This word seems to require explanation only in the case of its
use by our Lord in his interview with "Simon, the son of Jonas,"
after his resurrection (John 21:16, 17). When our Lord says,
"Lovest thou me?" he uses the Greek word "agapas"; and when
Simon answers, he uses the Greek word "philo", i.e., "I love."
This is the usage in the first and second questions put by our
Lord; but in the third our Lord uses Simon's word. The
distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly
described by Trench:, ""Agapan" has more of judgment and
deliberate choice; "philein" has more of attachment and peculiar
personal affection. Thus the 'Lovest thou' (Gr. agapas) on the
lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word,
as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least
not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of
his heart he desired now to do. Therefore he puts by the word
and substitutes his own stronger 'I love' (Gr. philo) in its
room. A second time he does the same. And now he has conquered;
for when the Lord demands a third time whether he loves him, he
does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter ('Lovest
thou,' Gr. phileis), which alone claims from him that personal
attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his
heart is full."

In 1 Cor. 13 the apostle sets forth the excellency of love, as
the word "charity" there is rendered in the Revised Version.