Romans, Part 73

I’ll continue to consider the dark side of Contribute (κοινωνοῦντες, a form of κοινωνέω) to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality;[1] namely (2 John 1:9-11 NET):

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God.  The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not give him any greeting, because the person who gives him a greeting shares (κοινωνεῖ, another form of κοινωνέω) in his evil deeds.

I turn here to Love the Lord your Godwith all your mind (διανοίας, a form of διάνοια).[2]  Jesus didn’t say anything negative about the Pharisees’ or the law experts’ διανοίας.  He opened his disciples’ νοῦν, implying that they were closed formerly: Then he opened their minds (νοῦν, a form of νοῦς) so they could understand (συνιέναι, a form of συνίημι) the scriptures[3]  If I had known this when I began this study would I have called it something other than the religious mind?  Probably not.  I’m a Gentile with a philosophical bent to my mind.  Paul had something to say about that even if Jesus did not.

Though Pharisees and law experts might not have considered a Gentile mind religious, I’m using the term to mean all human efforts to satisfy (or, replace) a god or God (yehôvâh).  Even atheists can have religious minds as I use the term.  In fact my religious mind eventually undermined my atheism.  When I wanted to consider myself good again I invented “more realistic” rules than yehôvâh’s to obey.  I failed to obey them.  So I made “even more realistic” rules.  Eventually my standards were so low even I realized they were unworkable.  And I still wasn’t keeping them!

So I say this, and insist in the Lord, Paul wrote the church at Ephesus, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking (νοὸς, another form of νοῦς).  They are darkened in their understanding (διανοίᾳ, another form of διάνοια), being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance (ἄγνοιαν, a form of ἄγνοια) that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.[4]  So, loving yehôvâh with all your mind is equivalent to loving Him with all of one’s understanding.

The solution, by the way, to futile thinking was: You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old (παλαιὸν, a form of παλαιός) man (ἄνθρωπον, a form of ἄνθρωπος) who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind (νοὸς, another form of νοῦς), and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.[5]  The old man we are to lay aside is our old (παλαιὸς) man (ἄνθρωπος) [that] was crucified with [Christ] so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.[6]  Again, sharing in his death and resurrection through faith in Jesus proves to be an important aspect of the Gospel (Romans 6:3, 4 NET).

Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.

And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds (διανοίᾳ, another form of διάνοια) as expressed through your evil deeds,[7] Paul wrote Gentiles in Colossae.  The Greek words translated evil deeds here are τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς (a form of πονηρός).  In reference to Gentiles I have no doubt that Paul had sins in view, but even as an atheist my works were “full of labours, annoyances, and hardships.”  And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, Paul wrote Gentiles in Ephesus, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience (ἀπειθείας, a form of ἀπείθεια), among whom all of us [even a former Pharisee] also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind (διανοιῶν, another form of διάνοια), and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest[8]

But God, Paul continued as he introduced the solution to this problem.  But first I want to consider yehôvâh’s promise of a new covenant.  For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds (διάνοιαν, another form of διάνοια) and I will inscribe them on their hearts (καρδίας, a form of καρδία).  And I will be their God and they will be my people.[9]  And again, This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts (καρδίας, a form of καρδία) and I will inscribe them on their minds (διάνοιαν, another form of διάνοια)[10]

This is a quotation from Jeremiah 31:33.  The Greek texts are compared below.

NET

Parallel Greek NETS

Septuagint

For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:10

ὅτι αὕτη ἡ διαθήκη, ἣν διαθήσομαι τῷ οἴκῳ Ἰσραὴλ μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας, λέγει κύριος· διδοὺς νόμους μου εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιγράψω αὐτούς, καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς εἰς θεόν, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔσονται μοι εἰς λαόν

Hebrews 8:10

…because this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, quoth the Lord.  Giving I will give my laws in their mind, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will become a god to them, and they shall become a people to me.

Ieremias 38:33 (31:33)

ὅτι αὕτη ἡ διαθήκη ἣν διαθήσομαι τῷ οἴκῳ Ισραηλ μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας φησὶν κύριος διδοὺς δώσω νόμους μου εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν γράψω αὐτούς καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς εἰς θεόν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔσονταί μοι εἰς λαόν

Jeremiah 31:33

And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, Know (γνῶθι, a form of γινώσκω) the Lord, since they will all know (εἰδήσουσιν, a form of εἴδω; e.g., to know by seeing) me, from the least to the greatest,[11] the first passage continued.  The Greek texts are compared below:

NET

Parallel Greek NETS

Septuagint

And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, Know the Lord, since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.

Hebrews 8:11

καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν ἕκαστος τὸν πολίτην αὐτοῦ καὶ ἕκαστος τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων· γνῶθι τὸν κύριον, ὅτι πάντες εἰδήσουσιν με ἀπὸ μικροῦ ἕως μεγάλου αὐτῶν

Hebrews 8:11

And they shall not teach, each his fellow citizen and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they shall all know me, from their small even to their great…

Ieremias 38:34a (31:34a)

καὶ οὐ μὴ διδάξωσιν ἕκαστος τὸν πολίτην αὐτοῦ καὶ ἕκαστος τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων γνῶθι τὸν κύριον ὅτι πάντες εἰδήσουσίν με ἀπὸ μικροῦ αὐτῶν καὶ ἕως μεγάλου αὐτῶν

Jeremiah 31:34a

And this knowing is eternal life according to Jesus: Now this is eternal life – that they know (γινώσκωσιν, another form of γινώσκω) you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.[12]  And we know (οἴδαμεν, another form of εἴδω) that the Son of God has come and has given us insight (διάνοιαν, another form of διάνοια) to know him who is true, John wrote, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  This one is the true God and eternal life.[13]  The gift the Son of God has given here is διάνοιαν, the mind, understanding or insight with which we love yehôvâh.  Diminishing the scope of this gift to a place in heaven while turning back to the futility of [our former] thinking to work our own works of righteousness in our own strength demeans both Jesus and eternal life.

But God, being rich in mercy, Paul continued writing Gentiles in Ephesus, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! –and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.  For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.[14]

Love the Lord your Godwith all your strength (ἰσχύος, a form of ἰσχύς).[15]  I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul wrote Gentiles at Ephesus, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge (ἐπιγνώσει, a form of ἐπίγνωσις) of him, – since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened – so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense (ἰσχύος, a form of ἰσχύς) strength.[16]  Finally, he added, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength (ἰσχύος, a form of ἰσχύς) of his power.[17]

To attempt to function on our own away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength (ἰσχύος, a form of ἰσχύς) was Paul’s description of eternal destruction: They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength[18]  Whoever speaks, Peter wrote, let it be with God’s words.  Whoever serves, do so with the strength (ἰσχύος, a form of ἰσχύς) that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.  Amen.[19]  If we believe Him his ἰσχύος is our ἰσχύος, the ἰσχύος with which we love yehôvâh.

This[20] is the teaching of Christ as presented in the New Testament as opposed to the teaching of the religious mind.  Is it the teaching your teachers bring to you?  If not the person who gives him a greeting shares in his evil deeds, according to John.  I would be very wary of supporting that teacher financially.  This gives us a context for Paul’s admonition (Galatians 6:6-10 NET)

Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share (Κοινωνείτω, another form of κοινωνέω) all good things (ἀγαθοῖς, a form of ἀγαθός) with the one who teaches it.  Do not be deceived.  God will not be made a fool.  For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good (ἀγαθὸν, another form of ἀγαθός) to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.

The teaching of Christ sows to the Spirit.  The teaching of the religious mind sows to [our] own flesh.  Money is not the only, or even the primary, good thing to share with the teacher of the word, the one who remains in the teaching of Christ“No servant can serve two masters,” Jesus said, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”  The Pharisees [e.g., the New Testament epitome of those with religious minds] (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed him.[21]

And need is the key to help make a determination what to contribute or share in.  The primary needs of all believers are: 1) the need to be baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit; 2) to believe that his Father knows our needs before we ask Him, and that He is willing to supply our needs; and 3) to accept that our most pressing need is to sit at Jesus’ feet, to listen and to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need (χρείαν, a form of χρεία), John wrote, and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?[22]  Make every effort to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, Paul wrote Titus, make sure they have what they need (ἵνα μηδὲν αὐτοῖς λείπῃ; so that nothing or no one of theirs is left behind).  Here is another way that our people can learn to engage in good works to meet pressing needs (χρείας, another form of χρεία) and so not be unfruitful.[23]

My purpose was not to minimize these more obvious aspects of contributing to the needs of the saints, but to highlight how much broader this contributing, or sharing in, actually is in the New Testament.  I’ll conclude this with Peter’s contribution to the needs of the saints as something which we all share with one another (1 Peter 4:12-14 NET):

Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice (χαίρετε, a form of χαίρω) in the degree that you have shared (κοινωνεῖτε, another form of κοινωνέω) in the sufferings (παθήμασιν, a form of πάθημα) of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice (ἀγαλλιώμενοι, a form of ἀγαλλιάω) and be glad (χαρῆτε, another form of χαίρω).  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you.

Do not neglect hospitality (φιλοξενίας , a form of φιλονεξία), because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.[24]  This is the only other occurrence of a form of φιλονεξία in the New Testament.  But I hope I have been persuasive that when Paul wrote pursue hospitality (φιλοξενίαν, another form of φιλονεξία) he did not intend to pen a “law of Paul,” a rule to be obeyed, something to pursue (διώκοντες, a form of διώκω) in one’s own strength.  His intent was that this “love to strangers” would flow naturally (e.g., supernaturally) from the Spirit of God through the believer and out into the world, one of the good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.[25]

[1] Romans 12:13 (NET)

[2] Mark 12:30a (NET)

[3] Luke 24:45 (NET)

[4] Ephesians 4:17, 18 (NET)

[5] Ephesians 4:22-24 (NET)

[6] Romans 6:6 (NET)

[7] Colossians 1:21 (NET)

[8] Ephesians 2:1-3 (NET)

[9] Hebrews 8:10 (NET)

[10] Hebrews 10:16 (NET)

[11] Hebrews 8:11 (NET)

[12] John 17:3 (NET)

[13] 1 John 5:20 (NET)

[14] Ephesians 2:4-10 (NET)

[15] Mark 12:30a (NET)

[16] Ephesians 1:17-19 (NET)

[17] Ephesians 6:10 (NET)

[18] 2 Thessalonians 1:9 (NET)

[19] 1 Peter 4:11 (NET)

[20] I am considering Romans, Part 71 and Romans, Part 72 here as well, not as an exhaustive study but as a fairly thorough study of the teaching of Christ on the issue of contributing.

[21] Luke 16:13, 14 (NET)

[22] 1 John 3:17 (NET)

[23] Titus 3:13, 14 (NET)

[24] Hebrews 13:2 (NET)

[25] Ephesians 2:10b (NET)