Romans 12:9-21

Romans 12:9-21
Ordinary A40


Let loveA be genuine;B hateC what is evil,D hold fastE to what is good;F 

Notes on verse 9

A “love” = agape. From agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
B “genuine” = anupokritos. 6x in NT. From a (not, without) + hupokrinomai (to answer, pretend, respond as an actor on stage; figuratively, to lie) {from hupo (by, under, about) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging.)} Properly, this is unhypocritical – not phony. It speaks to actions that are sincere and genuine without guile.
C “hate” = apostugeo. 1x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + the base of stugnetos (hateful, disgusting, despicable, repulsive); {from stugeo (to hate)}. This is to hate, abhor, detest.
D “evil” = poneros. From poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome. Properly, it is something that bears pain – it emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
E “hold fast” = kollao. 12x in NT. From kolla (glue). This is to glue together. So it is joining, spending time with, or being intimately connected it. It can be used for marriage, joining the church, clinging, or adhering to something. It was also used medically for uniting wounds.
F “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.

10 love one another with mutual affection;G outdoH one another in showingI honor.J 

Notes on verse 10

G “mutual affection” = Philadelphia. 6x in NT. From philadelphos (love shared by members of a family, fraternal); {from philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + adelphos (brother in a literal or figurative sense); {{from a (with, sharing) + delphus (womb)}}. This is literally brotherly love – figuratively love of members of the Christian community.
H “outdo” = philostorgos. Related to “mutual affection” in v10. 1x in NT. From philos (see note G above) + storge (love one has for family or kindred – particularly that shared between parents and children). This is one who loves family, showing tender love, being devoted. It can also be used for love within the family of the Christian community.
I “showing” = proegeomai. 1x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + hegeomai (to think, suppose, have an opinion; to lead the way, what comes in front or first, initial thought, high esteem or authority; one who commands in an official capacity); {from ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, go)}. This is to go before, lead by example, prefer, or show deference.
J “honor” = time. From tino (to pay, be punished, pay a penalty or fine because of a crime); from tio (to pay respect, value). This has to do with worth or something’s perceived value. Literally, it means price, but figuratively, it means the honor or value one sees in someone or something else. It can be esteem or dignity. It can also mean precious or valuables.

11 Do not lagK in zeal,L be ardentM in spirit,N serveO the Lord.P 

Notes on verse 11

K “lag” = okneros. 3x in NT. From okneo (to delay, be slow, hesitate from doing something; figuratively, to loath); from oknos (shrinking or hesitation). This is being late because of hesitation. Figuratively, it could be reluctant or lazy, one who drags their feet or is unwilling or unprepared. Figuratively, one who is indolent, irksome, or grievous.
L “zeal” = 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.
M “be ardent” = zeo. 2x in NT. This is to boil, be hot, ferment, bubble, boil, or glow. It is used figuratively for being fervent or earnest. The word is onomatopoeia for the sound that water makes when it boils.
N “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
O “serve” = douleo. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else; could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved)); from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is to be a slave, be in bondage, to serve, obey, be devoted. It is to be a slave in a literal or figurative sense
P “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

12 RejoiceQ in hope,R be patientS in suffering,T persevereU in prayer.V 

Notes on verse 12

Q “rejoice” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).
R “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
S “be patient” = hupomeno. 17x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide). This is properly to remain behind or remain under. It implies endurance, patience, steadfastness, enduring trials, and waiting in hope.
T “suffering” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.
U “persevere” = proskartereo. 10x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + kartereo (to be strong, endure; figuratively to be steadfast, to persevere, to be patient); {from kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised)}. This is to show strength consistently in the face of trials. It can also mean to persist, stand ready, be earnest, or attend to something.
V “prayer” = proseuche. From proseuchomai (to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate; more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s); {from pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray)}. This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays.

13 ContributeW to the needsX of the saints;Y extendZ hospitality to strangers.AA

Notes on verse 13

W “contribute” = koinoneo. 8x in NT. From koinonos (partner, companion, partaker, sharer); From koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with). This is to contribute, participate, or have a share in. It can also mean to distribute.
X “needs” = chreia. From chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.
Y “saints” = 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.
Z “extend” = dioko. Perhaps from dio (put to flight). This is chase or pursue in an aggressive fashion. By implication, it is persecute. It can also be used positively for eagerly pursuing something.
AA “hospitality to strangers” = philoxenia. Related to “mutual affection” and “outdo” in v10. 2x in NT. From philoxenos (literally, fond of or loving strangers; hospitable, generous); {from philos (see note G above) + xenos (foreign or foreigner, an alien or guest; also something new, novel, or strange)}. This is love of strangers, hospitality, generosity in opening one’s home.

14 BlessBB those who persecuteCC you; bless and do not curseDD them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weepEE with those who weep. 

Notes on verses 14-15

BB “bless” = eulogeo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + 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)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.
CC “persecute” = dioko. Same as “extend” in v13. See note Z above.
DD “curse” = kataraomai. 6x in NT. From katara (curse, accursed; a curse as penalty); {from kata (down, against, throughout, among) + ara (prayer, curse, imprecation; a pray for evil); {probably from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}}. This is to curse, execrate, doom.
EE “weep” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.

16 Live in harmony with one another;FF do not beGG haughty,HH but associateII with the lowly;JJ do not claim to beKK wiserLL than you are. 

Notes on verse 16

FF “live in harmony with one another” = ho + autos + eis + allelon + phroneo. Literally “be of the same mind toward one another.” Phroneo is 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 to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action. It refers to one’s insight or inner perspective expressing itself through behavior.
GG “be” = phroneo. Same as “harmony” in v16. See note FF above.
HH “haughty” = hupselos. 12x in NT– in Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptatison story as well as Matthew and Mark’s Transfiguration accounts. From hupsos (height, high position, heaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is high, lofty, or exalted. It can be lofty in elevation or in character.
II “associate” = sunapago. Related to “showing” in v10. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + apago (to lead away, carry, bring; figuratively be seduced or led astray, put to death); {from apo (from, away from) + ago (see note I above)}. This is literally to lead away with so it can mean to carry away or carry along. Figuratively, it can mean to associate with, seduce, or yield.
JJ “lowly” = tapeinos. 8x in NT. This is low in position, depressed, low in circumstance, meek, cast down. Figuratively, it can be humiliated or low in spirit.
KK “claim to be” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another. This is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth. Here, it is in the middle voice, which means it is reflexive.
LL “wiser” = phronimos. Related to “live in harmony” in v16. 14x in NT. From phroneo (see note FF above). This is wise in a practical sense, prudent, or sensible. It bis savvy, rooted in our own point of view, thoughtful. It can also mean conceited.

17 Do not repayMM anyone evilNN for evil, but take thoughtOO for what is noblePP in the sight ofQQ all.RR 

Notes on verse 17

MM “repay” = apodidomi. From apo (from, away from) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is to give back, return, give away. It is to restore as when one makes payment – to rend what is due, to sell.
NN “evil” = kakos. This is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue.
OO “take thought” = pronoeo. 3x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + noeo (to think, understand, conceive, realize, see; one who thinks things through sufficiently to reach a conclusion or value judgment; moral reasoning.); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is literally to think of ahead of time so it is to practice, plan, foresee, respect, regard.
PP “noble” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
QQ “in the sight of” = enopios. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. Literally “in the eye of” so it can mean before in one’s presence.
RR “all” = pas + anthropos. Literally “all people.” Anthropos is perhaps related to “in the sight of” in v17. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (see note QQ above). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

18 If it is possible,SS so far as it depends on you, live peaceablyTT with all.UU 

Notes on verse 18

SS “possible” = dunatos. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is mighty or powerful. It speaks of ability of persons, possibility of things. It is what can be given the power or ability that the subject exhibits. The root verb is also related to miracles i.e. deeds of power.
TT “live peaceably” = eireneuo. 4x in NT. From eirene (one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony; a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) as a well-wishing that included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual; indicates when everything that is essential is joined together properly; peace literally or figuratively; by implication, it is prosperity –not in the sense of excessive wealth, but having enough from day to day); perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is to live in peace, be peaceful, have peace, to have integrity and wholeness.
UU “all” = pas + anthropos. See note RR above.

19 Beloved,VV never avengeWW yourselves, but leaveXX roomYY for the wrathZZ of God; for it is written, “VengeanceAAA is mine, I will repay,BBB says the Lord.” 

Notes on verse 19

VV “beloved” = agapetos. Related to “love” in v9. From agape (see note A above). This is Beloved or very dear one. It is a title for the Messiah, but also for Christians. Properly, this is one who personally experiences God’s love.
WW “avenge” = ekdikeo. 6x in NT. From ekdikos (to avenge, enact a just punishment or judgment); {from ek (from, from out of) + dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); {may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known)}}. This is to defend, vindicate, dole out justice, or avenge. It can also mean retaliate.
XX “leave” = didomi. Related to “repay” in v17. See note MM above.
YY “room” = topos. This is a place or region. It is a smaller space that can only hold a limited number of people whereas chora is a larger place. Figuratively it could be an opportunity.
ZZ “wrath” = orge. From orgao (something that teems or stews; anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.) or from orego (to stretch out towards, yearn for, aspire to, desire). This is impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment. Properly, this is fixed anger from ongoing personal irritation caused by something the one getting angry sees as unjust or evil. Wrath implies punishment. Can refer to human or divine wrath.
AAA “vengeance” = ekdikesis. Related to “avenge” in v19. 9x in NT. From ekdikeo (see note WW above). This is vindication, defense, or vengeance. It is a punishment that is complete.
BBB “repay” = antapodidomi. Related to “repay” in v17 & “leave” in v19. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + apodidomi (see note MM above). This is to pay back, return, = to pay what is fitting. Figuratively, it can also mean to return in good or in evil.

20 No, “if your enemiesCCC are hungry,DDD feedEEE them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink;FFF

Notes on verse 20a

CCC “enemies” = echthros. From echthos (hatred). This is an openly hostile person so an enemy, a foe, or a hated person. This speaks of irreconcilable hostility. It can also mean adversary and/or refer to Satan. Here, in the singular.
DDD “are hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
EEE “feed” = psomizo. 2x in NT. From psomion (crumb, morsel, mouthful); from psomos (fragment, morsel) or from psocho (to rub as rubbing kernels from their husks or rub to pieces); from psallo (to twang, play, sing psalms, pluck a stringed instrument such as a harp); {from psao (to rub). This is to feed with bits or morsels. It can also mean to give, distribute, or nourish.
FFF “give…to drink” = potizo. 15x in NT. From potos (drink or for drinking) OR from pino (to drink literally or figuratively). This is to give to drink, water, furnish, irrigate, or feed.

for by doing this you will heapGGG burningHHH coals on their heads.”III 21 Do not be overcomeJJJ by evil,KKK but overcome evil with good.

Notes on verses 20b-21

GGG “heap” = soreuo. 2x in NT. From soros (a heap). This is to heap, pile up, or weigh down in a literal or figurative sense.
HHH “burning” = pur. This is fire, lightning, heat from the sun. Figuratively, it can refer to strife or trials.
III “heads” = kephale. This is head or chief. It can be a literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord. It can also refer to a corner stone. This is where the word “cephalic” comes from.
JJJ “be overcome” = nikao. From nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful). This is to have victory, overcome, conquer, or prevail. It implies a victory that follows a battle. This root is part of “Nicodemus’s” name and it is also the root where Nike comes from.
KKK “evil” = kakos. Same as “evil” in v17. See note NN above.

Image credit: Crocus damascenus (Crocus cancellatus subsp.) flower by Yuvalr at Mount Ramon, Israel, 2015. 

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