Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)With brotherly love.—Better translated as in the margin, In love of the brethren (fellow Christians) be kindly affectioned. The word for “kindly affectioned” is specially used of the family relation, and is, therefore, appropriately applied to the brotherhood of the Christian family.
Preferring one another.—Rather, perhaps, anticipating one another. The Christian is to take the initiative, and show honour or respect to others without waiting for them to show it to him.1 Peter 2:17.
With brotherly love - Or in love to the brethren. The word denotes the affection which subsists between brethren. The duty is one which is often presented in the New Testament, and which our Saviour intended should be regarded as a badge of discipleship; see the note at John 13:34-35, "By this shall all people know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another;" John 15:12, John 15:17; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 2:7-8; 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:20-21. The apostle Paul in this place manifests his unique manner of writing. He does not simply enjoin brotherly love, but he adds that it should be kindly affectioned. It should be with the tenderness which characterizes the most endearing natural relationship. This he expresses by a word which is made for the occasion (φιλοστοργοὶ philostorgoi), blending love with natural affection, and suffering it to be manifest in your contact with one another.
In honour - In showing or manifesting respect or honor. Not in seeking honor, or striving after respect, but in showing it to one another.
Preferring one another - The word "preferring" means going before, leading, setting an example. Thus, in showing mutual respect and honor, they were to strive to excel; not to see which could obtain most honor, but which could confer most, or manifest most respect; compare 1 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 5:21. Thus, they were to be studious to show to each other all the respect which was due in the various relations of life; children to show proper respect to parents, parents to children, servants to their masters, etc.; and all to strive by mutual kindness to promote the happiness of the Christian community. How different this from the spirit of the world; the spirit which seeks, not to confer honor, but to obtain it; which aims, not to diffuse respect, but to attract all others to give honor to us. If this single direction were to be obeyed in society, it would put an end at once to no small part of the envy, and ambition, and heartburning, and dissatisfaction of the world. It would produce contentment, harmony, love, and order in the community; and stay the progress of crime, and annihilate the evils of strife, and discord, and malice. And especially, it would give order and beauty to the church. It would humble the ambition of those who, like Diotrephes, love to have the pre-eminence 3 John 1:9, and make every man willing to occupy the place for which God has designed him, and rejoice that his brethren may be exalted to higher posts of responsibility and honor.Be kindly affectioned one to another; Christians ought to have such affection one to another, as parents have to their children, and as all creatures have to their young: so much the word here used imports.
In honour preferring one another: this clause is expounded by Philippians 2:3. It is exemplified in Abraham, Genesis 13:9. Most desire preference and honour before others, which is contrary to the good counsel in this text. Some read it, prevent one another; do not tarry till others honour you, but do you go before them in this expression of brotherly love, and be examples to them.
In honour preferring one another; saints should think honourably of one another, and entertain an honourable esteem of each other; yea, should esteem each other better thou themselves; and not indulge evil surmises, and groundless jealousies of one another, which is contrary to that love that thinks no evil. They should speak honourably of each other in Christian company, and discourage that evil practice of whisperings, backbitings, and innuendos; they should treat each other with honour and respect in their common conversation, and especially when met together as a church of Christ. They should go before each other in giving honour, and showing respect, as the word signifies: they should set each other an example; and which also may be taken into the sense of the word, should prevent one another, not waiting until respect is shown on one side to return it again. Nor does this rule at all break in upon that order that should subsist, and be maintained in bodies civil and ecclesiastical, which requires superior honour to be given to persons according to their character, office, and station in which they are.Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 12:10. Τῇ φιλαδελφ] In respect of (in point of) brotherly love (love towards fellow-Christians, 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:7). On its relation to ἀγάπη, comp. generally Galatians 6:10.
φιλόστοργοι] fondly affectionate; an expression purposely chosen, because Christians are brothers and sisters, as the word is also in classical Greek the usual one for family affection. Comp. also Cicero, ad Att. xv. 17.
τῇ τιμῇ] in the point of moral respect and high estimation.
προηγούμενοι] not: excelling (Chrysostom, Morus, Köllner), nor yet: anticipating (Vulgate, Theophylact, Luther, Castalio, Wolf, Flatt), but, in correspondence with the signification of the word: going before, as guides, namely, with the conduct that incites others to follow. Without the support of usage Erasmus, Grotius, Heumann, Koppe, and Hofmann take προηγεῖσθαι as equivalent to ἡγεῖσθαι ὑπερέχοντας (Php 2:3), se ipso potiores ducere alios, which would be denoted by ἡγεῖσθαι πρὸ ἑαυτῶν ἄλλ. (Php 2:3). In Greek it does not elsewhere occur with the accusative, but only with the dative (Xen. Cyr. ii. 1. 1; Arist. Plut. 1195; Polyb. xii. 5. 10) or genitive of the person (Xen. Hipp. 4. 5; Herodian, vi. 8. 6.; Polyb. xii. 13. 11); with the accusative only, as in Xen. Anab. vi. 5. 10, προηγ. ὁδόν.Romans 12:10. τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ = in point of brotherly love, i.e., your love to each other as children in the one family of God. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Hebrews 13:9, 1 Peter 1:22, 2 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 3:8. ἀδελφὸς in the apostolic writings does not mean fellow-man, but fellow-Christian; and φιλαδελφία is the mutual affection of the members of the Christian community. In this they are to be φιλόστοργοι, “tenderly affectioned”. The moral purity required in Romans 12:9 is not to be the only mark of Christian love; since they are members of one family, their love is to have the characters of strong natural affection (στοργή); it is to be warm, spontaneous, constant. τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι: “in honour preferring one another”. This, which is the rendering of both our English versions, is a good Pauline idea (Php 2:3), but gives προηγούμενοι a meaning not found elsewhere. Hence others render: “in showing honour—i.e., to those whose χαρίσματα entitle them to respect in the Church—giving each other a lead”: each, so to speak, being readier than the other to recognise and honour God’s gifts in a brother. In this sense, however, προηγούμενοι would rather take the genitive (see Liddell and Scott, who seem, nevertheless, to adopt this rendering); and probably the former, which involves only a natural extension of the meaning of the word, is to be preferred.10. Be kindly, &c.] Lit. In point of your brotherly love [be] affectionate to one another. The word rendered “kindly-affectioned” has special reference to family affection; and probably our Translators had this in view, and used “kindly” in its strict sense; “of the kind,” “of the stock, or family.”—For “brotherly-love” cp. 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 3:8; 2 Peter 1:7.—See Isaac Taylor’s Saturday Evening for an admirable Essay on “The Family Affection of Christianity.” We quote a line or two of the summary; “Christian affection has the permanence it derives from an indissoluble bond; the vigour given it by a participation in sufferings and reproaches; and the depth it receives from the prospect of an unbounded futurity.”
in honour] Lit. in point of the honour; the honour due from each to all.—Cp. Php 2:3; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 5:5.—Spiritual religion is, in its proper nature, the noblest school of courtesy; habituating the man to the refining power of the Divine presence, and constantly rebuking the self-regard which is the essence of discourtesy.Romans 12:10. Φιλόστοργοι, kindly affectioned) στοργὴ, the spiritual love of brethren.—προηγούμενοι, [Engl. V. preferring] anticipating, or leading the way in doing honour to one another) if not always in gesture and actions, at least always in the judgment of the mind. That will be so, if we rather consider the good qualities of others and our own faults. These are the social virtues of the saints [homileticæ. Or perhaps, “their virtues are a kind of living sermon to the world.”] The Talmudists say: whosoever knows, that his neighbour has been in the habit of saluting him, should anticipate him by saluting him first.Verse 10. - In brotherly love (φιλαδελφίᾳ) be kindly affectioned (φιλόστοργοι) one to another (φιλαδελφία, expressing the love of Christians for each other, is a special form or manifestation of general ἀάπη. In it there should be ever the warmth of family affection, στοργή); in honour preferring one another; literally, according to the proper sense of προηγούμενοι, taking the lead of each other in honour - i.e., in showing honour, rather than equivalent to ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν in Philippians 2:3.
Only here in the New Testament. From στέργω to love, which denotes peculiarly a natural affection, a sentiment innate and peculiar to men as men, as distinguished from the love of desire, called out by circumstance. Hence of the natural love of kindred, of people and king (the relation being regarded as founded in nature), of a tutelary God for a people. The word here represents Christians as bound by a family tie. It is intended to define more specifically the character of φιλαδελφία brotherly love, which follows, so that the exhortation is "love the brethren in the faith as though they were brethren in blood" (Farrar). Rev., be tenderly affectioned; but the A.V., in the word kindly gives the real sense, since kind is originally kinned; and kindly affectioned is having the affection of kindred.
In honor preferring one another (τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι).
The verb occurs only here. It means to go before as a guide. Honor is the honor due from each to all. Compare Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 5:5. Hence, leading the way in showing the honor that is due. Others render antcipating and excelling.
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