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Chapter 12

12:1 Therefore [oun]. This inferential participle gathers up all the great argument of chapters 1-11. Now Paul turns to exhortation [parakalō], “I beseech you.” By the mercies [dia tōn oiktirmōn]. “By means of the mercies of God” as shown in his argument and in our lives. See 2Co 1:3 for “the Father of mercies.” To present [parastēsai]. First aorist active infinitive of [paristēmi], for which verb see 6:13, a technical term for offering a sacrifice (Josephus, Ant. IV. 6, 4), though not in the O.T. Used of presenting the child Jesus in the temple (Lu 2:22), of the Christian presenting himself (Ro 6:13), of God presenting the saved (Eph 5:27), of Christ presenting the church (Col 1:28). Bodies [sōmata]. So literally as in 6:13, 19; 2Co 5:10 and in contrast with [nous] (mind) in verse 2. A living sacrifice [thusian zōsan]. In contrast with the Levitical sacrifices of slain animals. Cf. 6:8, 11, 13. Not a propitiatory sacrifice, but one of praise. Acceptable [euareston]. “Well-pleasing.” See on 2Co 5:9. Which is your reasonable service [tēn logikēn humōn latreian]. “Your rational (spiritual) service (worship).” For [latreia], see on 9:4. [Logikos] is from [logos], reason. The phrase means here “worship rendered by the reason (or soul).” Old word, in N.T. only here and 1Pe 2:2 [to logikon gala] (not logical milk, but the milk nourishing the soul).

12:2 Be not fashioned [mē sunschēmatizesthe]. Present passive imperative with [], stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned. Late Greek verb [suschēmatizō], to conform to another’s pattern (1Co 7:31; Php 2:7f.). In N.T. only here and 1Pe 1:14. According to this world [tōi aiōni toutōi]. Associative instrumental case. Do not take this age as your fashion plate. Be ye transformed [metamorphousthe]. Present passive imperative of [metamorphoō], another late verb, to transfigure as in Mt 17:2 (Mr 9:2); 2Co 3:18, which see. On the distinction between [schēma] and [morphē], see Php 2:7. There must be a radical change in the inner man for one to live rightly in this evil age, “by the renewing of your mind” [tēi anakainōsei tou noos]. Instrumental case. The new birth, the new mind, the new [kainos] man. That ye may prove [eis to dokimazein]. Infinitive of purpose with [eis to], “to test” what is God’s will, “the good and acceptable and perfect” [to agathon kai euareston kai teleion].

12:3 Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think [mē huperphronein par’ ho dei phronein]. Indirect negative command after [legō] (I say). Play on the two infinitives [phronein], to think, and [huperphronein] (old verb from [huperphrōn], over-proud, here only in N.T.) to “over-think” with [par’ ho] (beyond what) added. Then another play on [phronein] and [sōphronein] (old verb from [sōphrōn], sober-minded), to be in one’s right mind (Mr 5:15; 2Co 5:13). Self-conceit is here treated as a species of insanity. A measure of faith [metron pisteōs]. Accusative case, the object of the verb [emerisen]. Each has his gift from God (1Co 3:5; 4:7). There is no occasion for undue pride. To each man [hekastōi]. Emphatic position before [hōs] (as) and emphasizes the diversity.

12:4 The same office [tēn autēn praxin]. Mode of acting or function. Cf. Ac 19:18; Ro 8:13.

12:5 And severally [to de kath’ heis]. A difficult late idiom where the preposition [kath’] [kata] is treated adverbially with no effect on the nominative case [heis] like [huper egō] (2Co 11:23). So [heis kath’ heis] (Mr 14:19) and in Modern Greek [katheis] as a distributive pronoun. But we have [kath’ hena] in 1Co 14:31. The use of the neuter article here [to] with [kath’ heis] is probably the accusative of general reference, “as to each one.”

12:6 Differing [diaphora]. Old adjective from [diapherō], to differ, to vary. So Heb 9:10. According to the proportion of our faith [kata tēn analogian tēs pisteōs]. The same use of [pistis] (faith) as in verse 3 “the measure of faith.” Old word. [analogia] (our word “analogy”) from [analogos] (analogous, conformable, proportional). Here alone in N.T. The verb [prophēteuōmen] (present active volitive subjunctive, let us prophesy) must be supplied with which [echontes] agrees. The context calls for the subjective meaning of “faith” rather than the objective and outward standard though [pistis] does occur in that sense (Ga 1:23; 3:23).

12:7 Let us give ourselves. There is no verb in the Greek. We must supply [dōmen heautous] or some such phrase. Or he that teacheth [eite ho didaskōn]. Here the construction changes and no longer do we have the accusative case like [diakonian] (general word for Christian service of all kinds including ministers and deacons) as the object of [echontes], but the nominative articular participle. A new verb must be supplied of which [ho didaskōn] is the subject as with the succeeding participles through verse 8. Perhaps in each instance the verb is to be repeated from the participle like [didasketō] here (let him teach) or a general term [poieitō] (let him do it) can be used for all of them as seems necessary before “with liberality” in verse 8 [en haplotēti], in simplicity, for which word, see Mt 6:22; 2Co 8:2; 9:11, 13). He that ruleth [ho proistamenos]. “The one standing in front” for which see 1Th 5:12. With diligence [en spoudēi]. “In haste” as if in earnest (Mr 6:25; 2Co 7:11f., 8:8, 16), from [speudō], to hasten. Again verse 11. With cheerfulness [en hilarotēti]. Late word, only here in N.T., from [hilaros] (2Co 9:7) cheerful, hilarious.

12:9 Without hypocrisy [anupokritos]. Late double compound adjective for which see 2Co 6:6. Hypocritical or pretended love is no love at all as Paul describes [agapē] in 1Co 13. Abhor [apostugountes]. Old verb with intensive [apo] dislike, only here in N.T. The present active participle is here employed in the sense of the present active indicative as sometimes happens with the independent participle (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1132ff.). This same idiom appears with [kollōmenoi] (cleaving) for which verb see on 1Co 6:17, with [proēgoumenoi] (preferring) in verse 10 (old verb here only in N.T.), and with the participles in verses 11-13 and again in verses 16-18. One can supply [este] if he prefers.

12:10 In love of the brethren [tēi philadelphiāi]. Late word for brotherly love for which see 1Th 4:9. Tenderly affectioned [philostorgoi]. Old compound adjective from [philos] and [storgē] (mutual love of parents and children), here alone in N.T.

12:11 Slothful [oknēroi]. Old adjective from [okneō], to hesitate, to be slow. Slow and “poky” as in Mt 25:26.

12:12 Patient in tribulation [tēi thlipsei hupomenontes]. So soon this virtue became a mark of the Christians.

12:13 Communicating [koinōnountes]. “Contributing.” From [koinōneō] for which see 2Co 9:13. Paul had raised a great collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Given to hospitality [tēn philoxenian diōkontes]. “Pursuing (as if in a chase or hunt) hospitality” [philoxenia], old word from [philoxenos], fond of strangers, [philos] and [xenos] as in 1Ti 3:2). In N.T. only here and Heb 13:2. See 2Co 3:1. They were to pursue [diōkō] hospitality as their enemies pursued [diōkontas] them.

12:14 And curse not [kai mē katarāsthe]. Present middle imperative with []. Like Mt 5:44 in spirit, not a quotation, but a reminiscence of the words of Jesus. The negative addition gives emphasis. See Lu 6:28 for the old verb [kataraomai] from [katara] (curse).

12:15 Rejoice [chairein]. Present active infinitive of [chairō], absolute or independent use of the infinitive as if a finite verb as occurs sometimes (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1092ff.). Literally here, “Rejoicing with rejoicing people, weeping with weeping people.”

12:16 Be of the same mind [to auto phronountes]. Absolute or independent use of the participle again as with all the participles through verse 18, “thinking the same thing.” Set not your mind on high things [mē ta hupsēla phronountes]. “Not thinking the high things” [hupsēlos] from [hupsos], height). Cf. 1Co 13:5. Condescend to things that are lowly [tois tapeinois sunapagomenoi]. “Be carried away with (borne along with) the lowly things” (in contrast with [ta hupsēla], though the associative instrumental case may be masculine, “with lowly men.”) See Ga 2:13; 2Pe 3:17 for the only other N.T. examples of this old verb. Be not wise [mē ginesthe phronimoi]. “Do not have the habit of becoming [ginesthe] wise in your own conceits” [par’ heautois], beside yourselves). Note the imperative in the midst of infinitives and participles.

12:17 Render to no man [mēdeni apodidontes]. “Giving back to no man.” Independent participle again. Evil for evil [kakon anti kakou]. Directly opposite to the law of retaliation of the Pharisees as in Mt 5:39; 1Th 5:15; 1Co 13:5f. Take thought of [pronooumenoi]. “Taking thought beforehand.” Old word. See 2Co 8:21.

12:18 As much as in you lieth [to ex humōn]. Accusative of general reference, “so far as what proceeds from you” (“the from you part”). See [to kat’ eme] in 1:15. This phrase explains “if it be possible” [ei dunaton]. “All your part is to be peace” (Alford). For “be at peace” [eirēneuontes] see 2Co 13:11.

12:19 Avenge not [mē ekdikountes]. Independent participle again of late verb [ekdikeō] from [ekdikos], exacting justice (13:4). See already Lu 18:5; 2Co 10:6. But give place unto wrath [alla dote topon tēi orgēi]. Second aorist active imperative of [didōmi], to give. “Give room for the (note article as in 5:9; 1Th 2:16) wrath” of God instead of taking vengeance in your own hands. See Eph 4:27 for [didote topon]. Paul quotes De 32:35 (the Hebrew rather than the LXX). So have Heb 10:30 and the Targum of Onkelos, but the relation between them and Paul we cannot tell. Socrates and Epictetus condemned personal vindictiveness as Paul does here. I will recompense [antapodōsō]. Future active of the double compound verb quoted also in 11:35.

12:20 Feed him [psōmize auton]. Quotation from LXX text of Pr 25:21f. Present active imperative of verb from [psōmos], a morsel, and so to feed crumbs to babies, then to feed in general. In N.T. only here and 1Co 13:3. Thou shalt heap [sōreuseis]. Future active of old verb [sōreuō] from [sōros], a heap. In N.T. only here and 2Ti 3:6. Coals of fire [anthrakas puros]. That is, burning or live coals. Anthrax (our “anthracite”) is an old word, only here in N.T. It is a metaphor for keen anguish. The Arabs have a proverb “coals in the heart,” “fire in the liver.” Such kindness may lead to repentance also.

12:21 Be not overcome of evil [mē nikō hupo tou kakou]. Present passive imperative of [nikaō], to conquer. “Stop being conquered by the evil (thing or man),” But overcome evil with good [alla nika en tōi agathōi to kakon]. “But keep on conquering the evil in the good.” Drown the evil in the good. Seneca: Vincit malos pertinax bonitas.

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