Bible Lexicons

Old & New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary

#026 - ἀγάπη

from (G25)
Parts of Speech
Noun Feminine
  1. brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
  2. love feasts
Strong #: 160 ‑ אַהֲבָה (a‑hab‑aw');  
Frequency Lists  
Verse Results
Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

ἀγάπ-η, ἡ,


1. love, LXX Jeremiah 2:2, Ca. 2.7, al.; ἀ. καὶ μῖσος Ecclesiastes 9:1; dub. l. in PBerol. 9859 (ii B. C. [*], Phld. Lib. p.52 O; of the love of husband and wife, Sch. Ptol. Tetr. 52.

2. esp. love of God for man and of man for God, LXX Wi. 3.9, Aristeas 229; φόβος καὶ ἀ. Ph. 1.283, cf..Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:14,.Luke 11:42, al.: also brotherly love, charity, 1 Corinthians 13:1, al.

II in pl., love-feast, 2 Peter 2:13,.Judges 1:12.

III alms, charity, PGen. 14 (iv/v A. D.). ἀγάπη θεῶν, title of Isis, POxy. 1380.109 (ii A. D.).

ἀγάπη , -ης , ,

[in LXX for H160, which is also rendered by ἀγάπη and φιλία ;]

love, goodwill, esteem. Outside of bibl. and eccl. books, there is no clear instance (with Deiss., LAE, 184, 705, cf. the same writer in Constr. Quar., ii, 4; and with MM, VGT, s.v., cf. Dr. Moulton in Exp. Times, 26, 3, 139). In NT, like άγαπάω ,

1. Of men's love:

(a) to one another, John 13:35;

(b) to God, 1 John 2:5.

2. Of divine love;

(a) God's love: to men, Romans 5:8; to Christ, John 17:26;

(b) Christ's love to men: Romans 8:35.

3. In p1., love feasts: Judges 1:12 (DB, iii, 157).

SYN.: φιλία G5373. ., signifying properly (see ἀγαπάω G25) love which chooses its object, is taken over from LXX, where its connotation is more general, into NT, and there used exclusively to express that spiritual bond of love between God and man and between man and man, in Christ, which is characteristic of Christianity. It is thus distinct from φιλία , friendship (James 4:4 only), στοργή G?, natural affection (in NT only in compounds, see ἄστοργος G794) and ἔρως G?, sexual love, which is not used in NT, its place being taken by ἐπιθυμία G1939. (Cf. ἀγαπάω ; and v. Abbott, Essays, 70 f.; DB, vol. i., 555; Cremer, 13, 593; MM, VGT, s.v.)

Vocabulary of the Greek NT

Though it would be going too far to say that this important Biblical word was ";born within the bosom of revealed religion,"; it is remarkable that there have been only three supposed instances of its use in ";profane"; Greek, two of which are now read otherwise and the third is doubtful. Deissmann originally cited P Par 49.3 (B.C. 164–58) in this connexion (Bibelstudien, p. 80 f.); but in the English edition (BS, p. 198 f.) he admitted that the restoration ταραχήν must be substituted. Next Hatch in JBL xxvii. 2, p. 134 ff. cited an inscription of the Imperial period, from Tefeny in Pisidia, giving the mantic significance of various throws of the dice : πένψει δ᾽ εἰς ἀγά [πη ]ν σε φιλομμειδὴς Ἀφροδείτη. But Prof. Deissmann now calls our attention to a Breslau dissertation by F. Heinevetter Würfel- und Buchstabenorakel in Griechenland und Kleinasien (1912), where it seems to be proved (p. 10) that εἰς ἀγαθόν must be read in the line we have quoted. There remains only the citation (Crönert, Lex. s.v.) of δι᾽ ἀ [γ ]άπης ἐ [ναρ ]γοῦς from the Herculaneum papyri of Philodemus the Epicurean (i/B.C.), with the note ";(sicher?).";

The history of this word is so crucial for the orientation of the Biblical Greek vocabulary that we must pursue it in some detail. Deissmann’s argument from Thayer’s Philonic citation of ἀγάπη is repeated in the English BS (p. 199) without regard to Ramsay’s criticism (Exp T ix. p. 568). And Deissmann certainly seems justified in asserting that in the Quod Deus immut. (p. 283 M = Cohn-Wendland, ed. min., p. 69) Philo is not taking the word from the LXX, unless Wisdom of Solomon 3:9 (love towards God) Wisdom of Solomon 6:18 (love of Wisdom) may be taken as the models for his ennobled use of the word. For in LXX it is used 14 times of sexual love (Jeremiah 2:2 figuratively), and twice in antithesis to μῖσος : Sirach 48:11 א is the only other occurrence besides those from Wisdom. Aristeas (ii/i B.C.) has the word (§ 229) in the higher sense, and may stand with the author of Wisdom as the earliest to adapt it to this purpose. In its redemption from use as a mere successor to the archaic ἔρως, Alexandrian Jews of i/B.C. seem to have led the way. The fact that its use was very restricted made it easier to annex for a special purpose. Since the Song of Songs (where it occurs 11 times) could hardly be proved to have existed for the NT writers, there were virtually no other associations before their minds; and the appropriation of ἀγαπᾶν and ἀγάπη proceeded side by side. As the record of its use in Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion shows (see HR), the word retained in independent circles the connotations we find in Cant and Eccl, and grew slightly more common. In late Christian papyri we find it narrowed like our ";charity"; : Crönert cites P Gen I. 14.7 (iv/v A.D.) and P Lond 77.58 (viii/A.D.) ( = I. p. 234). On the Christian use of Ἀγάπη as a proper name see W. M. Ramsay C. and B., ii. p. 492 f.

It should finally be remarked that there is no reason for postulating ἀγάπη as the origin of a denominative ἀγαπάω, as τιμή produces τιμάω, etc. Ἀγάπη is in any case a back-formation from the verb, replacing the older ἀγάπησις, and originating doubtless in a restricted dialectic area. Cf. the case of οἰκοδομή, q. v.


The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.
Copyright © 1914, 1929, 1930 by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Derivative Copyright © 2015 by Allan Loder.
List of Word Forms
αγαπαις αγάπαις ἀγάπαις αγαπη αγάπη ἀγάπη ἀγάπῃ αγαπην αγάπην ἀγάπην αγαπης αγάπης ἀγάπης αγαπήσει αγαπήσεώς αγαπησιν αγάπησιν αγάπησίς agapais agápais agape agapē agápe agápē agápei agápēi agapen agapēn agápen agápēn agapes agapēs agápes agápēs
Old / New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary developed by Jeff Garrison for Copyright 1999-2021. All Rights Reserved, Jeff Garrison, Gdansk, Poland.
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