Give Yourself to Others …

Posts Tagged ‘GTP

Okay, here’s where I am:  what does it mean to love?

I mean, let’s face it, love is so overused — used to mean so many different things — that it has become almost meaningless.  Can anyone dispute that?

In the New Testament, as well as the Greek language, there are several words which we translate as “love” in English.  Specifically, they are:

eros — the root word for erotic.  Obviously, a reference to the physical aspects of infatuation, sexual arousal, etc.

phileo — “brotherly love.”  This is the beginning of Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love) and philanthropy.  It is also used to describe the affection between friends.  So there is this sense of reciprocated care between two people.

agape — this is the word Jesus used in John 13 and 15, which I talked about last time.  He used it in a lot of other places as well.  It’s the word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 13.  The King James Version translated it “charity” in 1 Cor 13.  One of the best definitions I’ve run across is from Bill Clark:  giving yourself to others for their good, expecting nothing in return.”  I think you could also say “requiring nothing in return.”

That’s the way Jesus loved us.

Another point — note the different standards for love when Jesus cites the Old Testament:  Love your neighbor as yourself; compared to Jesus’ new command in John 13:  Love one another as I have loved you.

Have you ever taken note of people who seem to really dislike themselves?  Treat themselves pretty poorly?  Well, if we stick with the love your neighbor as yourself standard, if you’re one of the folks who don’t think much of themselves, you might treat others as poorly as your treat yourself.

However, then consider how the standard changes if you move to Jesus’ new command in John 13: Love one another as I have loved you. Wow, what a difference.  Now, it’s not how I treat myself that becomes the baseline, it’s how Jesus treated me.  While I don’t like the “advertising” connotations of “what would Jesus do”, it is the right question.

How do I love you the way Jesus loves you?

That is a standard to try to live by.

That’s what really matters!


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I have a friend, Bill Clark, who, for many years, lived in Israel, while he translated the New Testament from the original Greek into Aramaic, so that Palestinians could have a translation in their own language. An ancilary project was a new English translation, which he doubted, The Galilee Translation Project (GTP). If you’re interested you can get a copy of the translation at no cost, by following this link.

What sets this translation apart from others is Bill’s translation of the word, agape, one of several Greek words typically translated into English as love. Bill makes a strong case that love is a poor translation of agape, because the English word has so many different levels of meaning and because its common usage often allows readers to misunderstand what the New Testament writers were trying to convey.

In place of love, Bill translates agape as “giving yourself to others, for their good, expecting nothing in return.”

I’m not going to elaborate on that for now, because such elaboration is really a major part of why I’m starting this blog.


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