Two Approaches to Romans 12:9-21

logoRomans 12 from verses 9 to 21 contains a large number of short admonitions.  The challenge is how to present these without getting lost in the details.  This past week I presented them by summarizing the first portion as advice for how to treat each other inside the circle of the fellowship.  There was a second sentence for the verses that had to do with treating outsiders.

That is one approach.  The next one would be to divide the section into daily phrases.  Perhaps this could be meditated on a phrase a day – it divides nicely into 31 distinct phrases.  I’d hate to only ever lean the summary.  Both appraches have merit.

Here is the text.  The backslashes (/) indicated daily reflection portions.

Romans 12:9-21 NIV

Love must be sincere./ Hate what is evil;/ cling to what is good. /10 Be devoted to one another in love/. Honor one another above yourselves./ 11 Never be lacking in zeal, /but keep your spiritual fervor,/ serving the Lord./ 12 Be joyful in hope, /patient in affliction,/ faithful in prayer./ 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need./ Practice hospitality./

14 Bless those who persecute you; /bless and do not curse. /15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; /mourn with those who mourn./ 16 Live in harmony with one another./ Do not be proud,/ but be willing to associate with people of low position./ Do not be conceited./

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil./ Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone./18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone./ 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath,/ for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord./ 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;/
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink./
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”/

21 Do not be overcome by evil,/ but overcome evil with good./

Here are the summary Sentences

     Inner Circle – v.9-13

Choose what is good

    •             by clinging to the love of God,
    •             by praying through trouble and
    •             by sharing what you have.

Outer Circle – v. 14-21

 Bless others

    •             by living at peace with everyone
    •             by fighting evil with goodness and
    •             by trusting the justice to God.




The Law commanded several  rests:

  • one day in seven there was no work but rest.  In Exodus 20 this is explained because God’s rest on the 7th day of Creation (Genesis 1) and in Deuteronomy 5 it is explained by the fact that they had been slaves in Egypt (Exodus).
  • one year in seven, the land was to rest.  we have come to see the wisdom of letting land rest from the activity of cultivation.
  • One year in 49, (7 x 7), all debts between Isrealites were cancelled, and all family land was returned.

These things all speak to the need to know life as more than work.  Since God entered his rest on the Sabbath, we are to find our rest in him.  Since God provides our needs (even though we work) we are to trust him enough not to work or to plant.  Since God provides for us, we are to provide through forgivenss of debts.

I find the the sermonizer needs rest – three weeks to read the bible just to read it, not for producing anything.  Three weeks not to meet the Sunday deadline (or any of the other deadlines).  It is not only helpful, it is necessary.

Just thought I’d check in so you know I am alive.