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12. Living Sacrifices

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. 2And 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.

3For 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. 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 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. 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore 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. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

16. Not thinking arrogantly of yourselves, 395395     The first clause is omitted. The text of Calvin is, “Mutuo alii in alios sensu affecti;” τὸ αὐτὸ εἰς αλλήλους φρονοῦντες; “Itidem alii in alios affecti — Feel alike towards on another,” Beza; “Be entirely united in your regards for each other,” Doddridge; “Be of the same disposition towards one another,” Macknight. The verb means to think, or to feel, or to mind, in the sense of attending to, or aspiring after a thing. It is used also in the next clause, evidently in the last sense, minding. There is no reason why its meaning should be different here; it would then be, “Mind the same things towards one another,” that is, Do to others what you expect others to do to you. It is to reduce to an axiom what is contained in the former verse. We may indeed give this version, “Feel the same, or alike towards one another,” that is, sympathize with one another: and this would still be coincident in meaning with the former verse; and it would be in accordance with the Apostle’s mode of writing.
   But another construction has been given, “Think the same of one another,” that is, Regard one another alike in dignity and privilege as Christians, without elevating yourselves, and viewing yourselves better than others. This would well agree with the sentence which follows.

   The two following clauses are thus given by Doddridge, “Affect not high things, but condescend to men of low rank,” — and by Macknight, “Do not care for high things; but associate with lowly men.” The word ταπεινοῖς, is not found in the New Testament to be applied to things, but to persons. “Associate” is perhaps the best rendering of συναπαγόμενοι, which literally means to withdraw from one party in order to walk with another: they were to withdraw from those who minded high things, and walk or associate with the humble and lowly. “And cleave to the humble,” is the Syriac version. — Ed.
etc. The Apostle employs words in Greek more significant, and more suitable to the antithesis, “Not thinking,” he says, “of high things:” by which he means, that it is not the part of a Christian ambitiously to aspire to those things by which he may excel others, nor to assume a lofty appearance, but on the contrary to exercise humility and meekness: for by these we excel before the Lord, and not by pride and contempt of the brethren. A precept is fitly added to the preceding; for nothing tends more to break that unity which has been mentioned, than when we elevate ourselves, and aspire to something higher, so that we may rise to a higher situation. I take the term humble in the neuter gender, to complete the antithesis.

Here then is condemned all ambition and that elation of mind which insinuates itself under the name of magnanimity; for the chief virtue of the faithful is moderation, or rather lowliness of mind, which ever prefers to give honor to others, rather than to take it away from them.

Closely allied to this is what is subjoined: for nothing swells the minds of men so much as a high notion of their own wisdom. His desire then was, that we should lay this aside, hear others, and regard their counsels. Erasmus has rendered φρονίμους, arrogantes — arrogant; but the rendering is strained and frigid; for Paul would in this case repeat the same word without any meaning. However, the most appropriate remedy for curing arrogance is, that man should not be over-wise in his own esteem.


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