‘Your Reasoning Worship’: ΛΟΓΙΚΟΣ in Romans 12:1 and Paul’s Ethics of Rational Deliberation

By Ian W Scott
View profile for: Dr. Ian Scott

In Romans 12:1 the phrase λογικὴ λατρεία has usually been understood to mean a service that is either ‘reasonable’ or ‘spiritual’. Yet an extensive study of the uses of λογικός in Greek literature prior to Paul’s writing reveals that it never carries either of these senses. Mental actions are λογικός when they are performed by reasoning thought. Other kinds of actions are λογικός if they are guided by rational deliberation. This suggests that Paul’s λογικὴ λατρεία is a service performed by the reasoning mind. Not only does such an interpretation fit well with the rational ethical deliberation described in 12:2, but it is also supported by early Patristic readings of the passage. This interpretation of the λογικὴ λατρεία confirms that Paul expected ethical guidance to come primarily from rational deliberation. It also suggests that English translators should consider using a phrase like ‘reasoning worship’ in Romans 12:1 to reflect the active rational thought involved in the λογικὴ λατρεία.

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This is a peer reviewed Article

Article in The Journal of Theological Studies
Volume #: 69
Issue #: 2
Pages: 500-532
Publisher: Journal of Theological Studies
Year: 2018

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