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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Romans 12

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-21


The Conseceated Life. The Law of Love

The doctrinal part of the Epistle being finished, St. Paul now turns to practical exhortation. God's mercy, shown in the gospel set forth in the previous chapters, calls for the sacrifice of ourselves to do His will (Romans 12:1-2), by the humble and devoted use of God's spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8), and in love (Romans 12:9-21).

1-21. Paraphrase. '(1) God's redeeming love should be answered by the true sacrifice and spiritual ritual service of a life of purity and self-denial and work for God. (2) Do not follow the fashions and customs of the worldly society around you, but let your ways of thinking be so changed by the Holy Spirit that you look for and recognise God's will, and love to do it. (3) So, although the world does not value humility, as God's Apostle I charge every one of you to be contented to do that work in the Church for which God has fitted him. (4, 5) The Christian Society is like a body; each individual has his particular function; while the welfare of the whole depends upon how he performs it. (6) Let us all learn, then, from our different gifts, what it is God's will that we should do. If your gift is prophecy, speak what God Himself has taught you; (7, 8) and whatever your gift, use it to the best of your power. (9) As to other matters of conduct; let your love be sincere; have strong moral principles; (10) as one family in Christ be affectionate to one another; let each regard others as more fit for honours than himself; (11) be diligent, fervent, devoted to the Lord's work, (12) joyfully expectant of future glory, brave in affliction, unflagging in prayer, (13) generous and hospitable. (14) Bless your persecutors; (15) be sympathising; (16) enter into one another's desires and aims; do not aim at high place or honour for yourself, but be content with the humble duties that come in your way. (17) Never retaliate. Avoid even the appearance of dishonourable conduct. (18) Live at peace with every one, so far as peace is in your own power. (19) If any man wrong you, leave it to God to punish him.. (20) Do him good, and you will make him ashamed of his enmity. (21) Do not let the wickedness of others provoke evil passions in you, but conquer their wickedness by doing them good.'

1. Living sacrifice] as opposed to the sacrifice of a slain beast: cp. Romans 6:13. Reasonable] i.e. an act of the reason.

2. Conformed to] RV 'fashioned according to.' 'Fashion' implies external resemblance, 'form,' essential nature: cp. Philippians 2:6. World] lit. 'Æon,' or 'age.' The Jews called the Messianic age 'the age to come,' as contrasted with 'this age': cp. Matthew 12:32; Luke 20:34; Ephesians 1:21. At present, considered as the kingdoms of Christ and of the world, the two ages co-exist.

3. Grace] cp. Romans 1:5. Faith] Faith is God's gift, and is of differing power and character, carrying with it differing 'gifts' (Romans 12:6), i.e. capacities of Christian service.

5. One body] cp. 1 Corinthians 12:12.; Ephesians 4:15.; Colossians 1:18.

6. Gifts] see on Romans 1:13. Is] RV 'was,' i.e. when the Holy Spirit was received. Prophecy] i.e. inspired speaking, whether foretelling the future, or unfolding spiritual truth: cp. Acts 11:28; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 14:1; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11. Proportion of faith] RV 'proportion of our faith,' i.e. in proportion to the revelation the prophet's faith has received.

7. Ministry] i.e. the service of others: cp. Mark 10:45 sometimes any Christian office: cp. Romans 11:13 sometimes, as here, attendance on temporal wants: cp. Acts 6:1; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 8:4.

8. Simplicity] i.e. without selfish aim; RV 'liberality.' Ruleth] lit. 'presideth,' i.e. in the Church or the family: cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4.; 1 Timothy 5:17.

9. Dissimulation] RV 'hypocrisy.

10. RV 'In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another.'

11. RV 'In diligence not slothful'; 'diligence' =zeal, moral earnestness, not merely in temporal affairs.

12. Instant] RV 'stedfastly.'

13. Distributing] RV 'communicating,' i.e. sharing your goods: cp. Acts 2:42.

Saints] RV 'the saints,' i.e. Christians, God's people. Hospitality] The various Churches were linked by the visits of accredited messengers: cp. Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Peter 4:9; 2 John 1:10; 3 John 1:5.

14. Cp. Matthew 5:44.

16. Men of low estate] RV 'things that are lowly.'

17. Provide] RV 'take thought for.' Honest] RV 'honourable.'

19. Give place unto wrath] i.e. leave room for God's wrath to execute the vengeance deserved. Do not usurp the prerogative of God. Wrath] i.e. the wrath of God: cp. Romans 5:9. Written] Deuteronomy 32:35.

20. From Proverbs 25:21.

Coals of fire] i.e. melt him into shame, as a furnace melts metals.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Romans 12:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/romans-12.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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