John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you,

KJV Verse: 

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I give you a new commandment, That you are pleased with one another; as I have been pleased with you, that you must also be pleased with one another.

Explanation of Greek: 

Christ uses two different words that are translated as "love" in English.

He uses the word agapao here. It is used for loving neighbors, enemies, other people generally, the human love of God, and specifically of his love for others.

Christ often uses another word, phileô (which means "to love", "to like", "to be fond of doing," and "to show affection"). It is used to express people's love of things including our love of our lives (Jhn 12:25). It is also the word used for God's love for people including God's love of Christ (Jhn 16:27). It is only used to express love between people once by Christ. After the resurrection Christ uses three times to ask Peter if he loved him. This is also a word sometimes translated as a "kiss" in the NT but not in statements by Christ.

It is interesting and perhaps instructive that the word used here, agapao, is never used by Christ to express God's love for people, including God's love of the son. After his resurrection, Christ uses a different word to refer to Peter's love for him.


 There is a repeated musical alliteration here, agapapallelon

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἀγαπᾶτε "Love" is from agapaô (agapao), which means "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", "to caress", "to prize", "to desire", "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion.

ἀλλήλους "One with another" is from allêlôn (allelon), which means "one another", "to one another", "mutually," and "reciprocally."

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