Agape
Jump to: TopicalISBEWebster'sThesaurusGreekLibrarySubtopicsTerms
Topical Bible Verses
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Topicalbible.org

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Topicalbible.org

1 John 4:8
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
Topicalbible.org

1 John 4:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
Topicalbible.org

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
Topicalbible.org

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
Topicalbible.org

Romans 5:8
But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Topicalbible.org

John 21:15-17
So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.
Topicalbible.org

Luke 10:27
And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
Topicalbible.org

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (adv. & a.) Gaping, as with wonder, expectation, or eager attention.

2. (n.) The love feast of the primitive Christians, being a meal partaken of in connection with the communion.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
AGAPE

ag'-a-pe (agape).

1. The Name and the Thing:

The name Agape or "love-feast," as an expression denoting the brotherly common meals of the early church, though of constant use and in the post-canonical literature from the time of Ignatius onward, is found in the New Testament only in Jude 1:12 and in 2 Peter 2:13 according to a very doubtful reading. For the existence of the Christian common meal, however, we have abundant New Testament evidence. The"breaking of bread" practiced by the primitive community in Jerusalem according to Acts 2:42, 46 must certainly be interpreted in the light of Pauline usage (1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:24) as referring to the ceremonial act of the Lord's Supper. But the added clause in 2:46, "they took there food with gladness and singleness of heart," implies that a social meal was connected in some way with this ceremonial act. Paul's references to the abuses that had sprung up in the Corinthian church at the meetings for the observance of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 33, 34) make it evident that in Corinth as in Jerusalem the celebration of the rite was associated with participation in a meal of a more general character. And in one of the "we" sections of Acts (20:11) where Luke is giving personal testimony as to the manner in which the Lord's Supper was observed by Paul in a church of his own founding, we find the breaking of bread associated with and yet distinguished from an eating of food, in a manner which makes it natural to conclude that in Troas, as in Jerusalem and Corinth, Christians when they met together on the first day of the week were accustomed to partake of a common meal. The fact that the name Agape or love-feast used in Jude 1:12 (Revised Version) is found early in the 2nd century and often afterward as a technical expression for the religious common meals of the church puts the meaning of Jude's reference beyond doubt.

2. Origin of the Agape:

So far as the Jerusalem community was concerned, the common meal appears to have sprung out of the koinonia or communion that characterized the first days of the Christian church (compare Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1 etc.). The religious meals familiar to Jews-the Passover being the great type-would make it natural In Jerusalem to give expression by means of table fellowship to the sense of brotherhood, and the community of goods practiced by the infant church (Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32) would readily take the particular form of a common table at which the wants of the poor were supplied out of the abundance of the rich (Acts 6:1). The presence of the Agape in the Greek church of Corinth was no doubt due to the initiative of Paul, who would hand on the observances associated with the Lord's Supper just as he had received them from the earlier disciples; but participation in a social meal would commend itself very easily to men familiar with the common meals that formed a regular part of the procedure at meetings of those religious clubs and associations which were so numerous at that time throughout the Greek-Roman world.

3. Relation to the Eucharist:

In the opinion of the great majority of scholars the Agape was a meal at which not only bread and wine but all kinds of viands were used, a meal which had the double purpose of satisfying hunger and thirst and giving expression to the sense of Christian brotherhood. At the end of this feast, bread and wine were taken according to the Lord's command, and after thanksgiving to God were eaten and drunk in remembrance of Christ and as a special means of communion with the Lord Himself and through Him with one another. The Agape was thus related to the Eucharist as Christ's last Passover to the Christian rite which He grafted upon it. It preceded and led up to the Eucharist, and was quite distinct from it. In opposition to this view it has been strongly urged by some modern critical scholars that in the apostolic age the Lord's Supper was not distinguished from the Agape, but that the Agape itself from beginning to end was the Lord's Supper which was held in memory of Jesus. It seems fatal to such an idea, however, that while Paul makes it quite evident that bread and wine were the only elements of the memorial rite instituted by Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-29), the abuses which had come to prevail at the social gatherings of the Corinthian church would have been impossible in the case of a meal consisting only of bread and wine (compare 1 Corinthians 11:21, 33) Moreover, unless the Eucharist in the apostolic age had been discriminated from the common meal, it would be difficult to explain how at a later period the two could be found diverging from each other so completely.

4. Separation from the Eucharist:

In the Didache (circa 100 A.D.) there is no sign as yet of any separation. The direction that the second Eucharistic prayer should be offered "after being filled" (x.1) appears to imply that a regular meal had immediately preceded the observance of the sacrament. In the Ignatian Epistles (circa 110 A.D.) the Lord's Supper and the Agape are still found in combination (Ad Smyrn viii.2). It has sometimes been assumed that Pliny's letter to Trajan (circa 112 A.D.) proves that the separation had already taken place, for he speaks of two meetings of the Christians in Bithynia, one before the dawn at which they bound themselves by a "sacramentum" or oath to do no kind of crime, and another at a later hour when they partook of food of an ordinary and harmless character (Ep x.96). But as the word "sacramentum" cannot be taken here as necessarily or even probably referring to the Lord's Supper, the evidence of this passage is of little weight. When we come to Justin Martyr (circa 150 A.D.) we find that in his account of church worship he does not mention the Agape at all, but speaks of the Eucharist as following a service which consisted of the reading of Scripture, prayers and exhortation (Apol, lxvii); so that by his time the separation must have taken place. Tertullian (circa 200 A.D.) testifies to the continued existence of the Agape (Apol, 39), but shows clearly that in the church of the West the Eucharist was no longer associated with it (De Corona, 3). In the East the connection appears to have been longer maintained (see Bigg, Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 102), but by and by the severance became universal; and though the Agape continued for long to maintain itself as a social function of the church, it gradually passed out of existence or was preserved only as a feast of charity for the poor.

5. Reasons for the Separation:

Various influences appear to have cooperated in this direction. Trajan's enforcement of the old law against clubs may have had something to do with it (compare Pliny as above), but a stronger influence probably came from the rise of a popular suspicion that the evening meals of the church were scenes of licentious revelry and even of crime. The actual abuses which already meet us in the apostolic age (1 Corinthians 11:20 Jude 1:12), and which would tend to multiply as the church grew in numbers and came into closer contact with the heathen world, might suggest the advisability of separating the two observances. But the strongest influence of all would come from the growth of the ceremonial and sacerdotal spirit by which Christ's simple institution was slowly turned into a mysterious priestly sacrifice. To Christ Himself it had seemed natural and fitting to institute the Supper at the close of a social meal. But when this memorial Supper had been transformed into a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary by the action of the ministering priest, the ascetic idea became natural that the Eucharist ought to be received fasting, and that it would be sacrilegious to link it on to the observances of an ordinary social meal.

LITERATURE:

Zahn, art "Agapen" in Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie; Keating, Agape and Eucharist; Schaff, The Oldest Church Manual, chapter xviii; Lambert, Sacraments in the New Testament, Lect viii; Weizsacker, The Apostolic Age, etc., I. 52.

J. C. Lambert

Greek
26. agape -- love, goodwill
... 25, 26. agape. 27 . ... see GREEK agapao. (agapais) -- 1 Occurrence. (agape) --
64 Occurrences. (agapen) -- 33 Occurrences. (agapes) -- 18 Occurrences. 25, 26 ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/26.htm - 7k
Library

Philadelpheusin Ignatios
... Hon episkopon egnon ouk aph' heautou oude di' anthropon kektesthai ten diakonian
ten eis to koinon anedousan oude kata kenodoxian, all' en agape theou patros ...
/...//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/philadelpheusin ignatios.htm

Romaiois Ignatios
... tes sarkos mou, palin esomai phone.2. pleon moi me paraspsesthe tou spondisthenai
theo, hos eti thusiasterion hetoimon estin, hina en agape choros genomenoi ...
//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/romaiois ignatios.htm

Pros Ephesious Ignatios
... epituchein dunetho mathetes einai, idein espoudasate; 3. epei oun ten polupletheian
humon en onomati theou apeilepha en Onesimo, to en agape adiegeto, humon de ...
//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/pros ephesious ignatios.htm

Smurnaiois Ignatios
... ho kai Theophoros, ekklesia theou patros kai tou egapemenou Iesou Christou, eleemene
en panti charismati, pepleromene en pistei kai agape, anustereto ouse ...
//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/smurnaiois ignatios.htm

On Eating.
... 1304] for on them depends this truly carnal and destructive life; whence [1305]
some, speaking with unbridled tongue, dare to apply the name agape, [1306] to ...
//christianbookshelf.org/clement/the instructor paedagogus/chap i on eating.htm

Trallianois Ignatios
... 1. Parakalo oun humas, ouk ego, all' he agape Iesou Christou; mone te christiane
trophe chresthe, allotrias de botanes apechesthe, hetis estin hairesis; 2. ohi ...
//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/trallianois ignatios.htm

Prayer after Communion.
... Here the Lord's Supper is evidently connected with the Agape [a noteworthy suggestion];
comp. 1 1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 33. ... [If so, it belongs to the Agape.]. ...
/.../various/the teaching of the twelve apostles/chapter x name after communion.htm

Subject Index
... Advertisements, [2353]Advertisements of Elizabeth, [2354]Advertisements of
Elizabeth. Agape or Love-feast, [2355]Agape or Love-feast. ...
/.../luckock/studies in the book of common prayer/subject index.htm

Magnesieusin Ignatios
... duo, ho men theou, ho de kosmou, kai hekaston auton idion charaktera epikeimenon
echei, hoi apistoi tou kosmou toutou, hoi de pistoi en agape charaktera theou ...
//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/magnesieusin ignatios.htm

Pros Polukarpon Ignatios
... pantas bastaze, hos kai se ho kurios; panton anechou en agape, hosper kai
poieis.3. proseuchais spsolaze adialeiptois; aitou sunesin pleiona hes echeis ...
/...//christianbookshelf.org/lake/the apostolic fathers/pros polukarpon ignatios.htm

Thesaurus
Agape
... in connection with the communion. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. AGAPE.
ag'-a-pe (agape). 1. The Name and the Thing: The name Agape...
/a/agape.htm - 15k

Charity (29 Occurrences)
... char'-i-ti (agape): 1. A New Word 2. A New Ideal 3. An Apostolic Term 4. Latin
Equivalents 5. English Translation 6. Inward Motive 7. Character 8. Ultimate ...
/c/charity.htm - 23k

Kindness (295 Occurrences)
... limit or distinction. Agape, "love" (see CHARITY), is the word in the New
Testament that generally denotes this ideal. "Thou shalt ...
/k/kindness.htm - 45k

Commandment (209 Occurrences)
... Jesus Christ (Roman 5-7). Believers in Christ felt their experience and inward life
to be so changed and new, that it needed a new term (agape = "love") to ...
/c/commandment.htm - 47k

Brotherly (8 Occurrences)
... limit or distinction. Agape, "love" (see CHARITY), is the word in the New
Testament that generally denotes this ideal. "Thou shalt ...
/b/brotherly.htm - 15k

Love (703 Occurrences)
... limit or distinction. Agape, "love" (see CHARITY), is the word in the New
Testament that generally denotes this ideal. "Thou shalt ...
/l/love.htm - 65k

Against (17413 Occurrences)

/a/against.htm - 9k

Eucharist
... To receive the Eucharist after a gluttonous, winebibbing agape, not recognizing
the consecrated elements to be what the Lord Christ called them, is, likewise ...
/e/eucharist.htm - 38k

Supper (17 Occurrences)
... To receive the Eucharist after a gluttonous, winebibbing agape, not recognizing
the consecrated elements to be what the Lord Christ called them, is, likewise ...
/s/supper.htm - 44k

Subapostolic
... The phrase, "after being filled give thanks," suggests that the Agape was still
associated with the sacrament: the dissociation had begun when Pliny wrote to ...
/s/subapostolic.htm - 38k



Against
Top of Page
Top of Page