When therefore they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He says to him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. He says to him, Feed my lambs.
This passage (vers. 15-17) illustrates the force of two Greek words for 'to love,' phileo and agapao. The former signifies the love of friendship, and is more intimate and intense. It is here translated 'I am attached to,' and in ch. 16.27 'have affection for.' Agapao, more often used in the New Testament, is more general, and signifies love as the settled disposition of a person rather than as an emotion. It is used for God's love to man (except in Titus 3.4, where a compound word is used which embodies the word phileo) and for the love of men to God. Both words are used for the love of the Father for the Son, phileo once only, John 5.20, and agapao in John 3.35, &c.: and for the love of Christ for his own, phileo in John 11.3 and agapao in John 11.5 and elsewhere. Phileo is used in John 16.27, of the love of the Father for the disciples, and of the love of the disciples for Christ.