Lectionary Year A
September 1, 2002
Romans 12:9-21

Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation


A. Comparing Translations

(JFC) The New Revised Standard Version and the Revised Standard Version differ some, as these notes indicate:

10 with mutual affection; - NRSV
with brotherly affection; - RSV

11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, - NRSV
Never flag is zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, - RSV

12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. - NRSV
Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. - RSV

13b extend hospitality to strangers. - NRSV
practice hospitality. - RSV

16c do not claim to be wiser than you are. - NRSV
never be conceited. - RSV

19b but leave room for the wrath of God; - NRSV
but leave it to the wrath of God; - RSV

20 "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, . . . etc. - NRSV
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, . . . etc. - RSV

B. Textual Criticism

(JFC) 9 A couple of major witnesses read misountej, for avpostugou/ntej, both present, active participles (imperatives), but the alternative reading is of lesser emphasis using another word meaning very much the same as the received version, although much less forcefully. The printed word means, "hate, to shrink from with abhorrence, detest," while the latter means more like, "hate, regard with ill-will, to regard with less affection, love less, esteem less," as in Romans 7:15 and Ephesians 5:29. So, the received we retain.

11 For kuri,w|, meaning, "Lord", some reliable Western witnesses read kairw, which means "time, the right time, proper and/or favorable, definite and/or fixed time, even time of crisis". Surely, the printed version is what Paul originally wrote/dictated. ICC says "kuri,w| may have been suggested by pneumati, just as below diwkein in one sense suggests the same word in another sense."

13 Instead of crei,aij, "needs, lacks, necessities" some Western witnesses have mneiaij, "remembrance, memory, mention", which again downplays the relatively strong image we assume Paul is trying to convey here originally. In his time the saints were still living in the church in his mind, not yet deceased and merely remembered to have been holy. So, we might well reject the variant.

14 To decide to print u`ma/j, in those brackets, Metzger (TCGNT) says, "It is difficult to decide whether u`ma/j was deleted in order to extend the range of the exhortation, or whether copyists, recollecting the parallel sayings in Mt 5.44 and Luke 6:28, added the pronoun. Since both readings are fairly evenly supported in the witnesses, a majority of the Committee preferred to print u`ma/j."

17c Between kala. and evnw,pion, like Proverbs 3:4 and II Corinthians 8:21, enwpion tou qeou kai, gets added by the editors of Nestle-Aland, while others add ou monon enwpion tou qeou alla kai, and Metzger (TCGNT) points out that a few witnesses omit pa,ntwn, which he calls "needed to give balance to the earlier mhdeni.."

20 For avlla. eva.n, several Western witnesses and others have ean oun, while others have only ean, and still many more retain the text as received, which seems unnecessary to change to get to the original, if only because the alternatives make so little difference.

C. Rough Translation

(JFC) 9 The love (is to be) genuine/sincere (adjective). Hate [present, active, participle (imperative)] the evil/wicked/bad, hold on to/unite oneself with the good/useful/fitting for its/one's purpose, 10 (with) the brotherly love unto one another (be) loving/devoted [adjective], (with) the honor/respect (for/to/with) one another [accusative] out do/show respect/lead the way, 11 (with) the diligence/eagerness/zeal never (be) lazy/troublesome, in the Spirit have a heart full of devotion/be on fire with enthusiasm [imperative], the Lord serve [imperative], 12 in the hope rejoice/be glad [imperative], in the trouble/distress/suffering hold fast/endure/stand firm [imperative], in the prayer keep close company with/devote oneself to/stay with [imperative], 13 to the needs of the saints/consecrated contribute/give a share [imperative], the hospitality practice/seek after. 14 Bless [imperative] those persecuting [present, active, participle] you, bless [imperative] and do not curse [imperative]. 15 Rejoice [present, active, infinitive] with the rejoicing [present, active, participle], weep [infinitive] with those weeping [present, active, participle]. 16 Together with one another live in harmony of mind/agree, not the proud/exalted/arrogant have in mind/agree with/think highly of [imperative} but the poor/lowly/humble associate with [imperative]. Not become [imperative] wise/sensible for yourselves. 17 No one evil/bad/wrong for evil/bad/wrong return/render [imperative], have in mind to do/try to do/take care for/care to do [imperative] good/right/proper/fitting before all men; 18 if possible with you [plural], with all men live/be at peace [imperative]; 19 not of yourselves [accusative] get justice/take revenge/avenge [imperative], beloved, but give [aorist, active, imperative] place to the wrath/anger, for it has been written [perfect, passive, indicative], "I (am) rendering of justice (noun, nominative, feminine, singular], I will repay" [future, active, indicative], says (the) Lord. 20 But if would be hungry [subjunctive] the enemy of yours, feed [imperative] him; if he should be thirsty, give water [imperative] to him, for this does/make coals of fire will heap on the head of his. 21 Not be overcome [present, passive, imperative] by the evil/bad/wrong but overcome [imperative] in/with the good [dative] the evil/bad/wrong [accusative].



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