The Book of Romans-Chapter 12

(1) I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (from chapter 12 through 15, Paul will be giving specific instructions about Gentile modifications in their behavior and how they were to relate toward Jewish non-believers, especially in a synagogue setting. These modifications follow the concerns already mentioned in chapters 9 through 11 but Gentiles were expected to follow certain basics as seen in Acts 15 anyway. The term “holy and living sacrifice” comes from the Temple, in this case the Temple made up of “living stones”). (2) And not to be conformed to this world (they came out of a very anti-Jewish world), but be transformed (Greek=”metamorphisis” which basically means a change of status) by the renewing of your mind (with Torah as a foundation), that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (3) For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Paul addresses the issue of boasting and arrogance again, backing up what he has already said in Rom 11.18-25. “Measure of Faith” is not to be understood as “quantity” but it is the existence of this faith in Yeshua that is given to us by grace-Eph 4.7 and he equates non-boasting with sound judgment). (4) For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, (5) so we, who are many, are one body in Messiah, and individually members of one another (many gifts to serve in a congregational setting). (6) And since we have gifts (“charisma”-can include talents, education, personality) that differ according to the grace (charis) given to us, if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith (or capacity), (7) if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; (8) or he who exhorts (to call one alongside to comfort), in his exhortation; he who gives (cheerfully), with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (9) Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good (Paul will be addressing Gentile halakah through the end of the chapter to show that their faith was biblically correct and alive). (10) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (Paul expounds on Lev 19.18 and one of the two commandments that Yeshua said were the greatest ones. This is in the context of honoring another persons beliefs as found in ancient Jewish thought. The Talmud says in Nedarim 91b and Shabbat 94b that “things that are in themselves permissible and yet are treated by others as forbidden, you may not treat them as permitted in order to nullify them….the dignity of human beings is a great thing, for it supersedes even a negative injunction of the Torah”), (11) not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit serving the Lord (it is not the visible excitement that shows the work of the Spirit, but rather a desire to serve God in accordance to what he has laid out in the Torah, the Word of God. Actions apart from what the Torah has said will always lead to error); (12) rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, (13) contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. (14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not (in general and towards the non-believing Jews in the congregation who did not think highly of the non-Jews “infiltrating” their assemblies). (15) Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (16) Be of the same mind, toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation (Paul again deals with the specific situation in Rome where there was agitation between non-believing Jews and Gentile believers in particular). (17) Never pay back evil for evil to anyone (in the congregation in particular). Respect what is right in the sight of all men. (18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (19) Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord .” (20) “But if your enemy (Paul does not consider the non-believing Jewish people to be his enemies, but some of the Gentiles may have that sentiment. “Enemies” is  defined in 11.28-in this case) is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (cause to regret, to bring shame and contrition. Paul wants more of his Jewish brethren to come to salvation in Yeshua and it can happen through jealousy, as seen in 11.14, or shame). (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Psa 34.14; 37.27. Paul will continue his message of correction to the Gentiles in the Roman congregation in the next chapter).

 

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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