12:1 I beseech 1 you therefore, brethren, a by the mercies of God, that ye b present your c bodies a d living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your e reasonable service.
(1) The fourth part of this epistle, which after
the finishing of the principal points of Christian doctrine, consists in the
declaring of precepts of the Christian life. And first of all he gives general
precepts and grounds: the principal of which is this, that every man
consecrate himself wholly to the spiritual service of God, and do as it were
sacrifice himself, trusting the grace of God.
(a) By this preface he shows that God's glory
is the utmost goal of everything we do.
(b) In times past the sacrifices were presented
before the altar: but now the altar is everywhere.
(c) Yourselves: in times past other bodies
besides our own, but now our own must be offered.
(d) In times past, dead sacrifices were offered,
but now we must offer those which have the spirit of life in them.
12:2 2 And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your f
mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will
(2) The second precept is this, that we do not
take other men's opinions or conduct as a rule for life, but that we wholly
renounce this world, and set before us as our mark the will of God as is
manifested and revealed to us in his word.
(f) This is the reason that there is no room left
for reason, which the heathen philosophers place as a queen in a castle, nor
for man's free will, which the popish scholars dream of, because the mind
must be renewed; (Ephesians
12:3 3 For I
g say, through the grace given unto me,
to every man that is among you, not h to
think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think i
soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of k
(3) Thirdly, he admonishes us very earnestly that
every man keep himself within the bounds of his calling, and that every man be
wise according to the measure of grace that God has given him.
(g) I charge.
(h) That he does not please himself too much, as
those do who persuade themselves they know more than they actually do.
(i) We will be sober if we do not take that upon
us which we do not have, and if we do not brag of that which we do have.
(k) By faith he means the knowledge of God in
Christ, and the gifts which the Holy Spirit pours upon the faithful.
12:4 4 For
as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
(4) There are two reasons for the previous
precept: the first is because God has not committed everything to be done by
every man: and therefore he does backwardly, and unprofitably, and also to the
great disservice of others, wearying himself and others, who passes the bounds
of his calling: the second is because this diversity and inequality of
vocations and gifts results in our being benefitted: seeing that this is
therefore instituted and appointed, so that we should be bound one to another.
From which it follows that no man ought to be grieved at this, seeing that the
use of every private gift is common.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether
prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the l
proportion of faith;
(5) That which he spoke before in general, he
applies particularly to the holy functions, in which men are in greater danger
if they sin. And he divides them into two types: that is, into prophets and
deacons: and again he divides the prophets into teachers and pastors. And of
deacons he makes three types: that is, those who are to be (as it were)
treasurers of the Church, whom he calls deacons in the most proper sense: the
others to be the governors of discipline, who are called seniors or elders:
the third, those who properly serve in the help of the poor, such as the
(l) That every man observe the measure of that
which is revealed to him.
12:7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our]
ministering: or he that m teacheth, on
(m) Whose office is only to expound the
12:8 Or he that n
exhorteth, on exhortation: he that o
giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that p
ruleth, with diligence; he that q
sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
(n) Who in other passages is called the
(o) That is, the alms, that he distributes them
faithfully, and without any favouritism.
(p) The elders of the church.
(q) Those that are occupied with the care of the
poor must do it with cheerfulness, lest they add sorrow upon sorrow.
12:9 6 [Let]
love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is
(6) Now he comes to the duties of the second
table of the ten commandments, which he derives from charity, which is as it
were the fountain of them all. And he defines Christian charity as sincerity,
hatred of evil, earnest study of good things, good affection to help our
neighbour, and whose final goal is the glory of God.
12:11 Not slothful in
business; fervent in spirit; r serving
(r) This verse is well put, for it makes a
distinction between Christian duties, and philosophical duties.
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
(7) He reckons up different virtues together with
their effects, that is, hope, patience in tribulation, evenness of mind,
continuance in prayer, liberality towards the saints, hospitality, moderation
of mind even in helping our enemies, feeling the same as others in their
adversity as well as their prosperity, modesty, endeavouring to maintain
honest agreement as much as we are able with all men, which cannot be
extinguished by any man injuring us.
Distributing to the t necessity of
saints; given to hospitality.
(s) A true rule of charity, that we feel for
other men's wants as we do for our own, and having that feeling, to help
them as much as we can.
(t) Not upon pleasures and needless duties, but
upon necessary uses.
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend
to men of u low estate. Be not x
wise in your own conceits.
(u) There is nothing that disrupts harmony as
much as seeking glory, when every man detests a base estate, and ambitiously
seeks to be exalted.
(x) Do not be puffed up with an opinion of your
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in
so doing thou shalt heap y coals of fire
on his head.
(y) In this manner Solomon points out the wrath
of God which hangs over a man.