Romans 12:13



The Greek word philoxenia is a combination of two words -- philos meaning "affection" and xenos meaning "stranger." Thus, it signifies an affection toward strangers. It is usually translated "hospitality." It appears five times in the pages of the New Testament writings --- Romans 12:13; I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; I Peter 4:9.

The Greek word dioko appears 44 times in the NT and is usually translated "persecute." It may on occasion, as here, appear in a more positive light and refer to pursuing after something zealously. See: Romans 14:19; I Cor. 14:1; Philp. 3:12, 14; I Thess. 5:15; I Tim. 6:11; II Tim. 2:22; Heb. 12:14; I Pet. 3:11.


"Over and over again the New Testament insists on this duty of the open door. Tyndale used a magnificent word. He translated it that the Christian should have a harborous disposition. Christianity is the religion of the open hand, the open heart, and the open door" (Barclay, p. 180).

"Hospitality is especially enjoined by the Saviour, and its exercise commanded (Matt. 10:40, 42; 25:35). The want of hospitality is one of the charges which the Judge of mankind will allege against the wicked, and on which He will condemn them (Matt. 25:43). 'The primitive Christians,' says Calmut, 'were in fact so ready in discharging this duty, that the very heathen admired them for it'" (Barnes, p. 284-85).

"The poverty of the early church, and the lack of inns, made this form of brotherly love uncommonly necessary." The word dioko stresses that "the needy must be sought out and followed after; not merely received when they present themselves" (Shedd, p. 369).

"Without it the spread of the gospel during the days of the early church would have been greatly impeded. With it, the 'church in the house' became a reality (Rom. 16:23; cf. 16:5)" (Expos. Comm., p. 133).

"Brethren who traveled --- think of Paul and his party --- others who were persecuted and fled as exiles, some of these being destitute of means, messengers being sent from place to place, were everywhere shown hospitality by fellow Christians. This was a necessity in the world of that day, but it was met with the spirit which considered all Christians as one family, all of them strangers and pilgrims in this world, all of them clinging together as such pilgrims would. Pagans even said that, although they had never seen each other, they treated each other as blood brothers" (Lenski, p. 772).

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