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Word Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament.
Romans 12:10 Be
Amplified: Love one
another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving
precedence and showing honor to one another (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Love each
other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: Let us have real warm affection for one another as
between brothers, and a willingness to let the other man have the
Wuest: In the sphere of brotherly love have a family affection for
one another, vying with one another in showing honor (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in the love of brethren, to one another kindly
affectioned: in the honour going before one another;
B H Carroll
J Ligon Duncan
F B Hole
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
S Lewis Johnson
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
A T Robertson
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
Romans 12 Commentary
Responsibilities Under Grace 6
Romans 12 Notes
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans 12:9-21 Thinking About The
Romans: Studies in
Romans - 9 Chapter Book
Romans 12:9-13 Notes
Romans 12:12 Joyful, Prayerful
Romans 12:9-13 What
is this Thing Called Love?
Romans 12:10-13 Expositor's Greek
Romans 12:11-16 A Call to
Romans 12:6-16 No Room for Envy
in the Church
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans 12:10,11 The Look of Love
Romans 12:12,13 The Look of Love-II
Romans 12:3-13 The
Value of Each
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans: Prologue to
Prison - 24 Chapter Book
Romans 12:12 For the Battle (21
pages of discussion!)
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans Notes - Verse by
The Gospel & Its Responsibilities
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans 12:10-12 Brick by Brick -
Duties of Practical Christianity 2
Romans 12:13 Brick by Brick -
Duties of Practical Christianity 3
Brick by Brick - Duties of Practical Christianity 4
Romans 12:9-11 Mp3
Romans 12:12-16 Mp3
Romans 12:9, 10
Grace and Graces
Romans 12:9, 10 Love
that Can Hate
Romans 12:11 A
Triplet of Graces
Romans 12:12 Another
Triplet of Graces
The Epistle of Paul
the Apostle to the Romans
The Epistle to the
Romans (Longer Comments)
Romans 12 Notes
Romans 12 Commentary
Romans 12:3-13 No
Condemnation in Christ Jesus, One Body in Christ
Romans 12:9 Let Love Be
Romans 12:9 Abhor What Is
Evil; Hold Fast to What Is Good
Romans 12:9-13 Strategic
Romans 12:9-11 Be Strong and
Fervent in Spirit
Romans 12:10 Love One
Another With Brotherly Affection
Romans 12:11 Boiling for
Romans 12:9-21 When Is It
Right to Repay Evil With Pain?
Romans 12:11-12 The Fruit of Hope: Joy
Romans 12:12 Be Constant in Prayer for the
Joy of Hope
Romans 12:12 Be Devoted to Prayer
Romans 12:12 Happy in Hope, Patient in
Pain, Constant in Prayer
Romans 12:13 Lavish Giving, Loving Guests,
Agape Factor: 12 Ways to Love
Romans 12:17-21: Hot Coals: Loving Those
You’d Rather Hate
Romans 12 Word Pictures in the New
Romans 12 Exposition
Romans 12:11 Serving
Romans 12:12 Constant, Instant,
Romans 12 Sermons
Romans 12:9-21: Authentic
Romans 12:9-21 How
Romans 12 Greek Word
Romans 12-16: Inductive Bible Studies
Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Life by Faith
Modified from Irving L.
Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
BE DEVOTED TO ONE ANOTHER IN BROTHERLY LOVE:
te philadelphia eis allelous philostorgoi...proegoumenoi (PMPMPN):
(Jn 13:34,35; 15:17; 17:21; Acts 4:32; Ga 5:6,13,22; Ep 4:1,2,
3; Col 1:4; 1Th 4:9; 2Th 1:3; He 13:1; 1Pe 1:22; 2:17; 3:8,9; 2Pe 1:7; 1Jn 2:9, 10, 11; 3:10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 4:11,20,21;
5:1,2) (Brotherly love - Job 1:4; Ps 133:1)
Spurgeon in commenting on Ro 12:10-13 notes that...
Paul writes at full length upon the doctrines, but he is very concise and
pithy upon the precepts, for things of daily practice need to be short and
easy of remembrance. Let us learn each one of these weighty sentences by heart
and put them all in practice.
Be devoted - The original Greek lacks the words added
by the translators ("be devoted") and reads...
in the love of brethren (te
philadelphia), to one another (eis allelous) kindly affectioned
(philostorgoi): in the honour going before one another".
Wuest conveys the sense rendering
In the sphere of brotherly love have a
family affection for one another, vying with one another in showing honor
Paul places philadelphia and
philostorgos first in the Greek sentence for emphasis.
Brotherly love (5360) (philadelphia
from phílos = beloved,
dear, friendly + adelphós = brother) means "fraternal love",
brotherly love (kindness), love of the brethren. Brotherly love normally
referred to the love members of a family held for each other (this was the
way it was used in secular Greek) and would not normally be used to describe
the love between members of different families.
In the NT
philadelphia is used to describe the love that believers possess for
one to another, for even though they were members of different natural
families, they were united in Christ and were recipients of family love
originating from the Father Who had bestowed His great love on His
spiritual children (1John 3:1, cp note
Philadelphia manifests itself in acts of kindness (Ga 6:10).
describes a love which calls for an affection for one another like that
one expressed between natural family members (see Romans 12:10-note
or "loving warmly" = philostorgos from philos = beloved, dear + storge =
family love, the love of parents and children). Remember that
Christianity forged a radical relationship in Christ wherein believing
Greeks and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, Scythians,
slaves and freemen, men and women were now all one in their Lord (cp Gal
3:28, see Col 3-note,
Such a diverse cultural community would have continual need for emphasis
on love of the brethren. As Christians we have become brothers and
sisters in the community of faith and Paul refers to them as brothers
(sisters is clearly implied) some nineteen times in 1 Thessalonians alone.
Our love is not just a passive disposition of fondness but manifests
itself in overt acts of kindness toward the brethren.
Phileo love (word study)
is the love
of belonging, of friendship. It is a love we have for brothers because of
our likenesses. (Greek for brothers = adelphos = literally "from the
same womb") The Greek word for friend is philos, and it is related to
the word for filial love, phileo. This root is seen in such English terms as
"philanthropy" (benevolence or, literally, the love of man), and "philology"
(the love of words).
A friend is one for whom you have filial love.
Early Greek literature used the word philos to describe the followers of a
political leader. Later it came to mean the clients of a wealthy man, or
legal assistants. When the Romans embraced the language they extended the
word to include friends and relatives. It is much like the "official family"
of a political person, governor, or President. In ancient usage the word "friend"
had much deeper implications than our casual usage. Aristotle indicated that
a person might be called on to sacrifice his life for that of a friend.
According to that famous Greek philosopher: "To a noble man there applies
the true saying that he does all things for the sake of his friends"
(Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, IX, p. 153). This concept of
friendship lays the basis for the New Testament use of this word.
It was this affectionate relationship in the early Church among
Christian converts, in spite of their diverse status and varied backgrounds,
that amazed the pagans.
(from phílos = friend + storge = natural family love or tender
affection; cherishing one's kindred, esp parents or children) pertains to
love or affection for those closely related to one, particularly members of
one's immediate family, in this case referring to God's family composed of
all believers in Christ Jesus.
Philia is affectionate love between friends and
storge refers to the tender affection among family members. Storge
speaks of instinctive
affection, like that which parents and children feel toward one another (see a
more detailed discussion of the
astorgos used in Ro 1:31-note). Storge is
“an attachment sealed by nature and blood ties,” and is especially represented
mother’s innate love, benevolence, and devotion toward her children. Paul is
that the relationships among Christians should involve intimacy, understanding,
The idea is to be devoted to other Christians with a family sort of love, not based on
personal attraction or desirability (cf. 1Thessalonians 4:9-note).
Brotherly kindness must be cultivated (diligently) for it entails difficult
duties, such as a willingness to bear one another's burdens and to forgive
shortcomings and failures.
More Than Socializing - Church can be a great place to get caught
up on the latest football games, golf scores, family news, health concerns,
or just to visit with friends. A cup of coffee together, a warm handshake, a
friendly pat on the back are all part of the social interaction we need as
All of this is good, but New Testament fellowship goes much deeper than
merely socializing when we get together at church. It takes place when we
consider how we can lift up, build up, and brighten up our brothers and
sisters in Christ.
The Bible clearly says that we are to "serve one another" (Gal 5:13),
forgive as we are forgiven (Ephesians 4:32-note), and "bear one another's
burdens" (Gal 6:2). From the first century, believers have gathered in
Jesus' name to "consider one another in order to stir up love and good
works" and to exhort one another (He 10:24, 25-note).
Christian fellowship takes place when we offer encouragement to our friends,
pray for them, and confess our sins and weaknesses to one another. These are
the elements that make fellowship genuine.
What about your church? Are you merely socializing? Or are you practicing
true Christian fellowship? —Dave Egner
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
We Christians have a kinship with
All others who believe,
And from that bond of faith and love
A mutual strength receive. —Hess
Christian fellowship builds us up and
binds us together.
Why is this exhortation so
vital for believers to put into practice?
Because the visual display of this
quality of love in the body of Christ is the primary means by which the
world recognizes us as followers of Christ (Jn 13:35 cf 1Jn 3:10, 17, 18,
19). We must love each other, because we are members of one family. We are not
strangers to each other within the Christian Church; much less are we
isolated units; we are brothers and sisters, because we have the one father,
Christians are eternally members of one family, one body and truly have a "sibling relationship" with one another. Thus we are
exhorted to develop the close and affectionate relationship that should exist
among brothers and sisters who are blood relatives. The blood that binds us to
one another as believers is even more precious than that binding secular
The use of both of these words together (philadelphia, philostorgoi) does two
things. First, it magnifies the importance of understanding the church as a
family. In most cases the local congregation is like the immediate family, and
the church universal is the extended family. Second, it intensifies the need to
consciously seek to develop toward one another the tender affection and devotion
appropriate among brothers and sisters. How are we doing as a church in America?
The world is "dying" to see this quality of love exhibited.
Charles Colton once wrote that...:
The firmest friendships have been formed
in mutual adversity, as iron most strongly united by the fiercest flame.
In other words, "A friend in need is a
Charles Haddon Spurgeon counted among his
friends George Mueller and Hudson Taylor. On friendship Spurgeon said,
Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of
life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they
not found a friend.
GIVE PREFERENCE TO ONE ANOTHER IN HONOR: te time allelous proegoumenoi (PMPMPN):
(Ge 13:9; Mt 20:26; Luke 14:10; Php 2:3; 1Pe 5:5)
Outdo one another in showing
Give preference (4285)
from pró = before + hegeomai = lead way, think)
means literally to lead the way before and so to show deference to the other
person. This is the only use of this verb in Scripture.
Proegeomai is in the
middle voice which indicates that the subject initiates the action
and participates in results of that action.
The idea is that believers are to continuously which reflect the present
tense = this is to
be our habitual practice, our lifestyle before a critically watching world,
and a lifestyle possible only as we are filled with/controlled by the
Spirit, relying not on our adequacy, but His adequacy [2Cor 3:5-6-note],
His enabling power [dunamis]
just as did our Lord when He lived as a Man [cp Lk 4:14]. Christ followers
are to continually
give preference to each other.
The idea is for your yourself to take the
lead (hegeomai = to lead the way)
and show genuine appreciation and admiration for fellow
believers by putting them first (Php 2:3-note)
and to be willing and even desirous for them to receive honor. Quite a
contrast with the world's way (Torrey's Topic "Selfishness")
and therefore a mindset or lifestyle that serves as "salty salt" (cp Mt
in a world that is given over to blatant selfishness in these last days (2Ti
- note what "heads the list" of evil attitudes and actions! It's the "big
I", not surprisingly the middle letter in sIn!)
If the we are walking in the truth of the first part of this verse (and
walking in the Spirit) and are
truly “devoted to one another in brotherly love,” it will be
(supernaturally) "easy" to give preference to one another in honor. The
virtue here is Christ-like humility, not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to
think (Ro 12:3-note).
It is doing
(try this by relying on Self, not Spirit!)
conceit, but with
looking out "for your
personal interests, but
also for the interests of
others." It is having "this
Jesus” (Php 2:3, 4-note)
To honor the other person is one way of
holding in check the innate human tendency to honor oneself unduly. If we
are are focusing on others, it is somewhat more difficult to focus on
ourselves. Our example of course is Christ (see Php 2:5, 6, 7 -note
Php 2:8-note Php
1Pe 2:21-note)(Torrey's Topic "Example
(allelon) means each other and speaks of a mutuality or sharing of
sentiments between two persons or groups of persons. Allelon is a
reciprocal pronoun which denotes that the encouragement and edification is
to be a mutual beneficial activity. As each submits, encourages, loves, etc,
the other members benefit. This is the God's description and prescription
for a body of believers.
is a common NT phrase (especially in Paul's letters) with most uses
relating to the building up of the body of Christ. As such the "one
anothers" in the NT would make an excellent Sunday School study (or
topical sermon series), taking time to meditate on each occurrence,
asking whether it is being practiced (in the Spirit-note)
in your local church and seeking to excel still more (cp Php 1:9, 10, 11
Below is a list of the NT uses of one another (be sure to check
for the most
12:10, 16; 13:8; 14:13, 19; 15:5, 7, 14; 16:16; 1Co 6:7; 7:5; 11:33;
12:25; 16:20; 2Co 13:12; Ga 5:13, 15, 26; Ep 4:2, 25, 32; 5:19, 21; Php
2:3; Col 3:9, 13, 16; 1Th 3:12; 4:9, 18; 5:11, 13, 15; 2 Th 1:3; Heb
3:13; 10:24, 25; James 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1Pe 1:22; 4:8, 9, 10; 5:5, 14; 1Jn
1:7; 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2Jn 1:5
(time from tío = pay honor, respect) refers to the worth, value or merit of
some thing or some one. Time is a valuing by which the price
is fixed or an estimation of the value of a thing. Finally and most
importantly in the present context, time is our attitude
towards another person which is commensurate their value (as God sees them).
We honor that which is precious to us
To honor someone is to show genuine appreciation and admiration for
the other individual. Believers who are being transformed by the renewing of
their mind should be becoming more and more sensitive to showing respect, to acknowledging the
accomplishments of others, to demonstrating genuine love by not being jealous or
envious. These are the marks of a sincere faith which is maturing. Such a
one in fact is to take the lead in the carrying out of these actions. If we
have truly presented ourselves as a living sacrifices, we should be growing
in these graces (and they can only be carried out by His empowering grace).
How am I doing this week with others?
Especially with my mate?...my
children? ...my employer or employee?
Paul, why did you have to start
><> ><> ><>
ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTH - by
Harry A. Ironside - HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE -
"Be not ye
called Rabbi" (Mt 23:8). "In honour preferring one another" (R. 12:10).
On one occasion when in London, I was
walking home from a meeting; part of the way I was accompanied by the
Marquis of Aberdeen (who had presided) and the Lord Bishop of Norwich (who
had been one of the speakers). Being an American, and unaccustomed to
titles, I felt embarrassed as to how I should address men of their position.
I expressed my perplexity, and the Marquis replied, "My dear brother, just
address us as your brethren in CHRIST. We could have no higher honor than
that." This was surely to enter into the spirit of what the LORD JESUS
We are told to give honor to whom honor is due. On the other hand, the
servant of CHRIST is to seek the honor that cometh from GOD only. The first
passage delivers from rudeness and that pride which apes humility, as it
refuses to recognize the gifts which CHRIST has given to His Church. The
other is a rebuke to all self-seeking and fleshly ostentation on the part of
those to whom the LORD has entrusted any special ministry for the
edification of His Church.
Romans 12:11 not
Amplified: Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and
burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.
Moffatt: “Never let your zeal flag, maintain the
spiritual glow, serve the Lord"
Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Phillips: Let us not allow slackness to spoil our work and let
us keep the fires of the spirit burning, as we do our work for God.
with respect to zeal, not lazy; fervent in the sphere of the Spirit, serving
Young's Literal: in the diligence not slothful; in the spirit
fervent; the Lord serving;
LAGGING (lazy, sluggish,
IN DILIGENCE: te spoude me okneroi:
(Ex 5:17; Pr 6:6, 7, 8, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 18:9; 22:29; 24:30, 31, 32,
33, 34; 26:13, 14, 15, 16; Eccl 9:10; Is 56:10; Mt 25:26;
Acts 20:34,35; Ep 4:28; 1Th 4:11,12; 2Th 3:6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 1Ti 5:13; Hebrews 6:10,11 )
Lagging (3636)(okneros from okneo = to be slow, delay, hesitate)
an adjective which means
shrinking from or hesitating to (timid to) engage in something worthwhile, possibly
implying lack of ambition.
Okneros describes a. those who are
slow to act through hesitation, anxiety, negligence, or sloth, and b. things
that awaken suspicion, dislike, or fear. In the OT it is used for the
slothful (Pr 6:6, 9) who let inconveniences stop them (Pr 20:4) or
never move on from the will to the deed (Pr 21:25).
Don't be slow, tardy, slothful, lazy in
your diligence (interesting mix of words isn't it?)
Here are the other 2 uses of okneros
Matthew 25:26 "But his master answered
and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where
I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren,
rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to
me, and it is a safeguard for you.
Okneros - 12 uses in the
Septuagint where it is repeatedly translated "sluggard" a word which
describes a habitually lazy person, one who is habitually indolent. - Pr
6:6, 9; 11:16; 18:8; Pr 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 26:13, 14, 15; Pr 31:27;
(spoude from speudo =
to hasten, make haste. Cp verb
spoudazo) is a noun which means to do
something hurriedly, with intense effort and motivation, with haste, in a
hurry. (Lk 1:39).
Spoude speaks primarily of an
attitude which is associated with or leads to an action. Do one's best,
doing so with intense effort and motivation. In this sense spoude
describes a quality of genuine commitment such as zeal, eagerness,
earnestness, a striving after something. Spoude is eagerness to do
something, with the implication of readiness to expend energy and
Spoude describes an active concern
for others - a devotion, care, goodwill (2Cor 7:11)
Spoude primarily “haste, zeal,
diligence,” hence means “earnest care, carefulness,” 2Cor. 7:11-12; 8:16 (rv,
“earnest care,” in each place).
conveys the thought of anxiety,
Spoude, of watchful interest and earnestness.
1) swiftness of movement or action,
haste, speed. It is used with the preposition "meta" = with meaning in haste, in a hurry
2) earnest commitment in discharge of an
obligation or experience of a relationship, eagerness, earnestness,
diligence, willingness, zeal - Often. in Greco-Roman literature and ins. 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
Whatever is worth doing in the Christian
life is valuable enough to be done with enthusiasm and care (Jn 9:4 Gal 6:10,
Hebrews 6:10; 11-note;
note; 2Th 3:13) Sloth and
indifference not only prevent good, but allow evil to prosper (Pr 18:9 ;
Ephesians 5:15; 16 -note). (See Torrey's Topics "Diligence",
Cranfield says, Paul is warning us against
“that attitude which seeks to get by
with as little work and inconvenience as possible, which shrinks from dust
and heat and resents the necessity for any exertion as a burden and
Spoude - 12x in 12v -
diligence(4), earnestness(5), effort(1), hurry(2).
Mark 6:25 Immediately she came in a
hurry to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the
head of John the Baptist on a platter."
Luke 1:39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill
country, to a city of Judah,
Romans 12:8-note or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with
liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with
Ro 12:11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly
sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what
indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong!
In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor
for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf
might be made known to you in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 8:7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and
utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired
in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the
earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in
the heart of Titus.
Hebrews 6:11-note And we desire that each one of you show the same
as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
2 Peter 1:5-note Now for this very reason also, applying all
diligence, in your
faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every
effort to write you about our
common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you
contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the
Spoude - 14x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ex 12:11, 33; Deut 16:3; Judg 5:22; 1 Sam
21:8; Ezra 4:23; Ps 78:33; Jer 8:15; 15:8; Lam 4:6; Ezek 7:11; Dan 2:25;
10:7; Zeph 1:18; Here are some representative OT uses of spoude...
Ex 12:11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this
manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff
in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste–it is the LORD’S
Ex 12:33 And the Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land
in haste, for they said, “We shall all be dead.”
IN SPIRIT: to pneumati zeontes (PAPMPN):
(Mt 24:12 Col 4:12, 13 1Pe 1:22 4:8 Rev 2:4 3:15, 16)
Jesus speaking about the last days says why
this attitude is so necessary...
Matt 24:12 “because lawlessness is
increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
Epaphras is a good example of a man "fervent in spirit"
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your
number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring
earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured
in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern
for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
(zeo) means to be hot (boil, of liquids; or glow, of solids), seethe,
bubble, boil. It was used to describe water boiling or of metal glowing with
heat. In NT, zeo is used figuratively meaning to be fervent, to burn with
desire or exhibit passion. In a negative sense it can connote rage .
The idea of fervent is with respect to the
spirit, "boiling" (in a figurative sense of course). Paul is saying literally “to boil in spirit.” This phrase suggests
having plenty of heat to produce adequate, productive energy, but not so much
heat that one goes out of control (Acts 18:25; 1Cor 9:26; Gal 6:9).
Be "hot" for Jesus...just don't burn everyone up everyone around you. (Torrey's Topic "Zeal").
Christ is our example (Ps 69:9; Jn 2:17). The idea is that believers are to
tense = this is to
be our habitual practice, our lifestyle before a critical, watching world)
Zeal should be exhibited
in spirit Romans 12:11, in well-doing Gal 4:18; notes on
Titus 2:14, in desiring the salvation of
others Acts 26:29; Romans 10:1(note), in contending for the faith
Jude 1:3, in missionary labors Romans 15:19 (note);
for the glory of God Nu 25:11,13, for the welfare of saints Colossians 4:13
(note), against idolatry
2Ki 23:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (Modified from Torrey's Topic "Zeal")
In the context of Christian
service "fervent" means “to be full of energy, to be on fire with zeal and
enthusiasm.” It is a warning against settling into comfortable, shallow ruts
in our spiritual lives. The idea is that believers are to continuously (present
tense = this is to
be our habitual practice, our lifestyle before a critically watching world)
be "hot" for the things of the Lord.
The idea of the Greek word zeo is not of being overheated to the point of boiling over and out
of control but, like a steam engine, of having sufficient heat to produce the
energy necessary to get the work done. That principle is reflected in the life
of Henry Martyn, the tireless missionary to India, whose heart’s desire was to
“burn out for God.” which is exactly what he did in 6 years! Read his
short albeit convicting testimony of one who was truly "fervent in
Martyn (click for longer biography) was born in 1781, studied at Cambridge, and became Senior
Wrangler. (That is, he won the Cambridge University annual mathematics
problem-solving competition, and was accordingly recognized as the
University's best undergraduate mathematician. "Wrangling" is a
British University expression for solving mathematical problems.) He
had, moreover, a considerable facility in languages. Under the
Charles Simeon, he abandoned his intention of going
into law and instead went to India as a chaplain in 1806. In the
six remaining years of his life, he translated the New Testament
into Hindi and Persian, revised an Arabic translation of the New
Testament, and translated the Psalter into Persian and the Prayer Book
into Hindi. In 1811 he left India for Persia, hoping to do further
translations and to improve his existing ones, there and in Arabia.
But travel in those days was not a healthy occupation, and he fell ill
and eventually died at Tokat on October 16, 1812. (The American
Calendar commemorates him on 19 October.) He was buried by the
Armenian church there, with the honors ordinarily reserved for one of
their own bishops. His diary has been called "one of the most precious
treasures of Anglican devotion." (Reference)
’Tis not for man to trifle; life is brief
And sin is here.
Our age is but the falling of a leaf,
A dropping tear.
We have not time to sport away the hours;
All must be earnest in a world like ours.
SERVING THE LORD: to kurio douleuontes (PAPMPN): (Ep
6:5, 6, 7, 8 Col 3:23, 24 1Co 7:22 Titus 2:9, 10 Heb 12:28)
Eph 6:5 Slaves, be obedient to those who
are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the
sincerity of your heart, as to Christ (THE LORD); 6:6 not by way of
eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ (THE LORD), doing
the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the
Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does,
this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
Col 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work
heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;24 knowing that from
the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord
Christ whom you serve.
= slave or one who is in bondage or
bound to another, in the state of being completely controlled by someone
or something) means to be in bondage or in the position of servant and to
act accordingly, dutifully obeying the master's commands.
One who lives as a
His Lord, is a bondservant who is surrendered wholly to His Master's
will and devoted to Him to the disregard of his own interest. Paul
exhibited this mindset and was not his own but understood he had been
bought with the price of the blood of the One Whom He loving served. He
recognized that he was now the property of the Lord Jesus Christ and were
to be exclusively His slave. No man can serve two masters (Mt 6:24-note).
We were all once slaves of
by our birth into Adam's likeness, but
now we are privileged to be slaves of Christ by our new birth. As His
slaves we are allow our will to be "swallowed up" in His perfect will.
We are to continuously serve our Master (present
tense = our habitual practice, our lifestyle).
Our Lord gave us His example of not coming to be served but to serve and
give His life for many (Mk 10:45, follow His lead = 1Cor 11:1, 1Jn 2:6,
This exhortation to serve the Lord as a slave refers
not so much to our external obedience as to our inner spiritual attitude of
submission (see notes on filled with the Spirit -Ephesians 5:18ff-note) to the Lord as our "Kurios",
our absolute Owner, Master, Possessor,
the One Who has all
rights over us and can use us as He will. As Paul stated earlier those who
are now dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus are to be “obedient
(see Ro 6:16,17-note;
(kurios) means lord, master, owner or the one who has absolute
ownership power. Jesus is referred to some ten times as Savior and some
seven hundred times as Lord. Supreme in Authority. Kurios
translates Jehovah (LORD in OT) in
puts "Lord" in an interesting perspective noting that...
The life of Christianity consists of
possessive pronouns. It is one thing to say, "Christ is a Saviour"; it is
quite another thing to say, "He is my Saviour and my Lord."
The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.
REJOICING IN HOPE: te elpidi chairontes (PAPMPN):
(Ro 5:2,3; 15:13; Psalms 16:9, 10,11; 71:20, 21, 22, 23; 73:24, 25, 26;
Proverbs 10:28; 14:32; Lamentations 3:24, 25, 26; Habakkuk 3:17,18; Matthew
5:12; Luke 10:20; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Philippians 3:1; 4:4; Colossians 1:27;
1 Thessalonians 5:8,16; 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17; Titus 2:13; 3:7; Hebrews 3:6;
6:17-19; 1 Peter 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 4:13; 1John 3:1, 2, 3 )
Paul has linked hope, tribulation, and perseverance in Romans 5:3-5, and, he
links hope, perseverance, and prayer in 8:24-26.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones observes
Tribulation, hope and prayer always go together in the New
Testament and it is a very good way of testing ourselves to ask whether they
always go together in our experience. They should.
(chairo - see cognate word -
chara) means being cheerful,
being glad, being calmly happy, with an inner sense of being well-off, of enjoying a state of
happiness and well-being.
which pictures us as living life with a
habitual attitude of inner joy and outer rejoicing,
something that clearly is only possible by the supernatural enablement of
Our hopes are bound up with our
Lord's Coming, in prospect of which we should constantly be filled with
exultation. (Ed: Are you? Is
this your day to day experience? It can be in Christ! It is our Father's
desire for His children to be continually filled with the joy of the Holy
Spirit.) (Romans 12 Commentary)
Wuest paraphrases it "rejoicing
in the sphere of hope." In the "atmosphere" of hope is the idea. Like a
fish needs water to thrive, joy needs hope to be alive. In
other words when a believer's hope is fresh and full and focused on
Jesus Who Himself is our Hope (1Ti 1:1), this believer's hope
will be like a rain falling on a barren heart, bringing forth the fragrant
flower of joy. Indeed, hope fixed on the good that God will do
to us in the future is a sure foundation for Christian joy in the
present. This present joy is independent of present circumstances
(which may be cheery or dreary), for it is a supernatural joy , a joy
that can still survive in the dark night of a believer's soul. Such glorious
joy is based not on our feelings, but on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal
5:22-note). Such joy can also be the fruit of prayer, so if your hope is low, ask
a brother or sister to intercede for you with Paul's prayer...
Now may the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by
the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ro 15:13-note)
Meditate on the Biblical truth about
The Blessed Hope),
remembering that our sure and steadfast hope is built on nothing less than
Jesus' blood and righteousness. Trust the Spirit to take that truth
and renew your mind, and bring forth supernatural fruit of joy manifest in
the act of rejoicing.
Cranfield writes that...
this joy has its source not in this
present age to which he is not to be conformed, nor in his present
circumstances, but in that which is still future, which he grasps by hope.
But this hope is not the sort of hope which disappoints (cf. Ro 5:5); since
that which is hoped for is altogether sure and certain, this hope means
present joy. For ‘although believers are now pilgrims on earth, yet by their
confidence they surmount the heavens, so that they cherish their future
inheritance in their bosoms with tranquility’. (A critical and exegetical
commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. London; New York: T&T Clark
The Christian hope is the cause of that
Christian joy and cheerfulness of disposition which is the grace of
Christian love: cf. 1Cor 13:7 ‘Love…hopes all things.’ (Sanday, W., &
Headlam, A. C.. A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle of the
True joy is not only an emotion of the
mind and a benefit [privilege], but also a Christian duty, Ro 12:15. It is
the highest complaisance in God. He wishes us to rejoice and to spend our
spiritual life joyously.
A sorrow shared is
But half a trouble.
A joy that’s shared is
A joy made double.
word study on
elpis (2) and the
Believer's Blessed Hope)
is a desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. It is the
opposite of despair. Paul reminds Timothy that ultimately "Christ Jesus, who
is our hope." (1
Hope of future salvation …
stimulates present joy.
John Trapp says
Hope makes absent joys present... and
beguiles calamity as good company doth the time....This life would be little
better than hell, saith Bernard, were it not for the hopes of
heaven....(Hope) holds head above water, this keeps the heart aloft all
floods of afflictions, as the cork doth the line, as bladders do the body in
swimming.... He that seeth visions of glory, and hath sure hopes of heaven,
will not matter a shower of stones; he that is to take possession of a
kingdom will not stand upon a foul day. Hope unfailable is grounded upon
faith unfeigned, which is seldom without its joy unspeakable and full of
glory, 1 Peter 1:8.
John Stott says that "Christ
ones", those who are true believers...
should be the most positive people in the
world. We cannot mooch round the place with a dropping, hang-dog expression.
We cannot drag our way through life, moaning and groaning. We cannot always
be looking on the dark side of everything, as negative prophets of doom. No,
“we exult in God.” (see Romans 5:1-note)
Then every part of our life becomes suffused with glory. Christian worship
becomes a joyful celebration of God and Christian living a joyful service of
God. So come, let us exult in God together! (John W. Alexander, ed.,
Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,
Remember that this is not "I hope so" but for a
saint it is the absolute certainty of future good, including the desire of
some good w. expectation of obtaining it. Therefore Paul exhorts us to
be continuously rejoicing for our past sins are paid for & our future is
certain. Christ has redeemed us & purchased our salvation on the cross in
the past (see Romans 5:1, 2-note),
His Spirit presently sanctifies us (progressively setting us apart more &
more from the world & unto our Lord, making us holy) (Gal 5:16, 17, 18,
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)-see
and one day soon He will lead us to future eternal glory (see Colossians
1Jn 3:2, 3).
Calvin says Paul is warning us not to
become content with earthly joys but to
raise our minds to heaven, that we may
enjoy full and solid joy.
The reality of our certain hope
should bring continual joy independent of our current circumstances. (Torrey's Topic "Hope").
Hope is the Christian's lifeline (along
with communion in prayer) to his glorious future. As stated above the
opposite of hope is despair as the story of an American prisoner tragically
A certain American prisoner held in North
Viet Nam, led to believe that if he cooperated with his captors he would be
set free, had done quite well despite two years in captivity. With this
vision before him, he even became the leader of a prison thought-reform
group. However, the day his vision dissolved and he realized he was being
deceived, he curled up on his bunk, refused nourishment, and was dead in a
couple of weeks. When faith in his vision was removed, he could no longer
cope. (Hughes, R. K.. Acts : The Church Afire. Page 341. Crossway Books)
Robert Haldane comments that...
Here, in the midst of exhortations to
attend to various duties, they are commanded to rejoice in hope (Ed note: It
is not literally an imperative or command). Hope is founded on faith, and
faith on the Divine testimony Hope, then, respects what God has declared in
His word. We are here exhorted to exercise hope with respect to future
glory, and to rejoice in the contemplation of the objects of hope. What can
be better calculated to promote joy than the hope of obtaining blessings so
glorious in a future world? Were this hope kept in lively exercise, it would
raise believers above the fear of man and a concern for the honours of this
world. It would also enable them to despise the shame of the cross.
The objects, then, of the believer's hope are the spiritual and celestial
blessings which are yet future, to which his eyes should constantly be
directed, and which are calculated to fill him with the greatest joy. It is
not the prospect of terrestrial possessions in which he is to rejoice, but
of a house eternal in the heavens. 'In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at
Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' It is that glorious
communion with Jesus Christ of which the Apostle speaks, when he says,
'Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.' It
is that state in which believers shall be like Him, for they shall see Him
as He is. As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be
satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.' It is the hope of righteousness
for which, through the Spirit, believers wait, Gal. 5:5. This hope is
founded on the unchangeable promise of God-on His promise accompanied by His
oath-on the blood of Christ with which He has sealed His promise-on Him who
was not only dead, but is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for His people. This hope, then, is both sure
and stedfast, and entereth into that within the vail, whither the
forerunner, even Jesus, is for us entered.
Now, we all know—from the boy that is
expecting to go home for his holidays in a week, up to the old man to whose
eye the time-veil is wearing thin—that hope, if it is certain, is a source
of gladness. How lightly one’s bosom’s lord sits upon its throne, when a
great hope comes to animate us! how everybody is pleasant, and all things
are easy, and the world looks different! Hope, if it is certain, will
gladden, and if our Christianity grasps, as it ought to do, the only hope
that is absolutely certain, and as sure as if it were in the past and had
been experienced, then our hearts, too, will sing for joy. True joy is not a
matter of temperament, so much as a matter of faith. It is not a matter of
circumstances. All the surface drainage may be dry, but there is a well in
the courtyard deep and cool and full and exhaustless, and a Christian who
rightly understands and cherishes the Christian hope is lifted above
temperament, and is not dependent upon conditions for his joys.
The Apostle, in an earlier part of this
same letter, defines for us what that hope is, which thus is the secret of
perpetual gladness, when he speaks about ‘rejoicing in hope of the glory of
God.’ Yes, it is that great, supreme, calm, far off, absolutely certain
prospect of being gathered into the divine glory, and walking there, like
the three in the fiery furnace, unconsumed and at ease; it is that hope that
will triumph over temperament, and over all occasions for melancholy, and
will breathe into our life a perpetual gladness.
Brethren, is it not strange and sad
that with such a treasure by our sides we should consent to live such poor
lives as we do?
But remember, although I cannot say to
myself, ‘Now I will be glad,’ and cannot attain to joy by a movement of the
will or direct effort, although it is of no use to say to a man—which is all
that the world can ever say to him—‘Cheer up and be glad,’ whilst you do not
alter the facts that make him sad, there is a way by which we can bring
about feelings of gladness or of gloom. It is just this—we can choose
what we will look at.
If you prefer to occupy your mind with
the troubles, losses, disappointments, hard work, blighted hopes of this
poor sin-ridden world, of course sadness will come over you often, and a
general grey tone will be the usual tone of your lives, as it is of the
lives of many of us, broken only by occasional bursts of foolish mirth and
FEELINGS WILL FOLLOW
But if you choose to turn away from all
these, and instead of the dim, dismal, hard present, to sun yourselves in
the light of the yet unrisen sun, which you can do, then, having rightly
chosen the subjects to think about, the feeling will come as a
matter of course.
You cannot make yourselves glad by, as it
were, laying hold of yourselves and lifting yourselves into gladness, but
you can rule the direction of your thoughts, and so can bring around you
summer in the midst of winter, by steadily contemplating the facts—and they
are present facts, though we talk about them collectively as ‘the
future’—the facts on which all Christian gladness ought to be based. We can
carry our own atmosphere with us; like the people in Italy, who in frosty
weather will be seen sitting in the market-place by their stalls with a dish
of embers, which they grasp in their hands, and so make themselves
comfortably warm on the bitterest day. You can bring a reasonable degree of
warmth into the coldest weather, if you will lay hold of the vessel in which
the fire is, and keep it in your hand and close to your heart. Choose
what you think about, and feelings will follow thoughts....
Brethren, I believe that one great source
of the weakness of average Christianity amongst us to-day is the dimness
into which so many of us have let the hope of the glory of God pass in our
hearts. So I beg you to lay to heart this first commandment, and to rejoice
in hope. (Romans
Romans 12:12a, “rejoicing in hope.” Does
that describe you, especially when you’re going through a difficult trial?
According to the U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about nine
percent of those in the United States report that they suffer from current
depression (within two weeks of the survey), with four percent suffering
from major depression (www.cdc.gov/Features /dsDepression). And believers
are not exempt. Some godly saints, such as Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon,
and the hymn writer, William Cowper, have suffered from severe depression.
Probably some of you are depressed right now. But since joy and hope are the
opposite of depression, we all should try to understand what the Bible
teaches about how we can have such joy and hope, especially in the face of
Before we look at what the Bible says, let me say that the causes of
depression can be very complex. It can stem from various diseases, from
physical conditions (such as post-partum depression in women), from grief
over loss, or from our genetic brain chemistry. Psychiatrists do not
understand exactly how brain chemistry or anti-depressant drugs work. If you
suffer from inexplicable depression, the first thing you should do is get a
medical checkup, to see if a doctor can determine the cause.
Regarding anti-depressant drugs, my view is that if you need them to get out
of the pit so that you’re able to function somewhat normally again, then
take the drug as you would any other medication if you were sick. But once
you’re stable, unless you absolutely need the drug to remain
depression-free, I would advise weaning yourself off the drugs under a
But having said that, I have a caution: If your depression stems from some
known sin, taking an anti-depressant so that you feel better and moving on
with life without dealing with your sin is spiritually and emotionally
damaging. God designed things so that our sin has negative emotional effects
to get our attention. The proper response to sin is not to take a pill, but
to repent and seek to please Him.
Depression is often an emotional indicator that you are living to please
yourself, not to please God. Those who are severely depressed to the point
of being suicidal are not thinking about pleasing God or about the effect
their action would have on others. Rather, they are focused on how to get
out of their pain, with no regard for pleasing God or serving others. So
when you’re battling depression, seek to please God beginning on the thought
The first man born in sin disobeyed God and became jealous of his brother,
who obeyed God. When Cain sinned, he became depressed and angry (those
emotions often go together). God didn’t prescribe an anti-depressant.
Rather, He confronted Cain with his sin and told him to counter it with
godly behavior (Gen. 4:6-7): “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you
angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your
countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the
door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’” God’s
prescription for Cain’s depression and anger was obedience.
The Bible often (as in our text) says that believers are to be full of joy
and hope, even in the midst of severe trials. Joy is not a minor theme in
the Bible. The Psalms are full of commands to praise the Lord and rejoice in
Him. Joy is promised to all that walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Paul wrote
Philippians when he was in prison and other believers were attacking him.
That short book is brimming with joy in the Lord. He writes (Php 3:1),
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same
things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” In case we
missed it, he repeats (Php 4:4), “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will
To help you understand this important matter, let me mention three things
that biblical joy is not and then show how to get it. By the way, no one has
written more capably on this than John Piper. All of his books deal with it,
but I especially recommend When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy [Crossway].
As he often says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in
Him.” Our joy is all about glorifying our merciful God and Savior.
First, biblical joy is not a matter of personality or temperament. Some
by nature are cheery and optimistic. Others are naturally more gloomy and
pessimistic. But biblical joy comes from walking in the power of the Holy
Spirit, not by natural temperament. Those who are naturally more melancholic
will have to fight harder to attain biblical joy. But those who are
naturally cheery should not assume that they have biblical joy, unless they
know that their joy comes from dependence on God and His promises.
Second, biblical joy is not a matter of happy circumstances. Paul
could rejoice in prison and in the face of many trials because his joy
was in the Lord, not in circumstances. In the Psalms, the psalmist is often
in horrible circumstances, sometimes despairing of life itself, but when he
puts his trust in the Lord, he ends up praising and thanking Him and
literally singing for joy.
Third, biblical joy is not a phony, superficial happiness that smiles on
the outside when the heart is hurting on the inside. Just three verses
after our text, Paul tells us to “weep with those who weep.” He doesn’t say,
“Tell those who weep to buck up and smile!” There is a time for grieving and
sorrow. Paul described himself (2 Cor. 6:10) “as sorrowful yet always
rejoicing.” The shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is 1 Thessalonians
5:16, “Rejoice always.” The shortest verse in the English New Testament is
John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” There is no contradiction. Biblical joy is a solid
undercurrent that is not affected by the surface storms of life.
Then how do we get this joy? Paul
says here that it comes from hope. And hope comes from focusing your mind on
the sure promises of God for the future. The Bible tells us that we can set
our minds on certain things that are true of us in Christ (Col. 3:1-4-note):
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on
the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and
your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is
revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Either Jesus and Paul were liars and you can chuck the entire Christian
faith, or they spoke the truth. Jesus promised to come back and complete our
redemption, so that we will share His glory. Focus on that truth, even if
you don’t feel like it! Feelings eventually follow your thoughts. Set your
mind on the hope of eternal glory and joy in the Lord will follow. (Romans
12:12 Joyful, Prayerful Perseverance)
PERSEVERING IN TRIBULATION
(crushing, pressing circumstances): te thlipsei
hupomenontes (PAPMPN) (Ro
2:9, 5:3, 8:35, Jn 16:33 Rev 1:9, 2:9,10,22, 7:14, 1Th 3:3 Heb 10:33) (Ro 2:7;
5:3,4; 8:25; 15:4; Psalms 37:7; 40:1; Luke 8:15; 21:19; Colossians 1:11; 1
Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:10;
Hebrews 6:12,15; 10:36; 12:1; James 1:3,4; 5:7,10,11; 1 Peter 2:19,20; 2 Peter
1:6; Revelation 13:10)
Paul repeatedly links hope with
endurance - Ro 5:2-4, Ro 8:24-25, 1Cor 13:7, 1Thes 1:3.
Patience in trial is the only path to our
perfecting; wherefore James says we should count "manifold trials to be all
joy"; and, "let patience have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and
entire, lacking in nothing." (Romans 12 Commentary)
Note also that in the original Greek, the
order is "in hope rejoicing, tribulation persevering, prayer
Persevering when you are experiencing
crushing circumstances is not a call for you to just "man up" as they say and
to "grit your teeth" and "bear it." That is the "world's way" of dealing with
difficult situations. God has given His children a new and better way to
navigate the roaring waters of adversity and in context it is by having one's
mind and heart strengthened by hope in which they are rejoicing. In short,
since hope is fixed on our glorious future, it is independent of present
crushing circumstances. Don't misunderstand - Those circumstances are still
painful and difficult. It is just that now God has given us a way of escape
that we might be able to bear up under the load of these circumstances. So
clearly rejoicing in hope is linked with persevering
in tribulation. The former enables us do the latter. Ultimately
continual rejoicing and steadfast persevering call for the
believer to "jettison" self reliance and self-effort and instead to yield,
surrender, submit and depend on their indwelling, ever with them, ever ready
and able Helper, the Holy Spirit Who provides the supernatural enabling power
to walk through the difficult circumstances. The result is that we are molded
more into the image of God's Son and God is greatly glorified as both lost and
saved see our supernaturally empowered attitudes and actions! Praise the Lord!
Present circumstances cannot remove
supernaturally enabled rejoicing because present circumstances cannot, in the
long run, impact our future hope of the glory of God, which includes the
redemption of our bodies (Ro 5:2-note,
for this hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
And on this Solid Rock we can stand!
The old physicians tell us of two antidotes
against poison, the hot and the cold, and they expand upon the special
excellence of each of these; in like manner the Apostle Paul gives us first
the warm antidote, “rejoicing in hope,” and then he gives us the cool
antidote, “patient in tribulation.” Either of these, or both together, will
work wonderfully for the sustaining of the spirit; but it is to be observed
that neither of these remedies can be taken into the soul unless it is mixed
with a draught of prayer. Joy and patience are curative essences, but they
must be dropped into a glass full of supplication, and then they will be
MacArthur explains that...
because we have perfect assurance
concerning the ultimate outcome of our lives (Ed: This is what Biblical
hope does - it assures us that the ultimate outcome of our temporal life, even
one filled with temporal tribulation, will give way to a life of eternal
glory!), we are able to persist against any obstacle and endure any suffering.
That is why Paul could declare with perfect confidence that “we exult in hope
of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven
character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because
the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit
who was given to us” (Rom. 5:2–5).
J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)
(hupomeno from hupo = under + meno = abide
- see study on related word
hupomone) literally means to abide
or remain under but not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope
(see note on
Romans 5:3). It describes a resisting by
holding one's ground which is not a passive "putting up with" things, but an
active, steadfast endurance even in the face of serious trouble. (See also Torrey's Topics
Note that hupomeno is in the
which calls for this to be our continual, habitual practice! Now, just try
to accomplish this in the strength of your flesh! You cannot. Only the
Spirit in us can accomplish this objective! (cf Jn 6:63)
The Puritans of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries spoke a great deal about perseverance. Thomas
God's decree is the very pillar and
basis on which the saints' perseverance depends. That decree ties the
knot of adoption so fast that neither sin, death, nor hell can break it
Watson's companion in conflict was
William Secker who put it profoundly
Though Christians be not kept altogether
from falling, yet they are kept from falling altogether.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
By perseverance the snail reached the
"Great works are performed not by
strength but by perseverance."
And so we think of William Wilberforce, a
19th-century parliamentarian, was moved by the Lord to oppose the slave
trade. In 1807 he brought about the banning of the slave trade in England.
But not until 1833 was slavery as an institution abolished, and the news
reached Wilberforce on his deathbed.
As someone has said
"Triumph is umph added to try."
Wayne Detzler writes that...
"True Christian perseverance is
not tied to tenacity. It is rather the work of God the Holy Spirit in a
believer's life. The starch in a saint's spine is shown by Scripture to be
nothing less than the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way
can one explain the work of
Gladys Aylward, a London parlor
maid. Societies scorned her missionary application. She seemed too dull to
master Chinese and fulfill her vision of serving in China. Realizing this,
she scoured up her own fare to China and sailed in 1930. After slogging her
way across Siberia she reached her field in remote Yangcheng. When the
Japanese invaded in 1940 she led 100 children on an epic journey that caught
the imagination of Hollywood (The
Inn of the Sixth Happiness - a great film for the family!)
an 8' 43'' snippet as an appetizer).
In 1947 failing health forced her back to England where she crusaded for
missions until her death in 1970. That was tenacity, not just British grit.
It is God's persevering grace." (Detzler,
Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)
Nature also illustrates perseverance,
for as someone has well said
"Today's mighty oak is just
yesterday's little nut that held its ground"
Tribulation (2347) (thlipsis from
thlibo = to crush, press, compress, squeeze in turn
derived from thláo not found in NT but see related word sunthlao)
word study on
originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Medically thlipsis
was used of the pulse (pressure). It is a pressing together as of grapes. It
conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed
beneath a weight. When, according to the ancient law of England, those who
willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their
breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally
The iron cage was stenochoria (see below).
Thlipsis thus refers not to mild
discomfort but to great difficulty.
Thlipsis-45x in the NT - Matt. 13:21; 24:9, 21, 29; Mk. 4:17; 13:19, 24; Jn.
16:21, 33; Acts 7:10, 11; 11:19; 14:22; 20:23; Rom. 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 1
Co. 7:28; 2 Co. 1:4, 8; 2:4; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2, 13; Eph. 3:13; Phil. 1:16;
4:14; Col. 1:24; 1Th 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2Th 1:4, 6; Heb. 10:33; Jas.
1:27; Rev. 1:9; 2:9f, 22; 7:14
presents a great
picture! Don't we all occasionally feel like the weight of the world
is weighing us down?
Jesus warned His disciples that this
world would bring us its full share of difficulties (Jn 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that
in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take
courage; I have overcome the world.
Paul knows from experience that
tribulations are a certainty for believers and so he exhorts us to persevere.
For example Luke, describing Paul's missionary travels to Lystra and to
Iconium and to Antioch, writes that Paul (and Barnabas) were...
strengthening the souls of the
disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through
many tribulations we must (speaks of a necessity, an obligation) enter the kingdom of God. (Acts
Paul exhorts us as new creatures in Christ who are possessors of a new
"power supply" to continue steadfast in the time of trouble. The realization that life is to some extent an
obstacle course keeps a person from being surprised when things do not go as
planned. Afflictions are to be borne patiently in His power.
This exhortation to persevere follows naturally from the former -- Our hope-inspired joy
should produce a
courage which is able to hold up under the afflictions of this present age,
which is passing away. As Paul has already instructed us, from another perspective,
afflictions are even to be exulted in because as they are endured, even more hope
is produced (Ro 5:3-5-note).
Don't misunderstand - affliction is still affliction and the pain and
suffering experienced are very real, but a believer can know they are
momentary and light in the context of eternity and that they are producing for
us an incomparable eternal weight of glory (2Cor 4:17-note).
J Ligon Duncan
The hope of future glory in salvation is
able to animate our rejoicing even in the midst in the most real and severe
and overwhelming trials in this life. If our ultimate hope was derived even
from the desire that bad situations we are in now will eventually become
good, we could not rejoice in all circumstance. Not all the bad
circumstances that we are in now will be good in the long run in our lives.
There will be some things that will never be rectified in this live. That
hope of glory, however, enables us to rejoice in every circumstance Paul
says, rejoicing in hope. ...When the Spirit enables us to perseverance (Ed:
Read that statement again - this perseverance in crushing circumstances is
not possible naturally but supernaturally!), the spirit enables us to not
simply bear up under stress, to survive the things that we are going
through, but the Spirit enables us to continue to be useful in kingdom
service despite that stress and despite that trial. Paul is calling on us to
manifest this in our Christian life and experience. Persevering in
Here it is more lively to retain the
order and the verbs of the original: “In hope, rejoicing; in tribulation,
enduring; in prayer, persevering.” Each of these exercises helps the other.
If our “hope” of glory is so assured that it is a rejoicing hope, we shall
find the spirit of “endurance in tribulation” natural and easy; but since it
is “prayer” which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up
into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation
is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our “perseverance in
Remembering that what you suffer as
Christians you suffer for Christ‘s sake; and it is to his honor, and the
honor of your Christian profession, that you suffer it with an even mind.
Christians may be enabled to do this by
the sustaining influence of their hope of future glory; of being admitted to
that world where there shall be no more death, and where all tears shall be
wiped away from their eyes, Revelation 21:4; Revelation 7:17; compare James
1:4. See the influence of hope in sustaining us in affliction more fully
considered in the notes at Romans 8:18-28. (Barnes'
Notes on the Whole Bible)
Bearing up under pressures, as among many
other martyrs Nicholas Burton, who by the way to the stake, and in the
flame, was so patient and cheerful, that the tormentors said, the devil had
his soul before he came to the fire, and therefore his senses of feeling
were past. (Acts and Mon.)
Nothing tends more to animate the people
of God to a cheerful serving of him (Ro 12:11), or to make them more patient
under afflictions, than a hope of being for ever with the Lord:
Whilst the saints are in this world they must expect tribulation (Jn 16:33);
their way to heaven lies through it (Acts 14:22, 2Ti 3:12, Php 1:29); and it
becomes them to be patient under it, not murmuring against God (Php 2:14),
on the one hand, nor reviling of men, on the other (cf Jesus attitude in 1Pe
Paul first forbids us to acquiesce in
present blessings, and to ground our joy on earth and on earthly things, as
though our happiness were based on them; and he bids us to raise our minds
up to heaven, that we may possess solid and full joy.
If our joy is derived from the hope of
future life, then patience will grow up in adversities; for no kind of
sorrow will be able to overwhelm this joy. Hence these two things are
closely connected together, that is, joy derived from hope, and patience in
No man will indeed calmly and quietly
submit to bear the cross, but he who has learnt to seek his happiness beyond
this world, so as to mitigate and allay the bitterness of the cross with the
consolation of hope. But as both these things are far above our strength, we
must be instant in prayer, and continually call on God, that he may not
suffer our hearts to faint and to be pressed down, or to be broken by
adverse events. (Calvin's
Now, if my heart is filled with a calm
gladness because my eye is fixed upon a celestial hope, then both the
passive and active sides of Christian ‘patience’ will be realised by me. If
my hope burns bright, and occupies a large space in my thoughts, then it
will not be hard to take the homely consolation of good John Newton’s hymn
‘Though painful at present,
‘Twill cease before long;
And then, oh, how pleasant
The conqueror’s song!’
A man who is sailing to America, and knows that he will be in New York in a
week, does not mind, although his cabin is contracted, and he has a great
many discomforts, and though he has a bout of sea-sickness. The
disagreeables are only going to last for a day or two. So our hope will make
us bear trouble, and not make much of it.
And our hope will strengthen us, if it is
strong, for all the work that is to be done. Persistence in the path of
duty, though my heart be beating like a smith’s hammer on the anvil, is what
Christian men should aim at, and possess. If we have within our hearts
that fire of a certain hope, it will impel us to diligence in doing the
humblest duty, whether circumstances be for or against us; as some great
steamer is driven right on its course, through the ocean, whatever storms
may blow in the teeth of its progress, because, deep down in it, there are
furnaces and boilers which supply the steam that drives the engines.
So a life that is joyful because it is
hopeful will be full of calm endurance and strenuous work.
‘Rejoicing in hope; patient,’ persevering
in tribulation. (Romans
RAKU - Some friends gave us a
piece of Raku pottery. “Each pot is hand-formed,” the tag explained, “a
process that allows the spirit of the artist to speak through the finished
work with particular directness and intimacy.” Once the clay has been shaped
by the potter it is fired in a kiln. Then, glowing red hot, it is thrust
into a smoldering sawdust pile where it remains until finished. The result
is a unique product—”one of a kind,” the tag on our piece insists. So it is
with us. We bear the imprint of the Potter’s hand. He too has spoken through
His work “with particular directness and intimacy.” Each of us is formed in
a unique way for a unique work: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in
them” (Ephesians 2:10-note).
But though we are created for good works, we’re not yet finished. We must
experience the kiln of affliction. Aching hearts, weary spirits, aging
bodies are the processes God uses to finish the work He has begun. Don’t
fear the furnace that surrounds you. Be “patient in tribulation” and await
the finished product. “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4-note).
We are here to be perfected,
Only God our needs can see;
Rarest gems bear hardest grinding,
God's own workmanship are we.
He who has begun a good work in you will complete it
until the day of Jesus Christ. —Philippians 1:6-note
DEVOTED TO PRAYER: te proseuche proskarterountes (PAPMPN)
(Eph 6:18, 19, 20
Spurgeon, 2Th 3:1-2 Acts 2:46, 6:4 Col 4:2)
(Genesis 32:24, 25, 26; Job 27:8, 9, 10; Psalms 55:16,17; 62:8; 109:4;
Jeremiah 29:12,13; Daniel 9:18,19; Luke 11:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13;
18:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9-43; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; 12:5; 2 Corinthians
12:8; Ephesians 6:18,19; Philippians 4:6,7; Colossians 4:2,12; 1
Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 5:7; James 5:15,16; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 5:14,15)
When V. Raymond Edman was president of
Wheaton College, he often exhorted the students, “Chin up and knees down.”
That’s good advice for all of us. (Ray Pritchard)
In prayer steadfastly continuing-So did
the early Christians (Acts 2:42,46,47; 6:4; 12:5,12). But do not forget to
watch expectantly, and to give thanks in your prayers. (Col 4:2.) Ten will
attend Bible teaching, and one hundred Sunday preaching, to two or three who
"in prayer steadfastly continue": but be thou of that two or three; for they
prevail, and to them Christ reveals Himself; and they become channels of
blessing to countless others (Ed:
Lord teach us to pray! Amen).
(Romans 12 Commentary)
Sanday & Headlam
Persecution again naturally suggests
prayer, for the strength of prayer is specially needed in times of
Writing to the Ephesians Paul
With all prayer and petition pray at all
times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all
perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that
utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with
boldness the mystery of the gospel (Eph 6:18-19-note)
Paul also has a similar note to the
saints at Colossae (note this an order as from a commanding general which
emphasizes the critical need for prayer in the ongoing spiritual war -
it's not pray if you feel like it but pray all the time!)...
yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving
Note the progression: hope,
How often does tribulation drive you to prayer?
well said that prayer is the breath of the Christian life and almost nothing
decays so fast in the fallen human heart as the desire to pray. In other words,
nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are
more vulnerable to neglect. We must come back to it again and again and stoke the
Most Christians will confess the difficulty of maintaining a regular and
effective prayer life. The reason is not difficult to discern. If Satan (or our
flesh) can keep
us out of touch with God, he will not have to worry about any trouble we might
cause for his evil kingdom (or our selfish desires).
from prós = in
compound Greek words prós implies motion, direction = toward, to +
kartereo = be strong, steadfast, firm, endure, hold out, bear the
(Click word study on
proskartereo) is in the present
tense and means continuously, habitually devoted to or attending to. The
literal meaning is to be strong toward or earnest toward something, and it
carries the ideas of steadfast and unwavering. It also conveys the idea of
waiting on or being ready for something as illustrated in (Mk 3:9) where the boat was standing ready for Jesus (Is my "vessel" standing ready for
present tense calls for this to be
the believer's continual attitude. Ultimately this is only possible as we
learn to yield to the Spirit Who enables our will to want to be devoted
and energizes us to follow through (Php 2:13NLT-note).
Denney comments that
The strong word suggests not only the
constancy with which they are to pray, but the effort that is needed to
maintain a habit so much above nature (Ed: Cp our need for the
Spirit's initiation of this "genre" of prayer. Ro 8:26, Eph 6:18, Gal 4:6,
Proskartereo - 10x in
the NT -- Mk. 3:9; Acts 1:14; 2:42, 46; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7; Rom. 12:12; 13:6;
Col. 4:2. Translated - continually devoting themselves(2), continued(1),
continuing(1), devote ourselves(1), devote yourselves(1), devoted(1),
devoting themselves(1), personal attendants(1), stand ready(1).
Proskartereo was a dominant attitude in the early church in Acts especially regarding
teaching, prayer and breaking of bread
(for a sense of this word see the
6 uses in Acts).
Paul has a very picturesque use of
where he describes the unceasing
activity of the tax collector! If a tax collector has this attitude for treasure
that fades away, what should be a saint's attitude towards prayer knowing that
they are being "added
saints on the
altar which was
throne. (of God in heaven)" (Rev 8:3-note)
If the church demonstrated in its prayer life the dedication and
persistence of the government in its collection of revenue, then the
church would indeed have little to fear from the gates of hell!
be instant and constant in the duty. A
metaphor from hounds, that give not over the game till they have got it:
see Luke 18:1 Ephesians 6:18 Colossians 4:2 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai =
to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer and is used only of
prayer to God. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being
immediately before Him and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and
worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains
to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was
brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed
slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek,
prayers appealed to God for His presence.
THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS: tais chreiais ton
2:14, 15, 16, 17, Gal 6:10) (Ro 12:8; 15:25, 26, 27, 28; Psalms 41:1; Acts
4:35; 9:36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41; 10:4; 20:34,35; 1 Corinthians 16:1,2; 2
Corinthians 8:1, 2, 3, 4; 9:1,12; Galatians 6:10; Philemon 1:7; Hebrews 6:10;
13:16; 1 John 3:17 )
Literally "to the needs of the saints
Gal 6:10 So then, while we have
opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the
household of the faith.
James echoes Paul...
Jas 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if a
man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a
brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of
you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not
give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so
faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
1John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s
goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how
does the love of God abide in him?
(koinoneo) describes the sharing of one's possessions, with the implication of
some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. The
which calls for a lifestyle of sharing.
Here are the 8 uses of koinoneo in the NT
- Rom. 12:13; 15:27; Gal. 6:6; Phil. 4:15; 1 Tim. 5:22; Heb. 2:14; 1 Pet.
4:13; 2 Jn. 1:11
was used in Greek marriage contracts where the husband and wife agree
to a joint-participation in the necessities of life. (what a contrast with modern day
"pre-nuptial" agreements!) The key idea is that of a
partnership, a possessing things in common, a belonging in common to.
Koinoneo is derived from the Greek word
koinos (Click in depth study of related word
koinonia) meaning that which is common or
belonging to several (commonality, partnership, or mutual sharing) and is
translated "in common" in (Acts 2:42, 43, 44, 45, 4:32, 33, 34, 35 cf 1Ti
koinonia or fellowship
is much more than a pat on the back and a handshake. It means sharing the
burdens and the blessings of others so that we all grow together and glorify
The idea is not just
the outward act of giving, though, but sharing in one’s own heart the burden
of need felt by the needy, and the sense of a common ownership of those
things that can meet these needs (Acts 4:32, 33, 34, 35). In Murray’s words, “We are to identify ourselves
with the needs of the saints and make them our own”
The application of Paul's exhortation is
children of God fall into want, take a part of their wants upon yourselves.
Make their wants your wants to the full extent of your ability to relieve
them, which should be a natural outflow of the truth that although we
another" (see Romans 12:5-note)
and so "if
with" them. (1Cor 12:26)
When you obey this injunction and begin
wisely to inquire about the saints' needs, you will be astonished at two
things: first, at the actual pressing necessities of many saints all about
you; and second, at the way God will supply your own necessities as you
minister to them. When the Holy Spirit took complete possession of the early
Church, "Not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed
was his own; but they had all things common"; with the result that "neither
was there among them any that lacked." Now this shows the basal spirit of
Christian giving. It is not "saying in our hearts" that what we have is "our
own, " but holding all in stewardship to the Lord, ready to be ministered,
as He shall direct. It is true that Paul, in his epistles, which give the
constitution of the Church of God, does not direct those that are rich in
this world's goods to "sell all that they have"; but to "do good, to be rich
in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." This passage
(1Ti 6:17-19) should be most carefully regarded as at once the Divine
protection against the awful "community of goods" of socialism and
communism, because the Bible teaches constantly the rights of personal,
private property; and also as the foundation principle of our giving. (Romans 12 Commentary)
(literally = "love of strangers"
or "befriending strangers"): ten philoxenian diokontes
(Ge 18:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 19:1, 2, 3
1Ti 3:2, 5:10, Titus 1:8, Heb 13:2 1Pe 4:9)
1Pet 4:9 Be hospitable (philoxenos - loving
strangers) to one another without complaint (no murmuring or grumbling!
as in Php 2:14-note).
Pursuing hospitality-Here the word
for hospitality is literally love to strangers, "stranger-loving, " and the
translation "given to" is not strong enough. In its forty or fifty
occurrences in the New Testament, this word is very frequently translated
"pursuing, " which is the literal meaning. You have it three times in Php
3:6, "persecuting the church"; in verse Php 3:12, "I follow after"; and in
verse Php 3:14, "I press on" The meaning here, then, is, pursuing
hospitality.-persecuting folks, even strangers, with kindness! What a
wonderful testimony of love, hearty obedience to this simple exhortation to
pursue hospitality would be! We have in Hebrews Thirteen three uses of this
Greek root phil (meaning love): (1) "Let love of the brethren (Philadelphia)
continue"; (2) "Forget not to show love unto strangers" (philoxenia) ; and,
(3) in verse 5, "Be free from silver-loving" (philarguros). If you are
tempted to philarguros, Philadelphia and philoxenia,
will cure you! "Given to hospitality, " then, means far more than being
"willing to entertain" those who may call on you. It indicates going after
this business, pursuing it, following it up! The Lord will reward some day
even a cup of cold water given in His Name. Let us make "Strangers' Inns" of
our homes. We are not staying here long. And the Lord may send "angels"
around when we least expect! "Forget not to show love unto strangers, for
thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Heb 13:2) (Romans 12 Commentary)
Practicing (literally = pursuing) (1377)
from dío = pursue, prosecute, persecute) means to
follow or press hard after, literally to pursue as one does a fleeing enemy.
It means to chase, harass, vex and pressure and was used for chasing down
criminals. Dioko speaks of an intensity of effort leading to a pursuit
with earnestness and diligence in order to lay hold of.
The English word practicing loses
some of the meaning of the verb dioko
which conveys the picture of a host who follows or presses hard after (in a
positive sense) to
show kindness to strangers!
Are you as convicted as I am?! Furthermore the
present tense emphasizes that this is to
be the believer's supernatural (Spirit empowered) lifestyle or habitual practice, of continual earnestness & diligence in
order show hospitality. Paul uses this same verb expressing his highest
desire in (Philippians
goal for the
prize of the
Jesus." (Philippians 3:14-note)
= friend or loving +
stranger) is literally a friend of strangers and thus one who entertains
strangers or demonstrates hospitality or kindness to strangers.
Our care and concern will demonstrate
itself in practical deeds done for others, either going to them
(distributing to the needs of the saints) or inviting them to come to you
(given to hospitality). In NT times, travel was dangerous and inns were
evil, scarce, and expensive. So the early believers often opened their homes
to travelers, especially to fellow believers. In prison Paul gave a special
blessing "to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not
ashamed of my chains but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and
found me" --so here we see a "radical hospitality" even at the risk of his
own life! (2Ti 1:16, 17, 18 -note
cf 3Jn 5, 6, 7, 8; Lk 14:12, 13, 14). Church leaders should be role models of this virtue (see
Hospitality is literally to be chased after as one hunts an animal and
delights to carry the booty home
Spicq relates the story of a pagan Greek citizen, Gallias of Agrigentum,
who in the fourth century B.C. was so hospitable
“that he posted his slaves at the city gates to welcome strangers when
they presented themselves and ask them to his house”.
Some Christians have been known to build extra rooms on their houses in
order to provide for traveling evangelists and missionaries on furlough.
Dictionary - Hospitality: Hospitality was
regarded by most nations of the ancient world as one of the chief virtues.
The Jewish laws respecting strangers (Leviticus 19:33,34) and the poor,
(Leviticus 23:14) seq. Deuteronomy 15:7 And concerning redemption
(Leviticus 25:23) seq., etc. are framed in accordance with the spirit of
hospitality. In the law compassion to strangers is constantly enforced by
the words "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Leviticus 19:34)
And before the law, Abraham's entertainment of the angels, (Genesis 18:1)
seq., and Lot's, (Genesis 19:1) are in exact agreement with its precepts,
and with modern usage. Comp. (Exodus 2:20; Judges 13:15; 19:17,20,21) In
the New Testament hospitality is yet more markedly enjoined; and in the
more civilized state of society which then prevailed, its exercise became
more a social virtue than a necessity of patriarchal life. The good
Samaritan stands for all ages as an example of Christian hospitality. The
neglect of Christ is symbolized by inhospitality to our neighbors.
(Matthew 25:43) The apostles urged the Church to "follow after
hospitality," (Romans 12:13) cf. 1Tim 5:10 To remember Abraham's example,
(Hebrews 13:2) to "use hospitality one to another without grudging," (1
Peter 4:9) while a bishop must be a "lover of hospitality (Titus 1:8) cf.
1Tim 3:2 The practice of the early Christians was in accord with these
precepts. They had all things in common, and their hospitality was a
characteristic of their belief. In the patriarchal ages we may take
Abraham's example as the most fitting, as we have of it the fullest
account. "The account," says Mr. Lane, "of Abraham's entertaining the
three angels related in the Bible, presents a perfect picture of the
manner in which a modern Bedawee sheikh receives travellers arriving at
his encampment." The Oriental respect for the covenant of bread and salt,
or salt alone, certainly sprang from the high regard in which hospitality
HOSPITALITY; HOSPITALITY; HOST -
hos-pi-tal'-i-ti, host (philoxenia, "love of strangers," xenos, "guest,"
"friend"; pandocheus, "innkeeper"):
1. Among Nomads:
When the civilization of a people has advanced so far that some traveling
has become necessary, but not yet so far that traveling by individuals is
a usual thing, then hospitality is a virtue indispensable to the life of
the people. This stage of culture was that represented in ancient
Palestine and the stage whose customs are still preserved among the
present-day Arabs of the desert. Hospitality is regarded as a right by the
traveler, to whom it never occurs to thank his host as if for a favor. And
hospitality is granted as a duty by the host, who himself may very soon be
dependent on some one else's hospitality. But none the less, both in Old
Testament times and today, the granting of that right is surrounded by an
etiquette that has made Arabian hospitality so justly celebrated. The
traveler is made the literal master of the house during his stay; his host
will perform for him the most servile offices, and will not even sit in
his presence without express request. To the use of the guest is given
over all that his host possesses, stopping not even short of the honor of
wife or daughter. " `Be we not all,' say the poor nomads, `guests of Ullah?
Has God given unto them, God's guest shall partake with them thereof: if
they will not for God render his own, it should not go well with them' "
(Doughty, Arabia Deserta, I, 228). The host is in duty bound to defend his
guest against all comers and to lay aside any personal hatred--the
murderer of father is safe as the guest of the son.
2. In the Old Testament:
An exquisite example of the etiquette of hospitality is found in Gen
18:1-8. The very fact that the three strangers have passed by Abraham's
door gives him the privilege of entertaining them. When he sees them
approaching he runs to beg the honor of their turning in to him, with
oriental courtesy depreciates the feast that he is about to lay before
them as "a morsel of bread," and stands by them while they eat. Manoah
(Jdg 13:15) is equally pressing although more matter-of-fact, while Jethro
(Ex 2:20) sends out that the stranger may be brought in. And Job (31:32)
repels the very thought that he could let the sojourner be unprovided for.
The one case where a breach of hospitality receives praise is that of Jael
(Jdg 4 through 5), perhaps to be referred to degeneration of customs in
the conflicts with the Canaanites or (perhaps more plausibly) to
literary-critical considerations, according to which in Jdg 5 Sisera is
not represented as entering Jael's tent or possibly not as actually
tasting the food, a state of affairs misunderstood in Jdg 4, written under
later circumstances of city life. (For contrasting opinions see "Jael" in
Encyclopedia Biblica and HDB.)
3. The Table-Bond:
It is well to understand that to secure the right to hospitality it is not
necessary, even in modern times, for the guest to eat with his host, still
less to eat salt specifically. Indeed, guests arriving after sunset and
departing the next morning do not, as a rule, eat at all in the tent of
the host. It is sufficient to enter the tent, to grasp a tent-pin, or
even, under certain circumstances, to invoke the name of a man as host. On
the other hand, the bond of hospitality is certainly strengthened by
eating with one's host, or the bond may actually be created by eating food
belonging to him, even by stealth or in an act of theft. Here a quite
different set of motives is at work. The idea here is that of kinship
arising from participation in a common sacrificial meal, and the modern
Arab still terms the animal killed for his guest the dhabichah or
"sacrifice" (compare HDB, II, 428). This concept finds its rather
materialistic expression in theory that after the processes of digestion
are completed (a time estimated as two nights and the included day), the
bond lapses if it is not renewed. There seem to be various references in
the Bible to some such idea of a "table-bond" (Ps 41:9, e.g.), but hardly
in connection directly with hospitality. For a discussion of them see
BREAD; GUEST; SACRIFICE.
4. In the City:
In the city, naturally, the exercise of hospitality was more restricted.
Where travel was great, doubtless commercial provision for the travelers
was made from a very early day (compare Lk 10:34 and see INN), and at all
events free hospitality to all comers would have been unbearably abused.
Lot in Sodom (Gen 19) is the nomad who has preserved his old ideas,
although settled in the city, and who thinks of the "shadow of his roof"
(19:8) as his tent. The same is true of the old man in Gibeah of Jdg 19:16
ff. And the sin of Sodom and of Gibeah is not that wanderers cannot find
hospitality so much as it is that they are unsafe in the streets at night.
Both Lot and "the old man," however, are firm in their duty and willing to
sacrifice their daughters for the safety of their guests. (Later ideas as
to the position of woman should not be read back into these narratives.)
However, when the city-dweller Rahab refuses to surrender her guests (Josh
2), her reason is not the breach of hospitality involved but her fear of
Yahweh (Josh 2:9). When Abraham's old slave is in Nahor, and begs a
night's lodging for himself and his camels, he accompanies the request
with a substantial present, evidently conceived of as pay for the same
(Gen 24:22 f). Such also are the modern conditions; compare
Benzinger-Socin in Baedeker's Palestine(3), xxxv, who observe that
"inmates" of private houses "are aware that Franks always pay, and
therefore receive them gladly." None the less, in New Testament times, if
not earlier, and even at present, a room was set apart in each village for
the use of strangers, whose expenses were borne by the entire community.
Most interpreters consider that the kataluma of Lk 2:7 was a room of this
sort, but this opinion cannot be regarded as quite certain. But many of
the wealthier city-dwellers still strive to attain a reputation for
hospitality, a zeal that naturally was found in the ancient world as well.
5. Christ and Hospitality:
Christ's directions to the apostles to "take nothing for their journey"
(Mk 6:8, etc.) presupposes that they were sure of always finding
hospitality. Indeed, it is assumed that they may even make their own
choice of hosts (Mt 10:11) and may stay as long as they choose (Lk 10:7).
In this case, however, the claims of the travelers to hospitality are
accentuated by the fact that they are bearers of good tidings for the
people, and it is in view of this latter fact that hospitality to them
becomes so great a virtue--the "cup of cold water" becomes so highly
meritorious because it is given "in the name of a disciple" (Mt 10:42;
compare 10:41, and Mk 9:41). Rejection of hospitality to one of Christ's
"least brethren" (almost certainly to be understood as disciples) is
equivalent to the rejection of Christ Himself (Mt 25:43; compare 25:35).
It is not quite clear whether in Mt 10:14 and parallels, simple refusal of
hospitality is the sin in point or refusal to hear the message or both.
6. First Missionaries:
In the Dispersion, the Jew who was traveling seemed always to be sure of
finding entertainment from the Jews resident in whatever city he might
happen to be passing through. The importance of this fact for the spread
of early Christianity is incalculable. To be sure, some of the first
missionaries may have been men who were able to bear their own traveling
expenses or who were merchants that taught the new religion when on
business tours. In the case of soldiers or slaves their opportunity to
carry the gospel into new fields came often through the movements of the
army or of their masters. And it was by an "infiltration" of this sort,
probably, rather than by any specific missionary effort that the church of
Rome, at least, was rounded. See ROMANS, EPISTLE TO THE. But the ordinary
missionary, whether apostle (in any sense of the word ) or evangelist,
would have been helpless if it had not been that he could count so
confidently on the hospitality everywhere. From this fact comes one reason
why Paul, for instance, could plan tours of such magnitude with such
assurance: he knew that he would not have to face any problem of
sustenance in a strange city (Rom 16:23).
7. In the Churches:
As the first Christian churches were founded, the exercise of hospitality
took on a new aspect, especially after the breach with the Jews had begun.
Not only did the traveling Christian look naturally to his brethren for
hospitality, but the individual churches looked to the traveler for
fostering the sense of the unity of the church throughout the world.
Hospitality became a virtue indispensable to the well-being of the
church--one reason for the emphasis laid on it (Rom 12:13; 16:1 f; Heb
13:2). As the organization of the churches became more perfected, the
exercise of hospitality grew to be an official duty of the ministry and a
reputation for hospitality was a prerequisite in some cases (1 Tim 3:2;
5:10; Tit 1:8). The exercise of such hospitality must have become
burdensome at times (1 Pet 4:9), and as false teachers began to appear in
the church a new set of problems was created in discriminating among
applicants for hospitality. 2 and 3 Jn reflect some of the difficulties.
For the later history of hospitality in the church interesting matter will
be found in the Didache, chapters xi, xii, Apology of Aristides, chapter
xv, and Lucian's Death of Peregrinus, chapter xvi. The church certainly
preferred to err by excess of the virtue.
An evaluation of the Biblical directions regarding hospitality for modern
times is extremely difficult on account of the utterly changed conditions.
Be it said at once, especially, that certain well-meant criticism of
modern missionary methods, with their boards, organized finance, etc., on
the basis of Christ's directions to the Twelve, is a woeful misapplication
of Biblical teaching. The hospitality that an apostle could count on in
his own day is something that the modern missionary simply cannot expect
and something that it would be arrant folly for him to expect (Weinel, Die
urchristliche und die heutige Mission, should be read by everyone desiring
to compare modern missions with the apostolic). In general, the basis for
hospitality has become so altered that the special virtue has become
merged in the larger field of charitable enterprise of various sorts. The
modern problem nearest related to the old virtue is the question of
providing for the necessities of the indigent traveler, a distinctly minor
problem, although a very real one, in the general field of social problems
that the modern church has to study. In so far as the New Testament
exhortations are based on missionary motives there has been again a
merging into general appeals for missions, perhaps specialized
occasionally as appeals for traveling expense. The "hospitality" of today,
by which is meant the entertainment of friends or relatives, hardly comes
within the Biblical use of the term as denoting a special virtue.
For hospitality in the church, Harnack, Mission and Expansion of
Christianity, II, chapter iv (10).
Burton Scott Easton
NAVE'S TOPIC -
Ex. 22:21; Ex. 23:9;
Lev. 19:10, 33, 34; Lev. 24:22; Deut. 10:18, 19; Deut. 26:12, 13; Deut.
27:19; Prov. 9:1, 2, 3, 4; Prov. 23:6, 7, 8; Is. 58:6, 7; Matt. 22:2, 3,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Mt 25:34, 35, 36, 37, 38 , Mt 25:39, 40, 41, 42, 43,
44, 45, 46; Luke 14:12, 13, 14; Rom. 12:13; Ro 16:1, 2; 1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Tim.
5:10; Titus 1:7, 8; Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:9-11; 3 John 5:-8 See: Guest;
Pharaoh to Abraham, Gen. 12:16.
Melchizedek to Abraham, Gen. 14:18.
Abraham to the angels, Gen. 18:1-8.
Lot to the angel, Gen. 19:1-11.
Abimelech to Abraham, Gen. 20:14, 15.
Sons of Heth to Abraham, Gen. 23:6, 11.
Laban to Abraham's servant, Gen. 24:31; to Jacob, Gen. 29:13, 14.
Isaac to Abimelech, Gen. 26:30.
Joseph to his brethren, Gen. 43:31-34.
Pharaoh to Jacob, Gen. 45:16-20; 47:7-12.
Jethro to Moses, Ex. 2:20.
Rahab to the spies, Josh. 2:1-16.
Man of Gibeah to the Levite, Judg. 19:16-21.
Pharaoh to Hadad, 1 Kin. 11:17, 22.
David to Mephibosheth, 2 Sam. 9:7-13.
The widow of Zarephath to Elijah, 1 Kin. 17:10-24.
The Shunammite to Elisha, 2 Kin. 4:8.
Elisha to the Syrian spies, 2 Kin. 6:22.
Job to strangers, Job 31:32.
Martha to Jesus, Luke 10:38; John 12:1, 2.
Pharisees to Jesus, Luke 11:37, 38.
Zacchaeus to Jesus, Luke 19:1-10.
The taer to Peter, Acts 10:6, 23.
Lydia to Paul and Silas, Acts 16:15.
Publius to Paul, Acts 28:7; Phebe to Paul, Rom. 16:2.
Onesiphorus to Paul, 2 Tim. 1:16.
Gaius, 3 John 5, 6, 7, 8.
Instances of: Rahab's, Josh. 6:17, 22-25.
Widow of Zarephath's, 1 Kin. 17:10-24.
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