Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Romans 16 -- it pays to stay connected

Paul mentions 37 or so names in this chapter. Seven are people on his side of the conversation, including the scribe, Tertius, who puts in his $0.02 worth, not knowing that folks would be reading that insertion thousands of years later. One, Phoebe, is the lady deacon who will carry the letter to Rome. Then, there are 28 people who he already knows who live in Rome, a city he's never visited.

It pays to network. Paul had friends in place wherever he wanted to go, and people to stay with. For example, the gentleman who is providing accommodations for him at the moment:
Rom 16:23 Bana ve bütün inanlılar topluluğuna konukseverlik eden Gayus size selam eder. Kent haznedarı Erastus'un ve Kuartus kardeşin size selamları var.
The key word here, konukseverlik, is obviously a compound word, since it jams together front and back vowels in one congenial alliance, to make a point. Konuk = guest, visitor, sojourner. Sever = fondness, affection. Konuksever, accoring to the excellent, and sometimes quaint, dictionary at means hospitable, open-doored. A man described as konukseverlik is obviously one whose life is characterized by hospitality. A genial character who loves people, has an open heart, and an open home.

There are people in Rome who have also, in other days and places, enjoyed having Paul as a guest:
Rom 16:13 Rab'bin seçkin kulu olan Rufus'a ve bana da annelik etmiş olan annesine selam edin.
Alexander and Rufus were the sons of Simon of Cyrene, the dark-complexioned farmer who was conscripted to carry the cross of Jesus, when the Romans worried that the condemned might expire ahead of schedule. I like the way Turkish expresses the relationship to the unnamed mother of Rufus: bana da annelik etmiş olan annesine selam edin. To me / also / like a mother / it is said that she was[1] / being / to his mother / peace / be upon.

One last point. Paul enjoyed hospitality, and believed that the faithful of all flavors should be kind to one another. His list of friends includes those with Jewish names, Roman names, Greek names, and barbarian (indigenous people) names. His advice to those he wishes all good things to includes this practical step:
Rom 16:17 Kardeşler, size yalvarırım, aldığınız öğretiye karşı gelerek ayrılıklara ve sapmalara neden olanlara dikkat edin, onlardan sakının.
Notice -- and avoid -- the troublemakers. Every gathering has them. Healthy groups help them find the door.


[1] Turkish has a "narrative / dubatative" tense used for telling stories, or reporting things one has not witnessed first-hand. When you translate a verb containing the tense marker miş or its kin, use some qualifying words like "they say" or "it is said that" or "I heard that..."

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