Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why is the Greek word ἀγάπη often translated as "charity" in the New Testament? Has the meaning of "charity" changed over time?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Dan Jun 14 '15 at 8:12

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about biblical topics but without a specific Bible passage are off-topic as hermeneutical methods cannot be applied when no text is referenced." – Dan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question is not on topic, as has been recently clarified. – Dan Jun 14 '15 at 8:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

charity ...

often Charity Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as objects of God's love.

[Middle English charite, from Old French, Christian love, from Latin cāritās, affection, from cārus, dear; see kā- in Indo-European roots.]

So in a word, yes. My take is that the common idea of our modern "charity" and that of the early modern English of the KJV is showing love to someone "just because." Not that they can or have done anything for you, not that you have a particular admiration for them above the next guy, but, hey, they are created in God's image and that's good enough.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.