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John reports Jesus gave a new command which would identify followers of Jesus Christ:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love (ἀγαπᾶτε) one another; as I have loved (ἠγάπησα) you, that ye also love (ἀγαπᾶτε) one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love (ἀγάπην) one to another. (John 13:34-35 KJV)

Christ followers are to be identified by their agape/agapao love. While the use of agape and agapao is found throughout the New Testament, the works with the highest number of uses are 1 John, John, and Ephesians:

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In addition to the largest number of uses, when the use is compared to the total number of words within a work, John's letters reflect a similar pattern: a high frequency of use equal to or greater than Ephesians.

In addition, among all New Testament works, agapao and agape are only found in the same verse in John's Gospel (15:9, 17:26), John's letter (2:15, 4:7, 4:8, 4:10, 4:12), and Paul's letter to the Ephesians (2:4, 5:2).

Ephesus is the location where Paul had his greatest success:

This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:10 ESV)

As the location of Paul's final work in Asia, Ephesus would logically reflect his most developed teaching on love and the importance of love is key in the letter to the Ephesians in Revelation:

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love (ἀγάπην) you had at first. (Revelation 2:4 ESV)

Does this New Testament use of agapao (ἀγαπάω) and agape (ἀγάπη) demonstrate John wrote from Ephesus?

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    Exactly the same words are used in John 13:34 and Leviticus 19:18 - the verb ἀγαπάω ("agapao"). It is just conjugated differently. "Agape" is the noun form of "love"; "agapao" is the verb form. They represent exactly the same thing. – user33515 Apr 4 '17 at 21:09
  • I'm not arguing that your point is not valid; just that grammatically John 13:34 and Leviticus 19:18 are using the same word - the verb ἀγαπάω. In John it is in the present active subjunctive 2nd person plural, in Leviticus the future active indicative singular. – user33515 Apr 4 '17 at 21:22
  • I actually agree with the point you are trying to make, but I don't think that it is found in nuances of the Greek. I think the point is made in the parable of the Good Samaritan - the fact that Jesus essentially reprimands the Jew who asked him "Who is my neighbor?" - who I agree "loved" in the sense you suggest - by holding up an apostate Samaritan who goes far beyond the Priest and the Levite in the story in helping the man in need. I think this brings out what you are getting at much more boldly. – user33515 Apr 4 '17 at 21:27
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    Just look at your statement, "Agapao love is love in a moral or social sense [agapao - ἀγαπᾶτε] and is different from the [agape - ἀγάπη] love of God which is to be perfected in the believer:". This is what is throwing us off. You are saying that the verb "to love" means something different than the noun "love". "Agapao" is a verb; "agape" is a noun. – user33515 Apr 4 '17 at 21:45
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    The fact that two forms of a common word only occur near each other in three books of a small corpus only tells you that the corpus is small. – curiousdannii Apr 5 '17 at 7:31
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Sorry, but no. As has been pointed out in the comments, ἀγαπάω is simply the verb form of the noun ἀγάπη. If you make a comparison to the English language, this would be like the comparison between the word to love and the word love used as a noun. For instance:

I love my dad.

I always showed love to my dad.

They are essentially the same word. What prevents me from using the word both ways in the same text? Nothing. It comes out exactly the same.


That being said, I get your question about both being used in the same place: but consider for a second: Paul probably wrote his letter around 62 A.D. John's Gospel, however, was probably written around 8 years later - in 70 A.D. Would the exact phraseology from his letter still be sticking around? And if so, why don't we have phraseology like "μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος" (mystery of his will) or "ἀρραβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας" (earnest of our inheritance) or "τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι" (by grace ye are saved) showing up in John's book?

The usage of these two words is just a natural outflowing of John's heart as the apostle of love. In fact, if you consider just the writing of the epistle, a logical place for John to have written his letter would have been Corinth, since First and Second Corinthians each have as many or more references to the noun form of agape in them, and almost as many of the verb form, especially if you exclude the passages in Ephesians where he is speaking of husbands loving their wives.

Evidently, I make no such argument: I only go so far as to say the likelihood of Paul's having influenced John's letters that much is highly doubtful, and cannot be used to set the placement for the writing of the works of John.

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