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In a book full of iconic moments, one part of the Gospel of John stands out above all others: the moment when Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. It’s a key moment in our understanding of Peter’s relationship to Christ. Unfortunately, it only works in the original Greek.

Unlike modern English, ancient Greek had multiple words for expressing love. Greeks could express their feelings using Eros (sexual love), Philia (friendship), or Agape (selfless love). In the Gospel of John, Jesus very specifically asks Peter twice if he loves Him using the term Agape (“do you selflessly love Me?”) Peter, who later denies knowing Jesus, can only respond with Philia (“I love You as a friend“).

The choice of words becomes even more important when Jesus asks Peter the third time. Instead of saying “Agape” again, He switches to “Philia,” coming down to Peter’s level. This explains why Peter gets recoils at being asked the third time. By throwing his words back at him, Jesus is showing Peter the limitations of his devotion. For the Gospels’ original readers, this would be an absolutely pivotal scene. In English, it simply seems like the Son of God is hard of hearing. -- http://listverse.com/

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