Romans 12:8
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

King James Bible
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Darby Bible Translation
or he that exhorts, in exhortation; he that gives, in simplicity; he that leads, with diligence; he that shews mercy, with cheerfulness.

World English Bible
or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Young's Literal Translation
or he who is exhorting -- 'In the exhortation!' he who is sharing -- 'In simplicity!' he who is leading -- 'In diligence?' he who is doing kindness -- 'In cheerfulness.'

Romans 12:8 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

He that exhorteth - This word properly denotes one who urges to the practical duties of religion, in distinction from one who teaches its doctrines. One who presents the warnings and the promises of God to excite men to the discharge of their duty. It is clear that there were persons who were recognised as engaging especially in this duty, and who were known by this appellation, as distinguished from prophets and teachers. How long this was continued, there is no means of ascertaining; but it cannot be doubted that it may still be expedient, in many times and places, to have persons designated to this work. In most churches this duty is now blended with the other functions of the ministry.

He that giveth - Margin, "imparteth." The word denotes the person whose function it was to distribute; and probably designates him who distributed the alms of the church, or him who was the deacon of the congregation. The connection requires that this meaning should be given to the passage: and the word rendered "giveth" may denote one who imparts or distributes that which has been committed to him for that purpose, as well as one who gives out of his private property. As the apostle is speaking here of offices in the church, the former is evidently what is intended. It was deemed an important matter among the early Christians to impart liberally of their substance to support the poor, and provide for the needy: Acts 2:44-47; Acts 4:34-37; Acts 5:1-11; Galatians 2:10; Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8:8; 2 Corinthians 9:2, 2 Corinthians 9:12. Hence, it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, who should be especially charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed; Acts 6:1-6. These were the persons who were denominated deacons; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12.

With simplicity - see Matthew 6:22, "If thine eye be single," etc.; Luke 11:34. The word "simplicity" ἁπλοτής haplotēs is used in a similar sense to denote singleness, honesty of aim, purity, integrity, without any mixture of a base, selfish, or sinister end. It requires the bestowment of a favor without seeking any personal or selfish ends; without partiality; but actuated only by the desire to bestow them in the best possible manner to promote the object for which they were given; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:11, 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22. It is plain that when property was intrusted to them, there would be danger that they might be tempted to employ it for selfish and sinister ends, to promote their influence and prosperity; and hence, the apostle exhorted them to do it with a single aim to the object for which it was given. Well did he know that there was nothing more tempting than the possession of wealth, though given to be appropriated to others. And this exhortation is applicable not only to the deacons of the churches, but to all who in this day of Christian benevolence are intrusted with money to advance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He that ruleth - This word properly designates one who is set over others, or who presides or rules, or one who attends with diligence and care to a thing. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord;" 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 1 Timothy 3:12, it is applied to the head of a family, or one who diligently and faithfully performs the duty of a father: "One that ruleth well his own house;" 1 Timothy 5:17, it is applied to "elders" in the church: "Let the elders that rule well, etc." It is not used elsewhere except in Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14, in a different sense, where it is translated "to maintain good works." The prevailing sense of the word, therefore, is to rule, to preside over, or to have the management of. But to what class of persons reference is had here, and what was precisely their duty, has been made a matter of controversy, and it is not easy to determine. Whether this refers to a permanent office in the church, or to an occasional presiding in their assemblies convened for business, etc. is not settled by the use of the word. It has the idea of ruling, as in a family, or of presiding, as in a deliberate assembly; and either of these ideas would convey all that is implied in the original word; compare 1 Corinthians 12:28.

With diligence - This word properly means haste Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39; but it also denotes industry, attention, care; 2 Corinthians 7:11, "What carefulness it wrought in you;" 2 Corinthians 7:12, "That our care for you in the sight of God, etc.;" 2 Corinthians 8:7-8, (Greek) Hebrews 6:11. It means here that they should be attentive to the duties of their vocation, and engage with ardor in what was committed to them to do.

He that showeth mercy - It is probable, says Calvin, that this refers to those who had the care of the sick and infirm, the aged and the needy; not so much to provide for them by charity, as to attend on them in their affliction, and to take care of them. To the deacons was committed the duty of distributing alms, but to others that of personal attendance. This can hardly be called an office, in the technical sense; and yet it is not improbable that they were designated to this by the church, and requested to perform it. There were no hospitals and no almshouses. Christians felt it was their duty to show personal attention to the infirm and the sick; and so important was their function, that it was deemed worthy of notice in a general direction to the church.

With cheerfulness - The direction given to those who distributed alms was to do it with simplicity, with an honest aim to meet the purpose for which it was intrusted to them. The direction here varies according to the duty to be performed. It is to be done with cheerfulness, pleasantness, joy; with a kind, benign, and happy temper. The importance of this direction to those in this situation is apparent. Nothing tends so much to enhance the value of personal attendance on the sick and afflicted, as a kind and cheerful temper. If any where a mild, amiable, cheerful, and patient disposition is needed, it is near a sick bed, and when administering to the wants of those who are in affliction. And whenever we may be called to such a service, we should remember that this is indispensable. If moroseness, or impatience, or fretfulness is discovered in us, it will pain those whom we seek to benefit, embitter their feelings, and render our services of comparatively little value. The needy and infirm, the feeble and the aged, have enough to bear without the impatience and harshness of professed friends. It may be added that the example of the Lord Jesus Christ is the brightest which the world has furnished of this temper. Though constantly encompassed by the infirm and the afflicted, yet he was always kind, and gentle, and mild, and has left before us exactly what the apostie meant when he said, "he that showeth mercy with cheerfulness." The example of the good Samaritan is also another instance of what is intended by this direction; compare 2 Corinthians 9:7. This direction is particularly applicable to a physician.

We have here an account of the establishment, the order, and the duties of the different members of the Christian church. The amount of it all is, that we should discharge with fidelity the duties which belong to us in the sphere of life in which we are placed; and not despise the rank which God has assigned us; not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought; but to act well our part, according to the station where we are placed, and the talents with which we are endowed. If this were done, it would put an end to discontent, ambition, and strife, and would produce the blessings of universal peace and order.

Romans 12:8 Parallel Commentaries

Library
July 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
Text: Romans 12, 6-16. 6 And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; 7 or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; 8 or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting; he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Still Another Triplet
'Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.'--ROMANS xii. 13-15. In these verses we pass from the innermost region of communion with God into the wide field of duties in relation to men. The solitary secrecies of rejoicing hope, endurance, and prayer unbroken, are exchanged for the publicities of benevolence and sympathy. In the former verses the Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Many and One
'For we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.'--ROMANS xii. 4, 5. To Paul there was the closest and most vital connection between the profoundest experiences of the Christian life and its plainest and most superficial duties. Here he lays one of his most mystical conceptions as the very foundation on which to rear the great structure of Christian conduct, and links on to one of
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Cross References
Acts 4:36
Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement),

Acts 11:23
Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;

Acts 13:15
After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."

1 Corinthians 12:28
And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

2 Corinthians 8:2
that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:11
you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

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