Do you agape Me? Yes, Lord, I phileo You.

Practically every time I teach about agape’s all inclusive nature someone asks me about John 21’s use of phileo and agape. “Are they synonymous or not?” And sometimes I forget that Yeshua and Simon bar Jonah were not conversing in Koine Greek on the shores of the Kinneret. In looking into this passage, reading scholarly and a couple of devotional works, I found a couple of authors who make this point. Here are the quotes:

Besides, that argument would hardly be viable if the original conversation would have been in Aramaic.  [1]

Second, Peter and Jesus undoubtedly spoke in Aramaic, even though the Holy Spirit recorded the conversation in common Greek. It might be unwise for us to press the Greek too far in this case.  [2]

[1]Gerald L. Borchert, John 12-21, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003, c2002). 333.

[2]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1989). Jn 21:9.