Re: dokimazw in Romans 12:2?

From: Mike Adams (
Date: Thu Oct 12 1995 - 10:29:47 EDT

You wrote:
>I'm wrestling with the verb dokimazw in Romans 12:2. Most of the
>standard lexicons (BAGD, LS) indicate that this word means "to approve
>by testing" or "to examine and approve." For some reason I find it
>hard to fit this meaning into this verse. I observe that Louw-Nida
>[sec. 30.98] offers an alternative field of meaning s.v. "Think." To
>wit: "to regard something as being worthwhile or appropriate - 'to
>regard as worthwhile, to think of as appropriate.' " In light of this
>verb's use in Romans 1:28 this seems, IMHO, to be a preferable
>I'd like your comment on this.
>Also, I'm wondering how the august members of this list read the
>concatenated adjectives in Romans 12:2. Is the entire phrase in
>apposition to TO QELHMA, or is the second adjective in apposition to
>the first, the third in apposition to the second?

If David Moore, with all his wisdom and knowledge does not consider
himself "august", how would you categorize an uneducated housewife
such as I. Nonetheless, as this is one of my favorite passages, I
will venture to respond. (After all, how can one properly savor one's
own foot unless one opens his/her mouth?)

Dokimazw: to prove. Some friends of mine have applied for jobs
test driving 1996 automobiles. To qualify, they must have spotless
driving records. Then, they are to take these machines out into
the plains and/or up into the Rocky Mountains for 8 to 10 hours
a day totally putting them through their paces. A car may look
great on paper, or in computer simulations. It may perform well
in lab testing. But what counts is how it works with real people
in real situations. Likewise, I imagine God wants some "good drivers"
to get the gospel of Christ on the road and prove to all how well
it really works. (One of the contributors on this list includes
in his signature "Earth is a beta site." I like that.)

Concerning the other question, as David mentioned the single article
is a pretty clear indicator that the three words equally describe
will. I will further comment by saying that I have heard this passage
taught with the adjectives separated contrasted and compared, that
is, "good" vs. "acceptable/pleasing" vs. "perfect", with a whole
ensuing doctrine defining various levels of commitment with our
resulting behavior, as it were, graded on a curve. This doctrine
would have more likely arisen from the interpretation of English
connotations, rather than study of the Greek. After all, good is
okay, perfect is the best, and well pleasing must be somewhere in
the middle. Personally, I think this teaching belongs on the dunghill
with the savorless salt.

In Luke 18:19 Jesus says, "ti me legeis agaQon? oudeis agaQos ei
mh eis ho Qeos." Here, good is not descriptive of a relative value
but of the absolute virtue of God himself. Perfect, as we know,
describes that which is mature or complete. If indeed our behavior
is both virtuous and mature, then well-pleasing is descriptive of
its outward attribute, all these adjectives being equally descriptive
of the life that is fully committed to the will of God.

Just my thoughts.

Have a good one.


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