LOGIKOS in Rom. 12:1 and 1.Pet. 2:2

Troels Hansen tkmh at get2net.dk
Fri May 10 16:58:59 EDT 2002

Aarhus, Denmark, May 10. 2002

Dear Sirs!

I have a problem with the 'reasonable services' mentioned in the KJV
rendering of Rom. 12:1. The Greek word 'LOGIKOS' is here given as
'reasonable', whereas in the only other occurrence of the word in the
NT, 1.Pet 2:2, 'LOGIKOS' is rendered by the KJV as 'of the word'.
'Reasonable' or 'sensible' seem to be the preferred English renderings
of the word 'LOGIKOS', as 'vernünftig' or 'wahr und angemessen' are
the preferred German. 'Wahr und angemessen' is the option of the
German 'Einheitsübersetzung' of 1980 and I want to show that this
rendering - although not exactly pinpointing the meaning of
'LOGIKOS' - is to be preferred to the rest.

The reason why the same Greek adjective could be rendered partly as
two very different English adjectives, partly as the genitive of a
substantive - the problem is the same in Danish - is an enigma to me
and I want to present to you what I believe to be a solution. I would
of course appreciate it if you would let me know of any fallacies you
might find in the following argument.

Starting with 1.Pet 2:2, we have four ingredients: The elected ones,
to whom Peter or whoever the author was, is writing, the newborn
babies, the 'sincere' milk and the 'LOGIKOS' 'sincere' milk. Also, we
have an incomplete exhortation, that the elected ones should desire
this 'sincere milk of the word' like newborn babies. Now, what do
newborn babies desire? Milk, of course. This way the exhortation
becomes almost a parable: As newborn babies desire milk, so should the
elected ones desire their 'LOGIKOS' milk, which is the living stone,
i.e. Christ.

Turning now to Rom. 12:1, the issue is a little more complicated. We
have the Romans and we have a 'LOGIKOS' service, but to whom and to
what are they compared? The only other place in the Rom. where Paul
mentions the word 'LATREIA' is Rom. 9:4, and that gives us the missing
pieces: As the Israelites had their service - and at the time of the
Rom. the Temple with the sacrifices there was still in action - so the
Romans as their 'LOGIKOS' service should present their bodies to God.
How that might be done is clear from Rom. 8:13.

In this way, 'LOGIKOS' becomes an adjective - or maybe even an
adverb - of a special kind. If a car is red, it is simply red but if
the car is red as a sunrise is red, one might in this way say that the
car is 'LOGIKOS´ red as a sunrise. In the language of formal logic,
'LOGIKOS' becomes not simply a one place predicate as in red(car) but
a three-place predicate, a predicate with three arguments as in
'LOGIKOS'(car, sunrise, red) or 'LOGIKOS'(the elected, newborn babies,
milk) or 'LOGIKOS'(Romans, Israelites, service).

This way of thinking about 'LOGIKOS' may shed some light upon Rom.
First, Rom. 12:1-2 becomes the pinnacle of the whole letter, making
ch. 9-11 not a mere insertion but an indispensable part of the letter.
Secondly, one might look for other occurrences in the LXX where the
words 'LATREIA' and 'QUSIA' occurs within a range of say three verses.
(Such a search is easily done in BibleWorks.) There are only a few
hits. Among them are, however, Exo. 12:25-27 - hardly an irrelevant
reference by any standard - and Jos. 22:27. I'm not saying that Paul
must have had this reference in mind - although he could very well
have had it - when he wrote his letter, just that we ought to. After
all, it does suggest that he saw those Romans that were of heathen
origin as 'the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half
tribe of Manasseh' and that those Romans like these Israelites did
have part in the Lord.

Have I written something useful?

Troels Hansen
tkmh at get2net.dk

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