Romans 16:25-27

Romans 16:25-27
Advent B4


25 Now to God who is ableA to strengthenB you according to my gospelC and the proclamationD of JesusE Christ,F

Notes on verse 25a

A “is able” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
B “strengthen” = sterizo. 13x in NT. From sterigx (a support, plant down); perhaps from histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm). This is to make fast, support, strengthen, establish, fix firmly, to go resolutely.
C “gospel” = euaggelion. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
D “proclamation” = kerugma. 9x in NT. From kerusso (proclaim, preach, publish; properly, to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade). This is proclamation – both the preaching and that which is preached. Sometimes times used to refer to the Gospel itself.
E “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.
F “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.

according to the revelationG of the mysteryH that was kept secretI for longJ agesK 

Notes on verse 25b

G “revelation” = apokalupsis. 18x in NT. From apokalupto (properly to uncover; revealing something that was hidden or obstructed; particularly refers to revealing the essence of something; to make plain or manifest); {from apo (from, away from) + kalupto (to cover, hide, conceal; figuratively, to keep hidden or secret) {related to kalube (hut, cabin)}. This is uncovering, unveiling, appearing, manifestation, or revelation. This is where the word “apocalypse” comes from.
H “mystery” = musterion. From mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is a mystery or a secret doctrine that requires initiation to learn. In the New Testament, the plans of God were hidden until they were revealed in Christ through the Gospel. It is also used of Christian revelation in a broad sense rather than referring to something that cannot be known. This is the root of the word “mystery.”
I “kept secret” = sigao. 10x in NT. From sige (silence, hush); perhaps from sizo (to hiss or hush). This is to be silent or hold peace.
J “long” = aionios. From aion (an age, length of time). This is age-long, forever, everlasting. Properly, that which lasts for an age. This is where eon comes from.
K “ages” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.

26 but is now disclosed,L and through the propheticM writingsN is made knownO to all the Gentiles,P

Notes on verse 26a

L “disclosed” = phaneroo. From phaneros (visible, apparent, clear, shining); from phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from 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 to make visible or clear, to make known. Properly, it is to illumine and so to make apparent or bring into open view.
M “prophetic” = prophetikos. Related to “disclosed” in v26. 2x in NT. From prophetes (prophet or poet; one who speaks with inspiration from God); {from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (see note L above) or phaino (see note L above)}}. This is prophetic i.e. spoken by a prophet, a prophecy.
N “writings” = graphe. From grapho (to write). This is literally writing, a document. In the New Testament, this is always used for scripture.
O “made known” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
P “Gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

according to the commandQ of the eternalR God,S to bring about the obedienceT of faithU— 

Notes on verse 26b

Q “command” = epitage. 7x in NT. From epitasso (to arrange, command, charge); {from epi (on, upon, to, against, what is fitting) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine)}. This is a command, instruction, authority, decree.
R “eternal” = aionios. Same as “long” in v25. See note J above.
S “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
T “obedience” = hupakoe. 15x in NT. From hupoakouo (to listen, to attend to, or obey; acting subordinate to one who speaks – heeding a command or authority); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing)}. This is obedience, submissiveness – listening attentively and acting in response.
U “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

27 to the only wiseV God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the gloryW forever!X Amen.Y

Notes on verse 27

V “wise” = sophos. Related to saphes (clear). This is wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated. This is wisdom as expressed through a practical skill or ability as opposed to thoughtfulness, or intelligence.
W “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
X “forever” = eis + ho + aion + ho + aion. Literally “to the ages of the ages.” Aion is related to “long” in v25. See note J above.
Y “amen” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.

Image credit: “The Mystery of Life’s Secret” by Scott Richard, 2017.

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