Right Punditry

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Ecclesiastes 10:2

Agape, Phileo, Epignosis . . . And Why It Matters To Christian’s Learning

jesus-peter-lovest-thou-me-2Insights Derived from the Definition of Greek Words

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

What does it mean in 1 Cor 13:10 “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away”? ….. the “things in part” in verses 8 & 9, which are the things that shall be eliminated.  The “things in part” are the spiritual gifts of “prophecy”, “tongues”, and “knowledge (gnosis, or simple (human) knowledge)”. In verse 8, where the “things in part” pass away, the Greek “passive voice” is used for “prophecy” and “knowledge”, indicating that they will be “caused” to cease, and for “tongues”, the “middle voice” is used indicating that they will fade away on their own rather than be caused to cease.

Concerning “that which is perfect” in verse 10, the Greek word translated “perfect” is “teleion”, a neuter noun which means “an object (which we would correctly translate “it”) which is to become mature or complete”, and the Greek word translated “come” is “eltha” meaning an object which comes into existence”. “That which is perfect” then, cannot be the coming of Jesus, as it is so often taken, because Jesus has always existed. The only neuter object that I can think of, that, when it became “mature or complete”, eliminated the need for the “things in part”, is the completion of the Canon of Scripture, God’s Word, in 96 AD.”   here

The above is an example of the relevance of a complete understand of the Word of God, which takes more than a simple reading.  If you’re not studying the original languages in some theology classes (and how many of us can do that), it serves us all well to find someone who has.

The above is evidence that the “tongues movement” as it’s been called, was meant to and has passed away – it is not used by the Holy Spirit now, according to the above verses.  It was allowed to pass away, because the Lord had prepared the way for ‘the perfect’ – the Bible. The ‘imperfect’ was no longer required.  That knowledge alone can set us on the correct path.

And that is precisely why it’s of such great importance for our spirit growth, to find a church which truly teaches the Bible.  If your very fortunate, you might be able to find one which has a pastor/teacher who has at some knowledge of the ‘original text’ in Greek and Hebrew (as does Bob Jones in the Florida church above).  It takes prayer and patience as these church are not in over abundance, but this is the preferred way to receive the Holy Spirit taught knowledge of the deeper things in the Word of God… this is the “epignosi” (full knowledge) the Lord wants stored in our souls.

In another example, in 1 John 3:16, Jesus ask Simon Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?”  When reading these verses, we might come to the conclusion that Jesus just wasn’t convinced that Peter liked him.  Or more likely, we might wonder why Jesus would ask 3 times?  The answer  is one we might not realize or understand without the original translation.

When Jesus ask Peter, he used the word “agape” (which isn’t an emotional ‘love’, but a feeling of non- bitterness, no ill-will, sacrificial concerns for another).  This is how  God can “command” us to “love your enemy” (Matt. 5:44)  . . . or people who hate us, wish us ill.  He could NOT ask us to feel an emotional ‘love’ for these people, but non bitterness and lack of hatred and malice we are rightly commanded to show — even toward an enemy.

God does not ask us to love – “phileo” our enemies, which is ’emotional’ feelings of love or deep friendship, which can’t be commanded.

But when Peter replied, he used the word “phileo” – meaning he loved Him like a friend or brother (an emotional feeling), but he had some reservation or hard feelings toward the Lord.  This makes a huge difference in our understand of the conversation.

The last time Jesus asked Peter this question, the Lord said, “do you phileo me?”, possibly seeing that Peter (at that time) was able to give no more. Peter could not make himself say
“I agape You” — for it was earlier that Peter had denied the Lord (3 times) and could have been feeling the guilt . . .  and possibly annoyance at being asked.  The three denials of Peter, and the three questions of Jesus, must have made the point with Peter much more so than if he had been verbally reprimanded by Jesus for denying Him.

There are multitudes of hidden truths within the Bible, just as was designed.  We are truly blessed when we find our right church and pastor/teacher, so are able to learn these ‘hidden jewels’ and turn them into ‘epignosi’.

There are so good website around – the one a linked to above and one’s in earlier post:




http://www.biblefood.com/ (the last time I checked this link wasn’t working, but please keep trying)


2 comments on “Agape, Phileo, Epignosis . . . And Why It Matters To Christian’s Learning

  1. justturnright
    December 9, 2012

    Very nice post, RP! I love etymology, but confess that outside of the English language I’m lost.
    I’m slightly better with Latin than I am with, say, Spanish.
    But I’m lost after that.

    I’ll be thinking about this post until tomorrow. Many thanks…


    • RightyPunditry
      December 10, 2012

      Thanks — and I’ve drawn a lot of angst, hate, etc. from some. Not unexpected. People don’t like to hear the truth if it interferes with their beliefs/ views.

      Our Pastor/Teacher had a doctorate in Koine Greek and Hebrew – it’s really ‘fun’ to hear the explanation of some words in the original languages – with the original intent (tense, gender, case sensitive, etc.) since that can make a BIG DIFFERENCE int he understanding.


Comments are closed.

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