Daily Devotion Text

November 15, 2022

Romans 12 Commentary

By gracepoint In Devotion Text, Romans with Comments Off on Romans 12 Commentary


Romans 12 Commentary

vv.1-2  “Romans 12:1–2 is one of the best-known passages in the Bible—and deservedly so, for we find here a succinct description of the essence of the believer’s response to God’s grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It functions as the heading for all the specifics Paul will unpack in the subsequent chapters. Our response is rooted in God’s grace. The NIV’s ‘God’s mercy’ conceals the fact that the Greek word for ‘mercy’ is in the plural (‘mercies’). Paul is reminding us of the many displays of God’s mercy he has touched on in chapters 1–11. ‘In view of’ probably modifies ‘urge’; Paul exhorts us in light of the manifold mercy of God. Our obedience is the product of what God has done in our lives, not something we can manufacture on our own.” [1]

“Paul, unusually, repeats the word ‘well-pleasing’ (NIV, pleasing) in the very next verse, making it clear that for him at least what a Christian does, in Christ and by the Spirit, gives actual pleasure to God.  This is counterintuitive for many Christians, schooled to insist that nothing we do can commend ourselves to God.  But Paul insists in several passages that Christian worship and obedience, holiness and unity do indeed please God, and if we have articulated his other doctrines (e.g., justification) in such a way as to exclude this notion, we have clearly misrepresented him.” [2]

“This offering of ourselves to God constitutes, Paul concludes, our ‘spiritual act of worship.’ ‘Spiritual’ translates a word (logikos) over which there is much debate, as the varied renderings in English translations suggest: ‘spiritual’ (NIV; NRSV; NASB); ‘reasonable’ (KJV); ‘true’ (TEV); ‘offered by mind and heart’ (REB); ‘intelligent’ (Phillips). But when the background is considered […], we think ‘informed’ or ‘understanding’ is the best single equivalent in English. We give ourselves to God as his sacrifices when we understand his grace and its place in our lives. We offer ourselves not ignorantly, like animals brought to slaughter, but intelligently and willingly. This is the worship that pleases God.” [3]

v.2  “When we change the way we think, we change the way we live. […]

“ […] It is a process. The fact that Paul calls on believers to engage in this renewing of the mind shows that it does not automatically happen to us when we believe. God’s Spirit comes to reside in us, and he provides a whole new orientation to our thinking. But our thinking itself is not instantaneously changed. The ruts of the old life are not always easy to get out of. Some of our ways of thinking are deeply ingrained, and they will not disappear overnight.”

“The key question then becomes: What are we feeding into our minds? Most Christians have little choice but to spend forty or fifty hours of every week in ‘the world,’ making a living. It is hoped that most Christians also seek to spend time with unbelievers as a means of ministry and evangelism. But if we spend all our discretionary time watching network television, reading secular books, and listening to secular music, it will be a wonder if our minds are not fundamentally secular. Our job is to cooperate with God’s Spirit by seeking to feed into our minds information that will reprogram our thinking in line with the values of the kingdom.” [4]

v.6  “Prophesying in Scripture is not always predicting the future. Often it means preaching God’s messages (1 Corinthians 14:1-3).” [5] 

v.9  “He must hate evil and love good.  Regarding one thing we must be clear – what many people hate is not evil, but the consequences of evil.  No man is really a good man when he is good simply because he fears the consequences of being bad.” [6]

[1] Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary Pradis CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000).

[2] N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. X (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002) 704.

[3] Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary Pradis CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000).

[4] Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary Pradis CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000).

[5] Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 2050.

[6] William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, Daily Study Bible Series (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1975) 164.

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