Romans 12:10
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
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(10) 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.

12:9-16 The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other; unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his wordly business, and in gaining superior skill. God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. He is honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God's sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not be cold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it. Not only must there be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians must not harbour anger against enemies. It is but mock love, which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Be reconciled to the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be. Nothing is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves; therefore that must be mortified.Be kindly affectioned - The word used here occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly denotes tender affection, such as what subsists between parents and children; and it means that Christians should have similar feelings toward each other, as belonging to the same family, and as united in the same principles and interests. The Syriac renders this, "Love your brethren, and love one another;" compare 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.

10. Be, &c.—better, "In brotherly love be affectionate one to another; in [giving, or showing] honor, outdoing each other." The word rendered "prefer" means rather "to go before," "take the lead," that is, "show an example." How opposite is this to the reigning morality of the heathen world! and though Christianity has so changed the spirit of society, that a certain beautiful disinterestedness and self-sacrifice shines in the character of not a few who are but partially, if at all under the transforming power of the Gospel, it is only those whom "the love of Christ constrains to live not unto themselves," who are capable of thoroughly acting in the spirit of this precept. 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.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love,.... This is one branch of that love, before advised to, which should be unfeigned, and without guile and deceit. The objects of this grace are "brethren", not in such sense as all the descendants of Adam are, or men of the same country be, or as such who are born of the same parents in a natural sense are; to each of whom love is due under their respective characters and relations: but such who are so in a spiritual sense, who are born of God, are of his household, belong to his family, are the brethren of Christ, and one another; and are either members of the same church, incorporated together in the same church state, or at least members of Christ, and of the church universal. Now love to these should be kind, tender, and affectionate, reciprocal and mutual; such should love one another; there should be no love wanting on either side; and it ought to be universal, and reach to all the saints, though of different gifts, light, knowledge and experience, or whether high or low, rich or poor; and should show itself by bearing one another's burdens, bearing with, and forbearing each other, forgiving one another, and by edifying one another in their most holy faith, and praying with, and for one another.

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;
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. Romans 12:10Be kindly affectioned (φιλόστοργοι)

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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