Monday, August 18, 2008

Romans 12:1-8

12:1 The first word Paul uses here is "parakaleoo." This word means a range of things from exhort to encourage to comfort. The noun of it is the word for the Holy Spirit in John's Gospel, the paraclete.

12:1 The word for mercies here is oiktirmos, however, this is found in the plural. As BDAG points out, is used to suggest the activities/signs/deeds of God's mercy rather than the general characteristic. I.e., we can always praise God in general for his mercy, but this day we praise God for his mercies, namely, the things God has done for us.

12:1 The word for acceptable is "euarestos" which really comes from the word for pleasing, as in the fruit in the garden was pleasing to Adam and Eve. This word can mean both flattering or truly pleasing, but in the God direction it always has a positive connotation. Paul will also use word in Romans 14:18 to say that "the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God." [So perhaps works righteousness is still out, but works pleasingness is not.]

12:1 Paul rarely ever uses the word sacrifice (thysia); only here once in Romans, once in Phil 4:18 and then also in Eph 5:2. Also, the word for "alive" here is a present participle, not an adjective; living is more appropriate.

12:1 The word here for spiritual is "logikos" almost literally logical. Enlightment distinctions make this one difficult to translate because if they used "logical" or even "reasonable" it would seem to deny any heart or passion, but that is not Paul's aim here. No easy translation, but not fair to Paul to make this simply a cognitive activity, but it definitely is cognitive!

12:2 The imperative form of the verb here (present indicative) suggests that the people actually have been conforming to the world...The verb itself is "syschematizoo" or in English, "schema."

12:2 The verb for transform is "metamorphoo." This (like conform) is also in the passive, suggesting we are not the agent of change. This is the word that Paul uses in 2 Cor 3:18 to talk about being transformed from one glory into another; it is also the word that Matthew and Mark use to talk about the transfiguration in their Gospel's.

12:2 The word for renewal here is "anakainwsis"; renewal is the literal translation, which fits; interesting note -- the word is not found outside of Xian literature.

(More intense grammer note on 12:2. The word for renreal here is in the dative; by means renewal makes the most sense.)

12:2 The word for "testing" is in an "eis+infinitive" clause suggesting purpose. That is, the testing is the result or purpose of the renewal.

12:2 Paul's word for "perfect" here is teleios, just like in Matthew 5:48, that we are to be perfect as our heavenly father.

12:3 The word for think highly is "hyper-phroneoo," rahter Paul encourages us to think "sus-phroneoo," which means to have a sound or sane manner.
(More intense grammer note: 12:3 A bunch of the participles in the verse are adjectival or substantive, a good verse to review how these work)

12:4/5 In verse one, Paul told the people to present their bodies; now he tells them that one body has many members...which is a helpful reminder that all of the verb tenses in this passage have been you plural. This does not mean Paul did not intend these exhortations for individuals (technically: distributive plural), but this entire passage is aimed at the community.

12:6 Paul uses the same grammatical construction (adjectival participle) to talk about "the grace given..." as he did in verse 3.

12:6 The word here for different is "diaphoros," which can also mean excellent.

12:7 The word here for ministry is "diakonia"

12:8 BDAG suggests that the word here the NRSV translates as "generously" which is "aplotehs" means more "with simplicity" or "without guile."

12:8 The word here for "diligence" is "spoudaeh," which can mean haste or speed. However, BDAG points out that this means, "oft. in Gr-Rom. lit. and inscriptions of extraordinary commitment to civic and religious responsibilities, which were freq. intertwined, and also of concern for personal moral excellence or optimum devotion to the interests of others."

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