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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 I urge you therefore,
brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will
of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I tell everyone
among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to
think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.
For as in one body we have many parts, and all
the parts do not have the same function,
so we, though many, are one body in Christ 3
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to
the grace given to us, let us exercise them: 4 if prophecy,
in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering; if one is a
teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one
contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, 5 with
diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on
to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in
spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
6 Bless those who persecute (you), bless and do
not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those
Have the same regard for one another; do not be
haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned
for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room
for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says
Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed
him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will
heap burning coals upon his head."
Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil
[⇒ 12:1-⇒ 13:14] Since
Christ marks the termination of the Mosaic law as the primary source of
guidance for God's people (⇒ Romans 10:4), the
apostle explains how Christians can function, in the light of the gift of
justification through faith, in their relation to one another and the state.
2 [1-8] The Mosaic code included
elaborate directions on sacrifices and other cultic observances. The gospel,
however, invites believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice
(⇒ Romans 12:1). Instead of being limited by
specific legal maxims, Christians are liberated for the exercise of good
judgment as they are confronted with the many and varied decisions required in
the course of daily life. To assist them, God distributes a variety of gifts to
the fellowship of believers, including those of prophecy, teaching, and
exhortation (⇒ Romans 12:6-8). Prophets assist the
community to understand the will of God as it applies to the present situation
(⇒ Romans 12:6). Teachers help people to understand
themselves and their responsibilities in relation to others
(⇒ Romans 12:7). One who exhorts offers
encouragement to the community to exercise their faith in the performance of
all that is pleasing to God (⇒ Romans 12:8). Indeed,
this very section, beginning with ⇒ Romans 12:1, is
a specimen of Paul's own style of exhortation.
3  One body in Christ: on the
church as the body of Christ, see ⇒ 1 Cor
4  Everyone has some gift that can
be used for the benefit of the community. When the instruction on justification
through faith is correctly grasped, the possesser of a gift will understand
that it is not an instrument of self-aggrandizement. Possession of a gift is
not an index to quality of faith. Rather, the gift is a challenge to faithful
5  Over others: usually taken to
mean "rule over" but possibly "serve as a patron."
Wealthier members in Greco-Roman communities were frequently asked to assist in
public service projects. In view of the references to contributing in
generosity and to acts of mercy, Paul may have in mind people like Phoebe
(⇒ Romans 16:1-2), who is called a benefactor (or
"patron") because of the services she rendered to many Christians,
6 [14-21] Since God has justified the
believers, it is not necessary for them to take justice into their own hands by
taking vengeance. God will ultimately deal justly with all, including those who
inflict injury on the believers. This question of personal rights as a matter
of justice prepares the way for more detailed consideration of the state as
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