Romans 12:1-8

Romans 12:1-8
Proper 16A


I appealA to you therefore, brothersB and sisters, by the merciesC of God,D

Notes on verse 1a

A “appeal” = parakaleo. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.
B “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
C “mercies” = oiktirmos. 5x in NT. From oiktiro (to have compassion or pity for – responding with sympathy); from oiktos (pity). This is compassion, favor, grace, mercy in response to someone else’s misfortune.
D “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

to presentE your bodiesF as a living sacrifice,G holyH and acceptableI to God, which is your spiritualJ worship.K 

Notes on verse 1b

E “present” = paristemi. From para (from beside, by) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is literally to place by stand. It can mean to present, exhibit, appear, bring, stand by, or prove. It can also mean to be ready, to assist, to yield, or to commend.
F “bodies” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
G “sacrifice” = thusia. From thuo (to breathe violently, seethe, rage; properly, to rush as breathing heavy; so smoke as in offering an animal sacrifice by fire; by extension, killing or slaying in general). This is a sacrifice or offering. It can refer to the act of sacrifice or the thing being sacrificed. Also, this is sacrifice in a literal or figurative sense.
H “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
I “acceptable” = euarestos. 9x in NT. From eu (good, well done, rightly); {from eus (good)} + aresko (to please or be agreeable; implies voluntarily serving others, satisfying others, or making good to win their favor or approval; often used for moral agreement; being agreeable or trying to be agreeable); {perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is literally well-pleasing – often used of something that is pleasing or acceptable to God.
J “spiritual” = logikos. 2x in NT. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is reasonable or rational. It can refer to a word or mean thoughtful. Figuratively, this is logical or spiritual as contrasted with literal. Logic, here, seen as divine reason.
K “worship” = latreia. 5x in NT. From latreuo (giving good, technical service because qualified or equipped to do so; to serve, minister, worship, or give homage); from latris (a hired servant; someone who is qualified to perform a technical task). This is service, divine worship, ministering to God.

2 Do not be conformedL to this world,M but be transformedN by the renewingO of your minds,P

Notes on verse 2a

L “be conformed” = suschematizo. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + schematizo (to give something a specific shape or form) OR form sun (with, together with) + schema (figure, appearance, form – outer shape; figuratively, can be external condition); {from echo (to have, hold, possess)}. This is sharing a similar appearance or expression – something that corresponds to the same model or patter. It is to conform to or fashion in accordance with.
M “world” = aion. From the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.
N “be transformed” = metamorphoo. 4x in NT. From meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action) + morpho (to form, mold, shape; coming into the shape that signified inner essence) {from morphe (form, shape, external appearance; an appearance that embodies inner essence; figuratively, the nature of something); {perhaps from meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}. This is to transform or change. It is the root that “metamorphosis” comes from.
O “renewing” = anakainosis. 2x in NT. From anakainoo (to renew, renovate, to make new); {from ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + kainos (not new as in new versus old; new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh)}. This is renewal that includes internal change as well as changing one’s life and actions. It can also be renovation.
P “minds” = nous. Perhaps from ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect. It can refer to God’s mind or human minds – thoughts, feelings, will, or reflective thinking.

so that you may discernQ what is the willR of God—what is goodS and acceptable and perfect.T

Notes on verse 2b

Q “discern” = dokimazo. From dokimos (what passes the test, approved, acceptable, genuine, verified); from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense) or dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); {from dokos (opinion)}. This is to test, examine, prove. It is to approve after subjecting to a test to determine if it is real or acceptable. It is to test in a literal or figurative sense.
R “will” = thelema. From thelo (to desire, wise, will, intend). This is the act of will, choice, purpose, or decree.
S “good” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.
T “perfect” = teleios. 19x in NT. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax). This is going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one. This is reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect.” It is also full grown or mature.

For by the graceU given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highlyV than you oughtW to think,X

Notes on verse 3a

U “grace” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
V “to think…highly” = huperphroneo. 1x in NT. From huper (by, under, subordinate to another) + phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is literally to have high thoughts – to be proud, vain, or arrogant or go beyond what is reasonable. It is one who does not show humility and is disconnected from reality.
W “ought” = dei. From deo (to tie, bind, compel; declare unlawful). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
X “think” = phroneo. Related to “to think…highly” in v3. See note V above.

but to think with sober judgment,Y each according to the measureZ of faithAA that God has assigned.BB 

Notes on verse 3b

Y “sober judgment” = sophroneo. Related to “to think…highly” and “think” in v3. 6x in NT. From sophron (self-controlled, modest, prudent because balanced; it is a balance that is tailored to individual circumstances and not a universal balance for all circumstances); {from the same as sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well)} + phren (see note V above)}. This is to be temperate, to show self-control, to be sensible or have good judgment. It is judgment that shows balance, is moderate.
Z “measure” = metron. 14x in NT. This is a measure, whether of distance or volume. It can be a tool for measuring or the measure itself. Figuratively, it is that which determines what is sufficient.
AA “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
BB “assigned” = merizo. Perhaps related to “be transformed” in v2. 14x in NT. From meros (see note N above). This is to divide, part, share, distribute, assign. Figuratively, it can mean to differ.

4 For as in one body we have many members,CC and not all the members have the same function,DD so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,EE and individually we are members one of another.FF 

Notes on verses 4-5

CC “members” = melos. This is a limb or an organ of the body. So, it is a member of a greater whole. It is used figuratively for the body of Christ.
DD “function” = praxis. 6x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, deed, business, practice, or function. It implies ongoing activity or responsibility.
EE “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
FF “of another” = allelon. From allos (other, different, another; this is one more of the same kind or a similar type). So, this is each, another, together, or mutual. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).

We have giftsGG that differHH according to the grace given to us: prophecy,II in proportionJJ to faith; 

Notes on verse 6

GG “gifts” = charisma. Related to “grace” in v3. From charizomai (to show favor, kindness, or grace, to pardon, forgive); from charis (see note U above). This is grace, undeserved favor, a free gift, or a spiritual gift. It is the working of grace, some spiritual gift or religious qualification. It could be some kind of miraculous endowment.
HH “differ” = diaphoros. 4x in NT. From diaphero (to carry through as in all the way to the end; differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison; literally, to transport – figuratively to report or surpass); {from dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is to different or diverse. It can also be excellent or surpassing.
II “prophecy” = propheteia. 19x in NT. From prophetes (prophet or poet; one who speaks with inspiration from God); {from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}}. This is prophecy or prediction. It is when a prophet reveals the truth that they received.
JJ “proportion” = analogia. Related to “spiritual” in v1. 1x in NT. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + logos (see note J above). This is proportion or analogy. It is reasoning that compares things along a logical train of thought. This is where the word “analogy” comes from.

ministry,KK in ministering; the teacher,LL in teaching;MM the exhorter,NN in exhortation;OO

Notes on verses 7-8a

KK “ministry” = diakonia. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is service, ministry, attending someone, service. It can mean serving someone at a table or otherwise as their servant/slave. It is also used for people who serve/minister in temples, as well as the work of Christian ministry. Figuratively, this word can mean money given for charity. This shares a root with “deacon” and is where the word “diaconate” comes from.
LL “teacher” = didasko. From dao (learn). This is to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge. In the New Testament, this is almost always used for teaching scripture.
MM “teaching” = didaskalia. Related to “teacher” in v7. From didaskalos (teacher, master); from didasko (see note LL above). Instruction or teaching – whether the act of teaching or the content that is disseminated. It is teaching that includes application to daily life.
NN “exhorter” = parakaleo. Same as “appeal” in v1. See note A above.
OO “exhortation” = paraklesis. Related to “appeal” in v1. From parakaleo (see note A above). This is a call to assistance, a personal summoning. The word comes from the legal realm. More broadly, it can be exhortation, encouragement, entreaty, consolation, or joy.

the giver,PP in generosity;QQ the leader,RR in diligence;SS the compassionate,TT in cheerfulness.UU

Notes on verse 8b

PP “giver” = metadidomi. Related to “given” in v3. 5x in NT. From meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is share, bestow – it can be giving so that ownership changes hands.
QQ “generosity” = haplotes. 8x in NT. From haplous (properly, unfolded; simple as a single thing; sound, perfect, fixed focus without ulterior motive); {from a (with) + perhaps ploos (voyage, navigation)}; {from pleo (to sail, voyage); probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)}}. This is singleness, simplicity, purity, bountifulness. It is sincerity that is not self-seeking. Objectively, this can be generosity.
RR “leader” = proistemi. Related to “present” in v1. 8x in NT. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + histemi (see note E above). This is someone whose character is well grounded and is a leader/role-model to others – leading by example. It is one who rules, resides over, or directs. It can also mean one who practices diligently.
SS “diligence” = spoude. 12x in NT. From speudo (to hurry, urge on, await); probably from pous (foot in a figurative or literal sense). This is haste, diligence, earnestness, effort. It is being swift to demonstrate one’s enthusiasm. It is doing what one is told right away and with full effort.
TT “compassionate” = eleeo. From eleos (mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion; generally understood in action by word or deed). This is to have pity on, show mercy to, be compassionate; often used for God’s grace. When we sing or say “kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy), it is from this root verb.
UU “cheerfulness” = hilarotes. 1x in NT. From hilaros (satisfied, cheerful, benevolent; ready to act because persuaded; willing); from the same as hileos (forgiving, merciful, gracious, cheerful as benevolent; a way to say “far be it”); from hilaos (gracious, benevolent) or from haireomai (to take, choose, or prefer) {probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is cheerfulness or graciousness. It is also a readiness to respond and act willingly. This is where the word “hilarious” comes from.

Image credit: “World Peace Wall” at the Quezon Memorial Circle in the Philippines, 2009.

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