Romans Twelve

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

therefore. “Therefore,” that is, in view of all the great doctrinal truths expounded in Romans 1-11, we should live as described in Romans 12-16. As is true in most of Paul's epistles, he first lays the doctrinal foundation, then draws out the practical consequences.

living sacrifice. The key to real Christian living is dying to the world and living unto Christ. This great theme appears repeatedly throughout the New Testament.

reasonable service. “Reasonable” is the Greek logikos, from which we derive our word “logical,” and “service” is the Greek latreian, referring to service as a priest. We have been made “an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5), and it is perfectly logical that we render such lifelong service.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

to this world. We are predestined ultimately to be “conformed to the image of [God's] Son” (Romans 8:29); therefore it is eminently logical that we should not be conformed to this world, which is at “enmity with God” (James 4:4). See also xTerm 2:15.

renewing of your mind. Our “renewed minds” were once “blinded” by the “god of this world,” Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). Now they should be, and can be, in harmony with and guided by “the mind of Christ” (Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16).prove. Here is the key to knowing God's will.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

many members in one body. There are three enumerations of the individualized gifts of the Holy Spirit in Paul's epistles. See also 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and Ephesians 4:11.

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

one body in Christ. All three listings of the gifts of the Spirit use the analogy of the body with its many members, indicating that all together comprise, in a spiritual sense, the body of Christ.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

given to us. It is significant that the three listings of the gifts all differ from each other. This means that no listing is complete; in fact, some gifts were needed only for a time (e.g., that of being an apostle), and others would be needed in later periods of history. The Spirit would bestow particular gifts as needed (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11), not according to personal preference.

proportion of faith. “Proportion” (Greek analogia) is essentially a mathematical term. One with a prophetic gift (that is, ability to transmit divinely inspired messages) was to be able to use such a gift effectively in direct proportion to the strength of his faith.

Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

ministry. “Ministry” (Greek diakonia, from which we get our word “deacon”) refers to “service” in the form of mundane “helps.” In contrast, there is priestly service (Romans 12:1) and also slave service (Romans 12:11).

teacheth. The only gifts included in all three listings (see note on Romans 12:4) are the gifts of prophecy and teaching. The gift of prophecy would eventually “cease” (1 Corinthians 13:8), evidently when the New Testament was completed, but the gift of teaching would continue to be needed in every church in every age.

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

dissimulation. That is, “hypocrisy.”

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

business. This term refers not just to making a living, but to all aspects of life. Compare Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23; Ephesians 6:7.

serving. The Greek word here is douleuo, in contrast to the other words speaking of “serving” in this chapter. See note on Romans 12:7. The service here is that required of slaves. Before conversion, we were bond-servants to sin, but the Lord Jesus has purchased us with His blood, so we are now His bond-servants (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6:16).

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

wise in your own conceits. This is the last of six occurrences of this biting phrase. See also Proverbs 26:5, 12, 16; 28:11; Romans 11:25. Pride of one's position, intelligence, race, status or wealth constitute ungodly conceit, and so do laziness and foolishness, as seen in these passages.

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

it is written. Romans 12:19-20 is derived from Deuteronomy 32:35 and Proverbs 25:21-22, respectively. Note also Christ's command in Matthew 5:43-47.

Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.