Original Research

Jy moet jou naaste asook jou vyand liefhê: Liefde in Lukas 6:27–38 en 10:25–37

Jan G. van der Watt
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2744 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2744 | © 2021 Jan G. van der Watt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2021 | Published: 21 July 2021

About the author(s)

Jan G. van der Watt, Department of New Testament, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; and Department of New Testament, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

You must love your neighbour as well as your enemy: Love in Luke 6:27–38 and 10:25–37. The background of this study is found in the common perception that love as concept is linked to Jesus as basic ethical commandment and identity marker of Christians. This view has been challenged lately, and will be reconsidered in light of Luke. The question addressed as objective of this article is whether the Lukan Jesus may be called the ‘Jesus of love’, as Jesus refers only twice (Lk 6:27–38 and 10:25–37) to intense personal love (ἀγαπάω – akin to love typical of family or friends). Following established exegetical approaches, all the uses in Luke of the word groups ἀγαπάω/ἀγάπη and φιλέω/φίλος were analysed, illustrating the diverse ways in which these words are used by Luke. The two contexts referring to intense love were analysed in more detail and it was shown that love functions as the overarching term for other terms referring to concepts such as mercy, compassion, good deeds, non-retaliation and other concepts linked to the underdogs, enemies, the poor, oppressed or women in Luke. The result of the investigation was that, although the Lukan Jesus does not use the term ἀγαπάω frequently, the idea of love as overarching term is indirectly attested through the use of these other terms describing compassion, respect, assistance, mercy, et cetera. In this sense, the Lukan Jesus is the ‘Jesus of love’.

Contribution: The contribution to research lies in the detailed description of the semantics of love in Luke and showing that Jesus’ ministry might, with good reason, be described as a ministry of love.


Keywords

love for enemies; love in Luke; neighbour in Luke; Luke 6:27–38; Luke 10:25–37.

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