eklekTOI tou theOU, DIcha aGApe-s ouDEN euAresTON EStin to- theO-.
6. en aGApe- proseLAbeto he-MAS ho desPOte-s. diA te-n aGApe-n, he-n ESchen pros he-MAS, to HAIma auTOU EDo-ken hyPER he-MO-N ie-SOUS chrisTOS ho KYrios he-MO-N en theLE-mati theOU, kai te-n SARka hyPER te-s sarKOS he-MO-N kai te-n psyCHE-N hyPER to-n psyCHO-N he-MO-N.
1 hoRAte agape-TOI, po-s MEga kai thaumasTON EStin he- aGApe-, kai te-s teleiOte-tos auTE-S ouk EStin exE-ge-sis.
2 tis hikaNOS en auTE- heureTHE-nai, ei me- hous an kataxiO-se- ho theOS; deO-metha oun kai aiTO-metha DIcha prosKLIseo-s anthro-PIne-s, AMo-moi.
3 hai geneAI PASai aPO aDAM HEo-s TE-Sde te-s he-MEras paRE-Lthon, all' hoi en aGApe- teleio-THENtes kaTA te-n tou theOU CHArin ECHousin CHO-Ron euseBO-N, hoi phaneroTHE-Sontai en te- episkoPE- te-s basiLEIas tou chrisTOU.
4 GEgraptai gar. eiSElthete eis ta taMEIa mikRON HOon HOson, HEo-s hou paRELthe- he- orGE- kai ho thyMOS mou, kai mne-sTHE-somai he-MEras agaTHE-S, kai anasTE-so- hymas ek to-n the-KO-N hyMO-N.
5 maKAriOI, ESmen, agape-TOI, ei ta proTAGmata tou theOU epoiOUmen en homoNOIa aGApe-s, eis to apheTHE-nai he-MIN di' aGApe-s tas hamarTIas.
6 GEgraptai gar. maKArioi, ho-n aPHEthe-san hai anoMIai kai ho-n epekaLYphthe-san hai hamaTIan, ouDE EStin en to- STOmati auTOU DOlos.
7 HOUtos ho makarisMOS eGEneto ePI tous eklelegMEnous hyPO tou theOU diA ie-SOU chrisTOU tou kyRIou he-MO-N, ho- he- DOxa eis tous aiO-Nas to-n aiO-No-n. aME-N.
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