Romans 13:11-14

Romans 13:11-14
Advent A1


11Besides this, you knowA what timeB it is, how it is nowC the moment for you to wakeD from sleep.E For salvationF is nearerG to us nowH than when we became believers;I 12The night is far gone,J the day is nearK. Let us then lay asideL the works of darknessM and put onN the armorO of light;P

Notes on verse 11

A “know” = eido. This is to see physically, but also to understand metaphorically. To be aware, consider, remember.
B “time” = kairos. There is a different word in Greek for regular, calculable time – chronos (where we get “chronology” from). Kairos is occasion, season, opportunity. This is time in a more abstract sense or time as experienced with holy significance.
C “now” = ede. This word means “already now” or “even now”. It speaks of something that isn’t all the way here yet, but it already affects the present moment.
D “wake” = egeiro. This is to waken or raise up. Can be to wake from sleep, to rise from sitting or lying down, to wake from death. Figuratively, to rise from obscurity, ruin, or inactivity.
E “sleep” = hupnos. 6x in NT. This is sleep literally or figuratively to describe spiritual disconnect. This is where we get “hypnosis” from.
F “salvation” = soteria. From soter (savior, deliverer, preserver); from sozo (to save, heal, rescue; to deliver from danger to a place of safety); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, welfare, prosperity, preservation. The theological study of doctrines of salvation is called “soteriology” after this word.
G “nearer” = egguteron. 1x in NT. From eggus (near in place or time, ready, at hand; near in a literal or figurative sense).
H “now” = nun. Different word from “now” in v11. This word means this moment, which logically follows what came before it.
I “became believers” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence); from peitho (to persuade, have confidence, urge). This is to believe, entrust, have faith in. When the Bible talks about faith, it is not talking about having every belief nailed down, every doctrine correct, perfectly understanding the mind of God. In the Bible, the many words for faith have their roots in notions of trust and faithfulness. Not having it all figured out is totally reasonable – it is our task to learn what it means to trust God in word, deed, and act.

Notes on verse 12

J “far gone” = prokopto. 6x in NT. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + kopto (to cut off, strike; to cut so that something is severed). Literally, this is cutting forward a path like someone machete-ing their way through dense brush. So, it means to advance, progress, or lead. It could be to advance in number, size, time, or earnings.
K “near” = eggizo. Related to “nearer” in v11. From eggus (see note G above). This is to come or bring near, to approach. It is used for very close, a presence.
L “lay aside” = apotithemi. 9x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + tithemi (to play, lay, set, fix, establish). This is to put off, put aside, renounce. So, to put away literally or figuratively.
M “darkness” = skotos. This is either literal or moral darkness, shadiness, obscurity.
N “put on” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, with) + duno (to enter, sink into). This word is to put on clothing or to array. Literally, it means sinking into like sinking into a garment.
O “armor” = hoplon. 6x in NT. This is a tool, implement, weapon, instrument, armor, or arms. Usually refers to something used in war. Used literally and figuratively.
P “light” = photos. From phao (to shine, make manifest); related to phaino (to bring to light, cause to appear, shine, become visible). This is light or a source of light, radiance or fire. It includes light and the results of that light (the things it reveals). This is used for natural or artificial light, literal or figurative.

13let us liveQ honorablyR as in the day, not in revelingS and drunkenness, not in debaucheryT and licentiousness,U not in quarrelingV and jealousy.W 14Instead, put onX the LordY JesusZ Christ,AA and make no provision for the flesh,BB to gratify its desires.CC

Notes on verse 13

Q “live” = peripateo. From peri (about, around, encompassing) + pateo (to tread, trample on literal or figurative) [from patos (trodden)]). This is to walk. Hearkening back to the Hebrew sense of “walk” meaning the way one lives one’s life – general conduct and path of life chosen. This is also where “peripatetic” comes from.
R “honorably” = euschemonos. 3x in NT – 1x to live honorably (Rom 13:13), 1x all things in the church should be done decently and in order (1 Cor 14:40), and 1x behave properly toward outsiders (1 Th 4:12). From euschemon (seemly, decorous, holding social status, wealthy, influential, prominent; properly, having good form and thus desirable, noble); from eu (well, well done, good) + schema (figure, shape, fashion, habit, form, appearance) [from echo (to have, hold, possess]. This word means having good form – so, respectable, honorable, modest, noble. Shares a root with the word “scheme” and “schematic.”
S “reveling” = komos. 3x in NT. From kome (village, country town; a city or town with no wall). This is a village festival and so a revel, feasting, carousing. Likely a reference to the riotous, drunken festivals following grape harvest, which could have included a general letting loose – even rioting.
T “debauchery” = koite. 4x in NT. From keimai (to be laid, lie, recline, be placed; to lie outstretched literally or figuratively). This is bed, a marriage bed, or promiscuity generally.
U “licentiousness” = aselgeia. 10x in NT. From aselges (brutal) OR from a (not) + selges (temperant). This is licentiousness, wantonness, lasciviousness. This would be any behavior deemed outrageous or an affront to public sensibility including violence. This is acting without restraint and indulging impulses.
V “quarreling” = eris. 9x in NT. This is strife, contention, wrangling, or debate. This would be someone who likes to quarrel, who goes looking for a fight.
W “jealousy” = zelos. 16x in NT – 10x in a negative sense, 6x in a positive sense. May be from zeo (to boil, be hot, be fervent, to be earnest, to burn in the spirit; to ferment, seethe, or bubble;) used to describe mental states and feelings; in a literal sense, it would be boiling for liquids and glowing for solids. Zelos is earnestness, zeal, rivalry, jealousy. It is a warm feeling that bubbles over strongly and becomes fervent. So, burning anger or love, or passion as zeal.

Notes on verse 14

X “put on” = enduo. Same as “put on” in Rom 13:12 (see note N).
Y “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful title like sir, master, or lord. Used to designate one with authority. Also a title for God, “Lord”.
Z “Jesus” = Iesous. From the Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, “the Lord is salvation”) [from YHVH (proper name of God, the tetragrammaton, the self-existent and eternal one. The true pronunciation of this name was lost and it is generally rendered as “Lord.”); from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe; properly, this is to be open or free; so, causatively to bring someone to a place of being open or free, to save them)]. This is “Jesus” or “Joshua” rendered in Greek. It means “the Lord saves” or “the Lord is salvation.”
AA “Christ” = christos. From chrio (to anoint with oil, to consecrate by means of anointing). Literally, “the anointed one.” This is where we get the word Christ from. It is the Greek word used for Messiah.
BB “flesh” = sarkos. This is flesh, body, human nature, that which is material, kindred. The flesh is not always used in a negative sense in Scripture, though it usually is. This is the same word used to describe Jesus taking on human flesh, for example. The negative sense looks at are impulses and actions that do not derive from faith and trust in God. It is very much in the mind/body dualism of Greco-Roman thought. It is human as animal, emotional, impassioned, and frail. However, since the flesh is external, it also refers to the outward signs that show us to be related to one another.
CC “desires” = epithumia. From epithumeo (to desire, lust after, long for, set one’s heart on; focused passion); from epi (on, upon) + thumos (passion, wrath, indignation, fierceness; passion-driven actions whether of impulse of feelings), related to thuella (whirlwind, storm, tempest); from thuo (to rage, seethe, sacrifice an animal as part of worship;) properly, this verb refers to the rush of wind or smoke blowing or breathing hard; so, it implies sacrifice by fire and, by extension, general slaughter or burning. Epithumia is desire, passionate longing, lust, eagerness for. This is an excess of desire and urges. Can be positive or negative.

Image credit: “Saint Paul Resurrecting Eutychus” by Jacques Francois Courtin, 1707.

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