Romans 13:8-14

Romans 13:8-14
Ordinary A41


OweA no one anything, except to loveB one another; for the one who loves anotherC has fulfilledD the law.E 

Notes on verse 8

A “owe” = opheilo. Perhaps from the base of ophelos (advantage, gain, profit); from ophello (heaped together, accumulate, increase). This is to be indebted morally or legally – having an obligation one must meet. This term came from the legal world, but was then adopted in reference to morality. In the New Testament it is used for humanity’s ethical responsibility.
B “love” = agapao. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
C “another” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
D “fulfilled” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
E “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery;F You shall not murder;G You shall not steal;H You shall not covet”;I

Notes on verse 9a

F “commit adultery” = moicheuo. 15x in NT. From moichos (adulterer; a man who has been with a married woman; used figuratively of an apostate). This is committing adultery or adultery itself. Used of a man with a married woman or a married man with anyone other than his wife.
G “murder” = phoneuo. 12x in NT. From phoneus (a murderer); from phonos (killing, murder, or slaughter; one of the crimes that Barabbas and Saul are accused of); from pheno (to slay). This is to kill or murder. It is killing on purpose without justification.
H “steal” = klepto. 13x in NT. This is to steal by stealth – not in the open or using violence.
I “covet” = epithumeo. 16x in NT. From epi (on, upon, fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}. This is desire, lust, longing for, setting one’s heart on. It is a longing whether good or bad. In either case, passion and yearning is set on the object of desire.

and any other commandment,J are summed upK in this word,L “Love your neighborM as yourself.” 

Notes on verse 9b

J “commandment” = entole. From entellomai (to charge, command, give orders or instructions) {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish) [from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one)]}. This is an order, command, ordinance, or law. It focuses on the purpose of the command and its end result.
K “summed up” = anakephalaioo. 2x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + kephalaioo (to hit or wound the head, summarize); {from kephalaion (relating to the head, the principle matter, an amount of money); from kephale (head or chief; literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord, corner stone); from kapto (to seize)}. This is to summarize, gather up as one, comprehend. It could also be organizing something into a comprehensive whole.
L “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
M “neighbor” = plesion. 17x in NT. From pelas (near). This is near, nearby, or neighboring. As one nearby, it can also refer to a neighbor, a member of one’s country, a Christian, or a friend.

10 LoveN does no wrongO to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillingP of the law.

Notes on verse 10

N “love” = agape. Related to “Love” in v8. From agapao (see note B above). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
O “wrong” = kakos. This is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue.
P “fulfilling” = pleroma. Related to “fulfilled” in v8. 18x in NT. From pleroo (see note D above). This is fullness, supply, completion, superabundance, or multitude.

11 Besides this, you knowQ what timeR it is, how it is now the momentS for you to wakeT from sleep. For salvationU is nearer to us now than when we became believers;V 

Notes on verse 11

Q “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
R “time” = kairos. This is season, opportunity, occasion. The word chronos is used for chronological time. Kairos is used for spiritually significant time – the right time or appointed time.
S “moment” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
T “wake” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
U “salvation” = soteria. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, preservation, welfare, prosperity, safety.
V “became believers” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.

12 the night is far gone,W the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darknessX and put onY the armorZ of light;AA 

Notes on verse 12

W “gone” = prokopto. 6x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn). This is to advance, lead, proceed. It is to trailblaze while moving forward. It can also mean other forms of advancing like time passing or profit increasing.
X “darkness” = skotos. Perhaps from the base of skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it. This can also mean obscurity.
Y “put on” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (to go down, sink, or set)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
Z “armor” = hoplon. 6x in NT. This is a tool or implement. It can also be armor or weapons in a literal or figurative sense.
AA “light” = photos. From phaos (light or daylight) OR phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is light, the source, that which light illumines or reveals. It is light whether naturally created or artificial, in an abstract, literal, or figurative sense.

13 let us liveBB honorablyCC as in the day, not in revelingDD and drunkenness, not in debaucheryEE and licentiousness,FF not in quarrelingGG and jealousy.HH 

Notes on verse 13

BB “live” = peripateo. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (to strike, smite, sting; a hit like a single blow)}. This is to walk. Going from Hebrew figurative language, to walk referred to how you conducted your life, how you chose to live. This word is most literally walking around. Figuratively, it is living, behaving, following, how you occupy yourself. This is where “peripatetic” comes from.
CC “honorably” = euschemonos. 3x in NT. From euschemon (presentable, seemly, prominent, noble, appropriate, desirable, well-formed); {from eu (good, well, well done) + schema (figure, appearance, form – outer shape; figuratively, can be external condition); {from echo (to have, hold, possess)}]. This is literally one having good form. It is properly, honorably, modestly, nobly, respectably.  
DD “reveling” = komos. 3x in NT. From kome (a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall); perhaps from keimai (to lie, recline, be placed, lie outstretched, be appointed). This was originally a festival in a village that involved drinking, carousing, and letting loose.
EE “debauchery” = koite. Perhaps related to “reveling” in v13. 4x in NT. From keimai (see note DD above). This is a bed or promiscuity or debauchery. It can also imply sperm.
FF “licentiousness” = aselgeia. 10x in NT. From aselges (brutal) OR from a (not, without) + selges (continent). This is wantonness, shocking behavior, wanton violence, acting in an unrestrained and capricious way.
GG “quarreling” = eris. 9x in NT. This is strife, quarreling, wrangling. Figuratively, it is debate or one who likes to dispute.
HH “jealousy” = zelos. 16x in NT– 6x in a positive sense (zeal for God) & 10x in a negative sense (jealousy/strife). Perhaps from zeo (to boil, be hot, ferment, bubble, boil, or glow; used figuratively for being fervent or earnest). This is eagerness or zeal on the one hand or rivalry and jealousy on the other. The verb is meant to echo the sound of boiling water and so it depicts burning emotion that bubbles over. So, burning anger or burning love.

14 Instead, put on the LordII JesusJJ Christ,KK and make no provisionLL for the flesh,MM to gratify its desires.NN

Notes on verse 14

II “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
JJ “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
KK “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
LL “provision” = pronoia. 2x in NT. From pronoeo (to foresee, provide for, practice, respect; act with forethought); {from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}}. This is foresight, providence, forethought.
MM “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
NN “gratify its desires” = epithumia. Related to “covet” in v9. From epithumeo (see note I above). This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).

Image credit: “My Favorite Part” by skym4k3r

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