Romans 8:12-17

Romans 8:12-25
Trinity Sunday B27


12 So then, brothersA and sisters, we are debtors,B not to the flesh,C to live according to the flesh— 

Notes on verse 12

A “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
B “debtors” = opheiletes. 7x in NT. From opheilo (to be indebted morally or legally – having an obligation one must meet; perhaps from the legal world, but then adopted in reference to morality; used to refer to humanity’s ethical responsibility); probably from ophelos (advantage, gain, profit); from ophello (heaped together, accumulate, increase). This is one who owes so it is a debtor or someone under obligation. Figuratively, it is a culprit, delinquent, or a sinner.
C “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).

13 for if you live according to the flesh, you willD die;E but if by the SpiritF you put to death the deedsG of the body,H you will live. 

Notes on verse 13

D “will” = melo. Perhaps from melo to think about something, take an interest, to pay attention; to care or worry about something). This is to be about to act, ready, intend, linger, delay. It is something that is sure to happen.
E “die” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
F “Spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
G “deeds” = praxis. 6x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, deed, business, practice, or function. It implies ongoing activity or responsibility.
H “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of GodI are childrenJ of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slaveryK to fall back into fear,L but you have received a spirit of adoption.M When we cry,N “Abba!O Father!” 

Notes on verses 14-15

I “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
J “children” = huios. Literally “sons.”
K “slavery” = douleia. 5x in NT. From douleo (to be a slave, be in bondage, to serve, obey, be devoted; it is to be a slave in a literal or figurative sense); from doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else; could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved)); from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is slavery, bondage, or enslavement in a literal or figurative sense.
L “fear” = phobos. From phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect.
M “adoption” = huiothesia. Related to “children” in v14. 5x in NT. From huios (son, descendant; a son whether natural born or adopted; also used figuratively for other forms of kinship) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is making a son, adoption.
N “cry” = krazo. This is to cry out, scream, shriek. It is onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call. Figuratively, this means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt.
O “abba” = abba. 3x in NT. From Aramaic ab (father); corresponding to Hebrew ab (father in a literal or figurative sense – grandfather, chief, ancestor). This is abba, which means father – not a diminutive daddy.

16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness withP our spirit that we are childrenQ of God, 17 and if children, then heirs,R heirsS of God

Notes on verses 16-17a

P “bearing witness with” = summartureo. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + martureo (to bear witness, testify, give evidence; to testify in a literal or figurative sense); {from martus (a witness whether having heard or seen something; witness literally, judicially, or figuratively; by analogy, a martyr)}.
Q “children” = teknon. From tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is a child, descendant, or inhabitant.
R “heirs” = kleronomos. 15x in NT. From kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
S {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.

and joint heirsT with ChristU—if, in fact, we suffer withV him so that we may also be glorified withW him.

Notes on verse 17b

T “joint heirs” = sugkleronomos. Related to “heirs” in v17. 4x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + kleronomos (see note R above). This is a joint heir, participant, or co-inheritor.
U “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.
V “suffer with” = sumpascho. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is to suffer with or sympathize – it is shared pain or can be used specifically to refer to persecution.
W “be glorified with” = sundoxazo. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + doxazo (to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate; ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence); {from doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion)}. This is glorified together, shared approval, exalting in joint dignity.

Image credit: “Sermon on the Mount” by Laura James, 2010.

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