Romans 12:13



The Greek word chreia appears 49 times in the NT documents. It means "needs, necessities, requirements." The Greek word koinoneo appears only 8 times. It means "sharing, communion, fellowship, partnership." These two words are used together in this phrase to signify: "To make another's necessities one's own as to relieve them" (Thayer, p. 352). "Means to be equally responsible for them. Participation in something can reach such a degree that one claims a part in it for oneself" (Arndt, p. 438). Some Greek scholars take exception to the translation "distribute" (KJV, NKJV, Lamsa) --- "The verb does not mean 'distribute'" (Vine's Expos. Dict.). This seems to lend itself more to the idea of a "hand out" or a "dole," rather than to a personal sharing in the needs of others. The NAB probably comes the closest to capturing the actual meaning of this passage --- "Look on the needs of the saints as your own."


Acts 2:45; 4:35 Romans 15:27 Galatians 6:6 Ephesians 4:28 Philippians 4:14-16 I Timothy 6:18 I John 3:17


How do you reconcile this principle with Gal. 6:10? --- "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." In the meeting of needs, are we restricted to the saints alone, as some contend?


"Devotion to God is the basis of all practical helpfulness to man, and that practical helpfulness to man is the expression and manifestation of devotion to God" (Maclaren, p. 282).

"In a world which is bent on getting, the Christian is bent on giving, because he knows that 'what we keep we lose, and what we give we have'" (Barclay, p. 180).

"We ought to relieve the wants of the brethren, as though we were relieving our own selves .... Though our love ought to extend itself to the whole race of man, yet it ought with peculiar feeling to embrace the household of faith, who are by a closer bond united to us" (Calvin, p. 468).

"The first priority in such sharing of God's gracious gifts must go to Christians, rather than to the world generally; and even the Christian's claim upon the generosity of his fellows is resident in his necessities, and not merely in his desires and wants" (Coffman, p. 435).

"In the earliest times of the church, Christians had all things in common (Acts 2:44), and felt themselves bound to meet all the wants of their brethren. This duty of rendering aid to Christians especially, does not interfere with the general love of mankind; the law of the NT is Gal. 6:10. But he is to show particular interest in the welfare of his brethren. One of the most precious privileges conferred on men is to be permitted to assist those who are the friends of God (Ps. 41:1-3; Prov. 14:21)" (Barnes, p. 283-84).

"He is to make their needs his needs to the full extent of his ability to relieve them" (Lipscomb, p. 227).

"Christians, by sympathy and zealous endeavor to relieve, are to make the needy condition of their brethren common (koinos) to themselves" (Shedd, p. 369).

"When the children of God fall into want, take a part of their wants upon yourselves. Make their wants your wants to the full extent of your ability to relieve them" (Lard, p. 391).

"One should not allow himself to be so preoccupied with his own troubles that he becomes insensitive to the needs of other believers. To share with others is never more meaningful than when one is hard pressed to find a sufficient supply for himself" -- see II Cor. 8:2-5 (Expos. Comm., p. 133).

"The exhortation is to make one's self a sharer or partner in the needs of our fellow-saints in the sense that we act as if those needs were our own" (Wuest, p. 214).

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