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2001 Translation

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    Brotherly love, brotherly affection, or brotherly kindness?

    Some Bibles would put a phrase like ‘brotherly affection’ or ‘brotherly kindness’ here, but we use ‘love.’ Why?

    The word used in the Aramaic source text of 2 Peter 1:7 for ‘love’ is huwb’ah, which is the same word used in Paul’s epic description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Therefore, this is something deeper than mere affection or kindness. Since our project assumes that 2 Peter may have been originally penned in Aramaic, this word association holds much weight.

    But what about the Greek? Well, the Ancient Greek translator used the word philadelphian. The first part, phila–, refers to the love a person may have for a close friend (the related Greek word phileo means friend). Usually philea is viewed as a lesser form of love (or affection), so did the Greek translator get it wrong? Probably not. Remember that AbraHam was called God’s friend (phileo). The second part, –adelphos, means brothers. So, philadelphian refers to a close brotherly love or friendship. The translator may have viewed that as an appropriate term for a love that is as close as that between Jehovah/Yahweh and AbraHam.

    The context of Peter’s words at 2 Peter 1:7 appears to show that brotherly love is one step away from achieving pure love. So for the all of the above reasons, we use the words ‘brotherly love’ here rather than mere affection or kindness.