In Romans 12:10, I'm having difficulty translating the verse since it appears to lack verbs (and even subjects).

Furthermore, What is the significance of «τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ» and «τῇ τιμῇ» being declined in the dative case at the beginning of each clause? How are they to be understood and translated?

τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι

  • The following is my translation attempt: "...In brotherly love, give affection to each other"? Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 1:38
  • 2
    There are many English translations. Here are several: biblehub.com/romans/12-10.htm
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


In Rom. 12:10, the Greek text states,

τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι TR, 1550

There are essentially two clauses in Rom. 12:10:

  1. τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι
  2. τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι

According to Tischendorf, there are no relevant textual variants.1

In the second clause, we may supply the preposition «εἰς» ("to"), omitted by ellipsis, between «τιμῇ» and «ἀλλήλους».

Regarding both «τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ» and «τῇ τιμῇ» which are declined in the dative case, the dative is likely a dative of reference/respect and may be translated as "Respecting2 brotherly love" and "Respecting honor," respectively.

George Benedikt Winer wrote,3

Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, p. 215

The clauses lack verbs; the imperative verb «ἔστε» ("be") may be supplied. Accordingly, the adjective «φιλόστοργοι» would function as a predicate adjective, while the participle «προηγούμενοι» would function substantively as a predicate nominative.

Therefore, the verse may be translated as,

Regarding brotherly love, be affectionate to one another. Regarding honor,4 be guides to one another.


1 p. 431

2 or "regarding"; "as pertaining to"

3 p. 215

4 i.e., respect and dignity displayed to fellow humans. They are to set the example on how to treat others with dignity and respect, thereby being guides for others to follow.


Tischendorf, Constantin. Novum Testamentum Graece. Vol. 2. Lipsiae: Giesecke, 1872.

Winer, George Benedikt. A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament. 7th ed. Andover: Draper, 1892.

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