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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
BELOVED.—Wherever the word rendered ‘beloved’ (ἀγαπητός—in 9 places Authorized Version has ‘dearly beloved’ and in 3 places ‘well-beloved’; in every case Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 has ‘beloved’ only) is used in the NT, it seems to imply a love deeper and more intimate than the common affections, and is therefore but sparingly employed. In the Epistles it is the indication of the inner brotherhood, and its very form ‘beloved brethren’ has passed into every liturgy. St. Paul uses it to distinguish, as with peculiar honour, those whom he has personally enlightened with the new faith, as Epaenetus (Romans 16:5), Timothy (1 Corinthians 4:17), or a whole community (1 Corinthians 10:14, Philippians 2:12). But in the Gospels the word is used solely concerning Christ, and marks out the Son’s especial relationship to the Father. There is abundance of love throughout the Gospels: whether of Jesus for John and the rest, or of the disciples and others for Him: and there is no weakness or timidity in the expression of the love. But to none other save Himself is the word ‘beloved’ applied. He Himself uses it but once, and then in the parable of the Lord of the Vineyard, wherein the ‘beloved son’ is the evident picture of the Son of Man (Mark 12:6 [Authorized Version ‘well-beloved’], Luke 20:13). Elsewhere the Evangelists (Synoptists only), who give the word, report it as the utterance of God, the Divine recognition and approval of the Son. The influence of the OT is plainly visible in the words heard at the Baptism. Jesus hears the voice of God pronouncing a benediction in clearest remembrance of Psalms 2:7, ‘Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee,’ and of Isaiah 42:1 ‘My chosen, in whom my soul delighteth’ (quoted in Matthew 12:18; cf. Bruce, Expos. Gr. Test., in loc.); for the Synoptists agree in the phrase ‘My beloved son in (thee whom) I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). And there is something beautifully fitting in this consecration of the opening of His ministry by a blended echo of psalm and prophecy. The other occasion of the word is that record of another great revealing moment of His life—the Transfiguration, when two of the three tell of ‘a voice out of the cloud (saying), This is my beloved son, hear ye him’ (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7; in the || Luke 9:36 the true reading is ἐκλελεγμένος).
Literature.—The Lexicons of Cremer and Grimm-Thayer, s.v. ἀγατητός; R. H. Charles, Ascension of Isaiah (1900), p. 3 and passim; J. A. Robinson, Epistle to Ephesians (1904), 229; art. ‘Beloved’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Beloved'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/b/beloved.html. 1906-1918.