New American Standard Bible
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
King James Bible
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Darby Bible Translation
But having different gifts, according to the grace which has been given to us, whether it be prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
World English Bible
Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;
Young's Literal Translation
And having gifts, different according to the grace that was given to us; whether prophecy -- 'According to the proportion of faith!'
Romans 12:6 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Having then gifts - All the endowments which Christians have are regarded by the apostle as gifts. God has conferred them; and this fact, when properly felt, tends much to prevent our thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, Romans 12:3. For the use of the word rendered "gifts," see Romans 1:11; Romans 5:15-16; Romans 6:23; Romans 11:29; 1 Corinthians 7:7; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:9,1 Corinthians 12:28, etc. It may refer to natural endowments as well as to the favors of grace; though in this place it refers doubtless to the distinctions conferred on Christians in the churches.
Differing - It was never designed that all Christians should be equal. God designed that people should have different endowments. The very nature of society supposes this. There never was a state of perfect equality in any thing; and it would be impossible that there should be, and yet preserve society. In this, God exercises a sovereignty, and bestows his favors as he pleases, injuring no one by conferring favors on others; and holding me responsible for the right use of what I have, and not for what may be conferred on my neighbor.
According to the grace - That is, the favor, the mercy that is bestowed on us. As all that we have is a matter of grace, it should keep us from pride; and it should make us willing to occupy our appropriate place in the church. True honor consists not in splendid endowments, or great wealth and function. It consists in rightly discharging the duties which God requires of us in our appropriate sphere. If all people held their talents as the gift of God; if all would find and occupy in society the place for which God designed them, it would prevent no small part of the uneasiness, the restlessness, the ambition, and misery of the world.
Whether prophecy - The apostle now proceeds to specify the different classes of gifts or endowments which Christians have, and to exhort them to discharge aright the duty which results from the rank or function which they held in the church. "The first is prophecy." This word properly means to predict future events, but it also means to declare the divine will; to interpret the purposes of God; or to make known in any way the truth of God, which is designed to influence people. Its first meaning is to predict or foretell future events; but as those who did this were messengers of God, and as they commonly connected with such predictions, instructions, and exhortations in regard to the sins, and dangers, and duties of people, the word came to denote any who warned, or threatened, or in any way communicated the will of God; and even those who uttered devotional sentiments or praise. The name in the New Testament is commonly connected with teachers; Acts 13:1, "There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets, and teachers, as Barnabas, etc.;" Acts 15:32, "and Judas and Silas, being prophets themselves, etc.;" Acts 21:10, "a certain prophet named Agabus." In 1 Corinthians 12:28-29, prophets are mentioned as a class of teachers immediately after apostles, "And God hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets; thirdly teachers, etc."
The same class of persons is again mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:29-32, 1 Corinthians 14:39. In this place they are spoken of as being under the influence of revelation, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;" 1 Corinthians 14:39, "Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." In this place endowments are mentioned under the name of prophecy evidently in advance even of the power of speaking with tongues. Yet all these were to be subject to the authority of the apostle. 1 Corinthians 14:37. In Ephesians 4:11, they are mentioned again in the same order; "And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors, and teachers, etc." From these passages the following things seem clear in relation to this class of persons:
(1) They were an order of teachers distinct from the apostles, and next to them in authority and rank.
(2) they were under the influence of revelation, or inspiration in a certain sense.
(3) they had power of controlling themselves, and of speaking or keeping silence as they chose. They had the power of using their prophetic gifts as we have the ordinary faculties of our minds, and of course of abusing them also. This abuse was apparent also in the case of those who had the power of speaking with tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:2, 1 Corinthians 14:4,1 Corinthians 14:6, 1 Corinthians 14:11, etc.
(4) they were subject to the apostles.
(5) they were superior to the other teachers and pastors in the church.
(6) the office or the endowment was temporary, designed for the settlement and establishment of the church; and then, like the apostolic office, having accomplished its purpose, to be disused, and to cease. From these remarks, also, will be seen the propriety of regulating this function by apostolic authority; or stating, as the apostle does here, the manner or rule by which this gift was to be exercised.
According to the proportion - This word ἀναλογίαν analogian is no where else used in the New Testament. The word properly applies to mathematics (Scheusner), and means the ratio or proportion which results from comparison of one number or magnitude with another. In a large sense, therefore, as applied to other subjects, it denotes the measure of any thing. With us it means analogy, or the congruity or resemblance discovered between one thing and another, as we say there is an analogy or resemblance between the truths taught by reason and revelation. (See Butler's Analogy.) But this is not its meaning here. It means the measure, the amount of faith bestowed on them, for he was exhorting them to Romans 12:3. "Think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." The word "faith" here means evidently, not the truths of the Bible revealed elsewhere; nor their confidence in God; nor their personal piety; but the extraordinary endowment bestowed on them by the gifts of prophecy.
They were to confine themselves strictly to that; they were not to usurp the apostolic authority, or to attempt to exercise their special function; but they were to confine themselves strictly to the functions of their office according to the measure of their faith, that is, the extraordinary endowment conferred on them. The word "faith" is thus used often to denote that extraordinary confidence in God which attended the working of miracles, etc., Matthew 17:26; Matthew 21:21; Luke 17:6. If this be the fair interpretation of the passage, then it is clear that the interpretation which applies it to systems of theology, and which demands that we should interpret the Bible so as to accord with the system, is one that is wholly unwarranted. It is to be referred solely to this class of religious teachers, without reference to any system of doctrine, or to any thing which had been revealed to any other class of people; or without affirming that there is any resemblance between one truth and another. All that may be true, but it is not the truth taught in this passage. And it is equally clear that the passage is not to be applied to teachers now, except as an illustration of the general principle that even those endowed with great and splendid talents are not to over-estimate them, but to regard them as the gift of God; to exercise them in subordination to his appointment and to seek to employ them in the manner, the place, and to the purpose that shall be according to his will. They are to employ them in the purpose for which God gave them; and for no other.
LibraryJuly 22. "He that Ministereth Let us Wait on Our Ministering" (Rom. xii. 7).
"He that ministereth let us wait on our ministering" (Rom. xii. 7). Beloved, are you ministering to Christ? Are you doing it with your hands? Are you doing it with your substance and with what you have? Is He getting the best of what is most real to you? Has He a place at your table? And when He does not come to fill the chair, is it free to His representative, His poor and humble children? Your words and wishes are cheap if they do not find expression in your actual gifts. Even Mary did not put …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Still Another Triplet
Many and One
Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
1 Corinthians 3:5
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
1 Corinthians 7:7
Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.
1 Corinthians 12:4
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:10
and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
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Jump to NextAccordance Differ Different Differing Entrusted Exact Exercise Faith Gift Gifts Grace Graciously Measure Prophecy Prophesy Prophesying Prophet Proportion Qualities Reason Relation Speak Special Use Whether Work
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