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Romans 12


Rom 12:1

Therefore (ουν). This inferential participle gathers up all the great argument of chapters 1-11. Now Paul turns to exhortation (παρακαλω), "I beseech you."

By the mercies (δια των οικτιρμων). "By means of the mercies of God" as shown in his argument and in our lives. See 2Co 1:3 for "the Father of mercies."

To present (παραστησα). First aorist active infinitive of παριστημ, for which verb see 6:13, a technical term for offering a sacrifice (Josephus, Ant. IV. 6, 4), though not in the O.T. Used of presenting the child Jesus in the temple (Lu 2:22 ), of the Christian presenting himself (Ro 6:13 ), of God presenting the saved (Eph 5:27 ), of Christ presenting the church (Col 1:28 ).

Bodies (σωματα). So literally as in 6:13,19; 2Co 5:10 and in contrast with νους (mind) in verse 2.

A living sacrifice (θυσιαν ζωσαν). In contrast with the Levitical sacrifices of slain animals. Cf. 6:8,11,13 . Not a propitiatory sacrifice, but one of praise.

Acceptable (ευαρεστον). "Well-pleasing." See on 2Co 5:9 .

Which is your reasonable service (την λογικην υμων λατρειαν). "Your rational (spiritual) service (worship)." For λατρεια, see on 9:4. Λογικος is from λογος, reason. The phrase means here "worship rendered by the reason (or soul)." Old word, in N.T. only here and 1Pe 2:2 το λογικον γαλα (not logical milk, but the milk nourishing the soul).


Rom 12:2

Be not fashioned (μη συνσχηματιζεσθε). Present passive imperative with μη, stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned. Late Greek verb συσχηματιζω, to conform to another's pattern (1Co 7:31; Php 2:7f. ). In N.T. only here and 1Pe 1:14 .

According to this world (τω αιων τουτω). Associative instrumental case. Do not take this age as your fashion plate.

Be ye transformed (μεταμορφουσθε). Present passive imperative of μεταμορφοω, another late verb, to transfigure as in Mt 17:2 (Mr 9:2 ); 2Co 3:18 , which see. On the distinction between σχημα and μορφη, see Php 2:7 . There must be a radical change in the inner man for one to live rightly in this evil age, "by the renewing of your mind" (τη ανακαινωσε του νοος). Instrumental case. The new birth, the new mind, the new (καινος) man.

That ye may prove (εις το δοκιμαζειν). Infinitive of purpose with εις το, "to test" what is God's will, "the good and acceptable and perfect" (το αγαθον κα ευαρεστον κα τελειον).


Rom 12:3

Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (μη υπερφρονειν παρ' ο δε φρονειν). Indirect negative command after λεγω (I say). Play on the two infinitives φρονειν, to think, and υπερφρονειν (old verb from υπερφρων, over-proud, here only in N.T.) to "over-think" with παρ' ο (beyond what) added. Then another play on φρονειν and σωφρονειν (old verb from σωφρων, sober-minded), to be in one's right mind (Mr 5:15; 2Co 5:13 ). Self-conceit is here treated as a species of insanity.

A measure of faith (μετρον πιστεως). Accusative case, the object of the verb εμερισεν. Each has his gift from God (1Co 3:5; 4:7 ). There is no occasion for undue pride.

To each man (εκαστω). Emphatic position before ως (as) and emphasizes the diversity.


Rom 12:4

The same office (την αυτην πραξιν). Mode of acting or function. Cf. Ac 19:18; Ro 8:13 .


Rom 12:5

And severally (το δε καθ' εις). A difficult late idiom where the preposition καθ' (κατα) is treated adverbially with no effect on the nominative case εις like υπερ εγω (2Co 11:23 ). So εις καθ' εις (Mr 14:19 ) and in Modern Greek καθεις as a distributive pronoun. But we have καθ' ενα in 1Co 14:31 . The use of the neuter article here το with καθ' εις is probably the accusative of general reference, "as to each one."


Rom 12:6

Differing (διαφορα). Old adjective from διαφερω, to differ, to vary. So Heb 9:10 .

According to the proportion of our faith (κατα την αναλογιαν της πιστεως). The same use of πιστις (faith) as in verse 3 "the measure of faith." Old word. αναλογια (our word "analogy") from αναλογος (analogous, conformable, proportional). Here alone in N.T. The verb προφητευωμεν (present active volitive subjunctive, let us prophesy) must be supplied with which εχοντες agrees. The context calls for the subjective meaning of "faith" rather than the objective and outward standard though πιστις does occur in that sense (Ga 1:23; 3:23 ).


Rom 12:7

Let us give ourselves . There is no verb in the Greek. We must supply δÂωμεν εαυτους or some such phrase.

Or he that teacheth (ειτε ο διδασκων). Here the construction changes and no longer do we have the accusative case like διακονιαν (general word for Christian service of all kinds including ministers and deacons) as the object of εχοντες, but the nominative articular participle. A new verb must be supplied of which ο διδασκων is the subject as with the succeeding participles through verse 8. Perhaps in each instance the verb is to be repeated from the participle like διδασκετω here (let him teach) or a general term ποιειτω (let him do it) can be used for all of them as seems necessary before "with liberality" in verse 8 (εν απλοτητ, in simplicity, for which word, see Mt 6:22; 2Co 8:2; 9:11,13 ).

He that ruleth (ο προισταμενος). "The one standing in front" for which see 1Th 5:12 .

With diligence (εν σπουδη). "In haste" as if in earnest (Mr 6:25; 2Co 7:11f., 8:8,16 ), from σπευδω, to hasten. Again verse 11.

With cheerfulness (εν ιλαροτητ). Late word, only here in N.T., from ιλαρος (2Co 9:7 ) cheerful, hilarious.


Rom 12:9

Without hypocrisy (ανυποκριτος). Late double compound adjective for which see 2Co 6:6 . Hypocritical or pretended love is no love at all as Paul describes αγαπη in 1Co 13 .

Abhor (αποστυγουντες). Old verb with intensive (απο) dislike, only here in N.T. The present active participle is here employed in the sense of the present active indicative as sometimes happens with the independent participle (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1132ff.). This same idiom appears with κολλωμενο (cleaving) for which verb see on 1Co 6:17 , with προηγουμενο (preferring) in verse 10 (old verb here only in N.T.), and with the participles in verses 11-13 and again in verses 16-18. One can supply εστε if he prefers.


Rom 12:10

In love of the brethren (τη φιλαδελφια). Late word for brotherly love for which see 1Th 4:9 .

Tenderly affectioned (φιλοστοργο). Old compound adjective from φιλος and στοργη (mutual love of parents and children), here alone in N.T.


Rom 12:11

Slothful (οκνηρο). Old adjective from οκνεω, to hesitate, to be slow. Slow and "poky" as in Mt 25:26 .


Rom 12:12

Patient in tribulation (τη θλιψε υπομενοντες). So soon this virtue became a mark of the Christians.


Rom 12:13

Communicating (κοινωνουντες). "Contributing." From κοινωνεω for which see 2Co 9:13 . Paul had raised a great collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Given to hospitality (την φιλοξενιαν διωκοντες). "Pursuing (as if in a chase or hunt) hospitality" (φιλοξενια, old word from φιλοξενος, fond of strangers, φιλος and ξενος as in 1Ti 3:2 ). In N.T. only here and Heb 13:2 . See 2Co 3:1 . They were to pursue (διωκω) hospitality as their enemies pursued (διωκοντας) them.


Rom 12:14

And curse not (κα μη καταρασθε). Present middle imperative with μη. Like Mt 5:44 in spirit, not a quotation, but a reminiscence of the words of Jesus. The negative addition gives emphasis. See Lu 6:28 for the old verb καταραομα from καταρα (curse).


Rom 12:15

Rejoice (χαιρειν). Present active infinitive of χαιρω, absolute or independent use of the infinitive as if a finite verb as occurs sometimes (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1092ff.). Literally here, "Rejoicing with rejoicing people, weeping with weeping people."


Rom 12:16

Be of the same mind (το αυτο φρονουντες). Absolute or independent use of the participle again as with all the participles through verse 18, "thinking the same thing."

Set not your mind on high things (μη τα υψηλα φρονουντες). "Not thinking the high things" (υψηλος from υψος, height). Cf. 1Co 13:5 .

Condescend to things that are lowly (τοις ταπεινοις συναπαγομενο). "Be carried away with (borne along with) the lowly things" (in contrast with τα υψηλα, though the associative instrumental case may be masculine, "with lowly men." See Ga 2:13; 2 Peter 3:17 for the only other N.T. examples of this old verb.

Be not wise (μη γινεσθε φρονιμο). "Do not have the habit of becoming (γινεσθε) wise in your own conceits" (παρ' εαυτοις, beside yourselves). Note the imperative in the midst of infinitives and participles.


Rom 12:17

Render to no man (μηδεν αποδιδοντες). "Giving back to no man." Independent participle again.

Evil for evil (κακον αντ κακου). Directly opposite to the law of retaliation of the Pharisees as in Mt 5:39; 1Th 5:15; 1Co 13:5f .

Take thought of (προνοουμενο). "Taking thought beforehand." Old word. See 2Co 8:21 .


Rom 12:18

As much as in you lieth (το εξ υμων). Accusative of general reference, "so far as what proceeds from you" ("the from you part"). See το κατ' εμε in 1:15. This phrase explains "if it be possible" (ε δυνατον). "All your part is to be peace" (Alford). For "be at peace" (ειρηνευοντες) see 2Co 13:11 .


Rom 12:19

Avenge not (μη εκδικουντες). Independent participle again of late verb εκδικεω from εκδικος, exacting justice ( 13:4). See already Lu 18:5; 2Co 10:6 .

But give place unto wrath (αλλα δοτε τοπον τη οργη). Second aorist active imperative of διδωμ, to give. "Give room for the (note article as in 5:9; 1Th 2:16 ) wrath" of God instead of taking vengeance in your own hands. See Eph 4:27 for διδοτε τοπον. Paul quotes De 32:35 (the Hebrew rather than the LXX). So have Heb 10:30 and the Targum of Onkelos, but the relation between them and Paul we cannot tell. Socrates and Epictetus condemned personal vindictiveness as Paul does here.

I will recompense (ανταποδωσω). Future active of the double compound verb quoted also in 11:35.


Rom 12:20

Feed him (ψωμιζε αυτον). Quotation from LXX text of Pr 25:21f . Present active imperative of verb from ψωμος, a morsel, and so to feed crumbs to babies, then to feed in general. In N.T. only here and 1Co 13:3 .

Thou shalt heap (σωρευσεις). Future active of old verb σωρευω from σωρος, a heap. In N.T. only here and 2Ti 3:6 .

Coals of fire (ανθρακας πυρος). That is, burning or live coals.

Anthrax (our "anthracite") is an old word, only here in N.T. It is a metaphor for keen anguish. The Arabs have a proverb "coals in the heart," "fire in the liver." Such kindness may lead to repentance also.


Rom 12:21

Be not overcome of evil (μη νικω υπο του κακου). Present passive imperative of νικαω, to conquer. "Stop being conquered by the evil (thing or man),"

But overcome evil with good (αλλα νικα εν τω αγαθω το κακον). "But keep on conquering the evil in the good." Drown the evil in the good. Seneca: Vincit malos pertinax bonitas.

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