Chapter # 12 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
May 4, 2010
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another;
11 in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer;
13 communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.
19 Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.
20 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
- I. Paul's "General" Exhortations.
- A. "Let love be without hypocrisy" [See notes for Study # 1<586>].
- B. "Be tenderly affectioned...".
- 1. The primary concept is revealed by the repetition of the root: phileo.
- a. A form of the word group including the verb "phileo" is found in the word translated "brotherly love".
- b. It is also found in the word translated "kindly affectioned". This concept is a combination of "philos" and "storgeo". According to Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, the term "storgeo" was used of the idea of gentle tenderness in the treatment of another and had strong overtones of immediate family members acting in this manner toward one another. The difference between "philostorgeo" and "philadelphia" seems to be rooted in how the involved persons were considered. Equals got "brotherly love"; superiors show "kindly affections" to inferiors (understanding that "superior/inferior" could be conceived of in different ways as a healthy child tenderly caring for an ill parent or as a mother gently dealing with a child's distress).
- c. Thus, there is an unmistakable repetition of the basic concept.
- 2. The root involves the Greek concepts of "love". The particular concept of "phileo" has to do with "love" as an emotional connection between two or more people so that the "soul" is directly affected by the events that address the relationship. "Phileo" is the verb that puts "feeling" into a relationship.
- a. According to two texts in the New Testament there is a direct connection between two of the Greek concepts of "love".
- 1) 1 Thessalonians 4:9 says that "brotherly love" (philadelphia) arises directly out of the impact of God's activity in sponsoring "love" (agape) for one another.
- a) "Agape" is typically used when the focus is upon "assigning value to a person, place, or thing." This "value-assignment" exists any time there is a "comparison of two (or more) entities in a setting of some kind of exclusivity". If there is no "necessary exclusion" involved, there is no "need" for "agape".
- b) "Philos" is typically used when this "agape-focus" has entered into the soul's perception of Life-issues and emotional attachment has been generated. "Agape" can exist and function in realms outside of those which deal with the "soul". When this is the case, "philos" does not come into play. But, when it is the "soul" that is directly and primarily involved, it is impossible for "philos" to be absent.
- 2) 1 Peter 1:22 picks up on this interplay between "agape" and "philos" by saying that once God has sponsored an "unfeigned philos", it is the believer's responsibility to assign value to each believer out of a "pure heart".
- a) This text turns Paul's comments completely around. In Paul's words, God sponsors an "agape" for one another that leads to a lack of need for anyone to "write concerning philadelphia".
- b) Peter's words say that God sponsors an "unfeigned philadelphia" and leaves it up to the believer to move that into "agape".
- c) This inversion between Paul and Peter simply means that both "agape" and "philos" are involved when "philos" is involved. It is impossible for the "soul" to be emotionally attached to something or someone that has no value.
- b. Our current text began in 12:9 with an insistence that "agape" be "unhypocritical".
- 1) The major problem with "agape" as a "value-assignment" is that it can be completely self-serving. The same thing is true of "philos": one can be enormously distraught emotionally for completely self-serving reasons.
- 2) The issue of an "unhypocritical" love is this issue: whether the value assigned is self-serving.
- 3. The issue in our text in Romans is why Paul presses the "philos" issue by repetition.
- a. The most probable answer is that he is still dealing with the original injunction that "agape" is to be without hypocrisy. His "violently hate" what is "evil" and "be glued to" what is "good" was seen to be a "methodological" approach to the exclusion of hypocrisy. Now, by turning to a repetitive exhortation to get emotionally involved, he seems to be pressing the focus upon "reality" as opposed to "hypocrisy".
- b. The point of the text seems to be that "philos" only enters into the picture when "agape" reaches to a certain "tipping point" of value. For example, if a person loses a dime, he/she has lost something of "value", but the degree of value is not very high in our current economic setting and there probably would not be a discernible emotional reaction. However, if a person loses 100,000 dimes all at once, the degree of value is 100,000 times as large and would, in most cases, create a significant emotional reaction. The issue of when a collection of dimes actually reaches what I have called "a certain tipping point" is relative to a lot of other factors, but, at some point, there will be an emotional reaction caused by the loss of a valued object. It is at that point that a valued object becomes an emotionally connected valued object. This seems to be the reason for Paul's use of words like "violently hate" and "glue yourself to". These are words of intensity. "Violently hate" means to be intense about what is worthless. "Glue yourself to" means to be intense about what is of value.
- C. "In honor preferring one another...".
- 1. The word "honor" is closely associated with "agape" in that both deal specifically with the issue of assigning value to another.
- 2. Paul uses the word "honor" in Romans 9:21 in a context that unveils its meaning: "honor" is that which results from being treated as special by someone who is special. "Agape" is at the root of value-assignment, "honor" is the fruit. Once someone/thing has been established as "valuable" ("agape"), those who treat it as valuable "honor" it. It is a "dishonor" to a person/thing to be treated as worthless. The distinction seems to be found at this root/fruit level.
- 3. The word translated "preferring" is difficult because it is used only this once in the text of the New Testament. Kittel attempts to make it the equivalent of a lesser form by arguing that the meaning is the same as that found in Philippians 2:3, but if the meanings are the same there is no need for a difference in form. The term is generally used when there are "leaders" and "followers" in the setting (consider the use in the Septuagint at 1 Esdras 5:9 for an example and see the articles in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature for others). The implication is that Paul is charging the Roman believers to each take the lead in setting the pattern of giving "honor" to those whom God has honored with His redemption.
- D. Summary: Throughout this two-verse treatment of how believers are to treat each other there are words that indicate the need for deliberate choices in settings of exclusivity.