The puzzle of John 21:15-17: a formality solution

John A. L. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The alternation of the words for “love” in John 21:15-17 is a long-standing puzzle that has defied solution. It is suggested in this note that ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ carry a slight difference of “formality” as a result of their history and that this can account for the interplay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalNovum Testamentum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • formality
  • John 21:15-17
  • NT
  • ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ


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