The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 12


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, exercise hospitality.


6 Bless those who persecute (you), bless and do not curse them.


Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.


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 all.


Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."


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 with good.



1 [ 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 [5] One body in Christ: on the church as the body of Christ, see 1 Cor 12:12-27.

4 [6] 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 use.

5 [8] 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, including Paul.

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 adjudicator.

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