Romans 15:4-13

Romans 15:4-13
Advent A2


4 For whatever was written in former daysA was written for our instruction,B so that by steadfastnessC and by the encouragementD of the scripturesE we might have hope.F 5 May the GodG of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmonyH I with one another, in accordance with ChristJ Jesus,K 6 so that togetherL you may with one voice glorifyM the God and Father of our LordN Jesus Christ.

Notes on verses 4-6

A “written in former days” = prographo. 4x in NT. From pro (before, in front of) + grapho (to write, stand written). This is to write previously, as written above or designated before. Also, to display publicly or openly. Figuratively, it is to announce or prescribe.
B “instruction” = didaskalia. From didasko (to teach; literally to cause to learn, impart knowledge, give information); from dao (to learn). This is instruction itself, that which is taught, doctrine. This is not teaching in the abstract, but as applicable to every day life and requiring adjustment of choices and behavior on the part of the student.
C “steadfastness” = hupomone. From hupo (by, under, about) + meno (to stay, abide, remain, wait, continue). This is properly remaining under, endurance. So, perseverance – bearing forward with hope and constancy. Could also be rendered as one who bears up under a load. This is used to refer to someone suffering or undergoing trials.
D “encouragement” = paraklesis. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call, summon, invite, name, call forth; to call aloud). This is encouragement, comfort, summons, entreaty, joy, gladness, consolation, urging. It is to call to one’s aid. This is also a legal term for one who gives evidence, an advocate. This root is shared with “paraclete,” one of the terms for the Spirit (the advocate/comforter).
E “scriptures” = graphe. Related to “written in former days” in v4 and “written” in v4 From grapho (see above, note A). This word is literally just writing. In the New Testament, it is always used to refer to the scriptures.
F “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; generally anticipating something positive). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence, faith. Can be used abstractly or concretely.
G “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
H “harmony” = phroneo. From phren (heart,mind, intellect, thought, understanding. Used figuratively for personal opinion, mindset, outlook – the insight that one uses to make choices about actions. Can refer to feelings or thoughts). This is to think, judge, seek for, observe, feel, or think.
I Literally “grant you to be of the same mind”
J “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.
K “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
L “together” = homothumadon. 11x in NT. From homou (at the same place and time, together) + thumos (passion, wrath; strong emotion that drives action – acting from powerful impulses; rage, venting anger, fierceness; passion that causes you to breathe hard). Thumos itself is related to thuella (storm, tempest) and comes from thuo (to breathe violently, rage, seethe. To offer a sacrifice as breath/wind rushes to increase the fire that immolates the sacrifice). This word, however, is literally “same passion,” having one mind and the same desire so being of one accord. This word is where thymus comes from in human anatomy and dysthymia in psychology.
M “glorify” = doxazo. From doza (glory or opinion; so, praise, honor, renown; glory is generally given in the New Testament as an attribute of God – God’s splendor manifested. Doxa is anything that gives a good opinion, that has intrinsic value and so dignity and worthy of praise). Doka is from dokeo (using one’s personal opinion to assign or figure out the value of something; more generally, to form an opinion, think, suppose, estimate). Dokeo is from dokos (opinion). This word is to made or think something glorious, to honor, magnify, celebrate. This is noting the importance of something by acknowledging its essence or value.
N “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.

7 WelcomeO one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the gloryP of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servantQ of the circumcisedR on behalf of the truthS of God in order that he might confirmT the promises givenU to the patriarchs,V 9 and in order that the GentilesW might glorify God for his mercy.X As it is written,

Notes on verses 7-9

O “welcome” = proslambano. 12x in NT. From pros (for, at, toward, with) + lambano (to actively take or receive, using initative). This is properly, receiving others with personal involvement or interest. To take aside, to welcome – to open up form friendship or hospitality.
P “glory” = doxa. Related to “glorify” in v6. See note M.
Q “servant” = diakonos. Uncertain origin. It may be dia (through, because of, across) + konis (dust) as one who is so busy running around and serving that they kick up dust in their business. OR it could be from dioko (to pursue, put to flight; used figuratively for persecuting or hunting after; may have originally been used of runners). This word refers to one who serves whether in a ministry setting, at a table, or in a temple.  This is where the word “deacon” comes from.
R “circumcised” = peritome. From peri (about, concerning, around) + temno (to cut by a single stroke). Literally, this is to decisively cut around. It is used for the act of performing circumcision, being a circumcised person, or being one of the circumcised people (of Jewish identity). Our word “circumcise” comes from Latin and also means “cut around.”
S “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true to fact, unconcealed, truthful); from a (not) + lanthano (concealed). This is truth, but not just truth versus a lie. This is truth as underpinning reality, the idea of sincerity, truth as a moral good, straightforwardness. The word literally means that which cannot be hidden.
T “confirm” = bebaioo. 8x in NT. From bebaios (firm, secure, steadfast, enduring, sure, certain); from baino (to go, to walk on solid ground). This is also properly, to walk on ground that is solid, reliable, guaranteed. So, this is that which is firm and unshakable – totally dependable. This is a guarantee with full confidence. 
U “promises given” = epaggelia. From epi (on, upon, against, at) + aggello (to announce, report). Aggello is from aggelos (angel, messenger), which is probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide). This is a promise that announces what is fitting – a promise that has been confirmed from the top. In the Bible, this is usually used to reference promises from the Old Testament made by God. Often refers to God’s assurance of good things.
V “patriarchs” = pater. Literally fathers, ancestors, progenitors.
W “Gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
X “mercy” = eleos. Pity, compassion, or mercy whether from God or people. This is related to “kyrie eleison” – “Lord have mercy.”

“Therefore I will confessY you among the Gentiles,
    and singZ praises to your name”;AA
10 and again he says,
“Rejoice,BB O Gentiles, with his people”;CC
11 and again,
“PraiseDD the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples praiseEE him”;

Notes on verses 9-11

Y “confess” = exomologeo. 10x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + homologeo (to agree, promise, confess, praise, publicly declare; properly, to align with the conclusion of others, to endorse). Homologeo is from homou (together) + lego (to say, speak, tell).This is to be of the same mind, to agree whole-heartedly and then profess that agreement openly without holding back. So, it can be consent, acknowledge, give thanks, confess, praise, promise.
Z “sing” = psallo. 5x in NT. From psao (to rub, to touch the surface). Properly, this word describes playing a musical instrument such as the lyre. Thus, it was used of singing with instrumental music, then to make music generally, and also to sing. This is where the word “psalm” comes from.
AA “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
BB “rejoice” = euphraino. 14x in NT. Related to “harmony” in v5. From eu (good, well, well done) + phren (see note H). Properly, this word refers to having a joyful feeling because one’s frame of mind is positive. This is to cheer, make merry, be glad, revel, feast.
CC “people” = laos. This is people, crowd. Often used to refer to the Jews as people of the Lord. This is where the term “laity” comes from.
DD “praise” = aineo. 8x in NT. Used in the nativity of angels and shepherds praising God (Lk 2:13, 20) and at Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, i.e. Palm Sunday, when the crowds praise God (Lk 19:37). From ainos (properly, a story, saying or proverb; praise of God). This word is to praise.
EE “praise” = epaineo. 6x in NT Related to “praise” in v11. From epi (on, upon) + aineo (see note DD). This is to praise, commend, applaud, laud. This is giving praise to the full extent that is appropriate.

12 and again IsaiahFF says
“The rootGG of JesseHH shall come,
    the one who risesII to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”JJ

13 May the God of hope fillKK you with all joyLL and peaceMM in believing,NN so that you may aboundOO in hope by the powerPP of the HolyQQ Spirit.RR

Notes on verses 12-13

FF “Isaiah” = Esaias. From Hebrew Yeshayahu (Isaiah; salvation of the Lord); from yasha (to deliver, avenge, save, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free by impl. to be safe; caus. to free) + Yah (the name of the God of Israel; God, the Lord); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; tetragrammaton; the self-existent, eternal one); from havah (to be or become). This is Isaiah.
GG “root” = rhiza. 17x in NT. This is root, shoot, source, descendant. This can refer to anything that comes from a root in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “rhizome” comes from.
HH “Jesse” = iessai. 5x in NT. From Hebrew yishay (Jesse), which may be related to yesh (to exist, extant, existence). This is Jesse, father of David.
II “rises” = anistemi. From ana (up, again, back) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand ready, stand firm). This is to stand or raise up literally or figuratively. It is also used to rise from the dead.
JJ “hope” = elpizo. Related to “hope” in v4. From elpis (see note F above). This word is active waiting – to expect, hope for, trust.
KK “fill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, abounding in, complete; properly, fill to capacity – as much as appropriate; totally full, maximum quantity). This is also to pill to individual capacity, to imbue, satisfy, perfect, make replete with.
LL “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad, be cheerful – calm happiness or good circumstance); from char (to lean towards as a sign of showing favor, be well disposed towards). This is joy, delight, gladness, the source of joy. Properly, this is joy that comes from being aware of grace or recognizing grace. So, it is a calm delight.
MM “peace” = Eirene. May be from eiro (to join or unite into a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was said to say hello or goodbye in the Jewish community. It was a wish of wholeness for the other as when everything comes together just right. It is peace literal or figurative, implying well-being and prosperity. 
NN “believing” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence, fidelity, come to trust); from peitho (to persuade, have confidence, urge, to pacify or conciliate). This is to believe, have faith in, entrust or be entrusted with. This is to affirm confidence in something or someone.
OO “abound” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, greater, exceedingly, preeminence, advantage); from peri (encompassing, full, all around). This is to exceed what is typical or necessary, to superabound in amount or quality. To overflow, be left over, cause to abound.
PP “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
QQ “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.
RR “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.

Image credit: “Potluck,” a mural by David Fichter in Cambridge, MA (1994).

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