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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 16
Verse 16. Be of the same mind, etc. This passage has been variously interpreted. "Enter into each other's circumstances, in order to see how you would yourself feel." Chrysostom. "Be agreed in your opinions and views." Stuart. "Be united or agreed with each other." Flatt. Comp. .
A literal translation of the Greek will give somewhat a different sense, but one evidently correct. "Think of, that is, regard, or seek after the same thing for each other; that is, what you regard or seek for yourself, seek also for your brethren. Do not have divided interests; do not be pursuing different ends and aims; do not indulge counter plans and purposes; and do not seek honours, offices, for yourself, which you do not seek for your brethren; so that you may still regard yourselves as brethren on a level, and aim at the same object." The Syriac has well rendered the passage: "And what you think concerning yourselves, the same also think concerning your brethren; neither think with an elevated or ambitious mind, but accommodate yourselves to those who are of humbler condition." Comp. 1 Pe 3:8.
Mind not high things. Greek, Not thinking of high things. That is, not seeking them, or aspiring after them. The connexion shows that the apostle had in view those things which pertained to worldly offices and honours—wealth, and state, and grandeur. They were not to seek them for themselves; nor were they to court the society or the honours of the men in an elevated rank in life. Christians were commonly of the poorer ranks, and they were to seek their companions and joys there, and not to aspire to the society of the great and the rich. Comp. Jer 45:5, "And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not." Lu 12:15.
Condescend. (sunapagomenoi). Literally, "being led away by, or being conducted by." It does not properly mean to condescend, but denotes a yielding, or being guided and led in the thoughts, feelings, plans, by humble objects. Margin, "Be contented with mean things."
To men of low estate. In the Greek the word here is an adjective, (tapeinoiv) and may refer either to men or to things, either in the masculine or neuter gender. The sentiment is not materially changed, whichever interpretation is adopted. It means, that Christians should seek the objects of interest and companionship not among the great, the rich, and the noble, but among the humble and the obscure. They should do it because their Master did it before them; because his friends are most commonly found among those in humble life; because Christianity prompts to benevolence, rather than to a fondness for pride and display; and because of the influence on the mind produced by an attempt to imitate the great, to seek the society of the rich, and to mingle with the scenes of gaiety, folly, and ambition.
The meaning is, Do not trust in the conceit of your own superior skill and understanding, and refuse to hearken to the counsel of others.
In your own conceits. Greek, Among yourselves. Syriac, "In your own opinion." The direction here accords with that just given; and means, that they should not be elated with pride above theft brethren, or be headstrong and self-confident. The tendency of religion is to produce a low estimate of our own importance and attainments.
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