Romans 12: Striving for Excellence

What do we have to gain by giving up everything?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 18:29–30 Jesus said, “I guarantee, those who have sacrificed their homes, relatives, or possessions for sake of the Kingdom will receive much more in this life and will have eternal life.”
Romans 12:1 Therefore I beg you, all who have said they want to follow the Lord, make a total commitment to please him in all things, sacrificing everything you want so you may receive something better. Your reasonable service is giving 100 percent of yourself, more than just a tithe, a few worship songs, and verbal expressions of your love for him.
King James
Luke 18:29–30 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

How does what God says is right differ from what society says is right?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:2 Don’t follow what society says is right. To experience God and have the highest feeling of self-worth, and to live life to its fullest, your thinking must drastically change. Instead of centering your desires upon yourselves, satisfy the good and perfect will of God by seeking to help others.
King James
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

If God’s ways are always better, why don’t Christians always follow them?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:3 Because of the kindness God has shown to me, as I have sacrificed my desires so I could please the Lord, I want everybody to know we tend to place way too much value on pleasing ourselves. Think objectively, weighing the benefit of getting what God wants versus what you want, and let your recognition of the truth build your confidence that his ways are always better.
King James
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Why do different “parts” need to function differently?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:4–5 Our physical bodies have many parts that do different things. In the same way, as we are connected to Christ, we become one body functioning in many different ways to please him.
King James
Romans 12:4–5 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

How should we compare a tire with a steering wheel?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:6 The different parts have been given abilities according to what they have been called to do. If you are called to deliver God’s message, then commit yourself to using that gift to its fullest.
King James
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

In serving the Lord, why should we strive for excellence?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:7 f it’s teaching or serving, then strive for excellence in those areas.
King James
Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

What is the value of a cheerful attitude in doing what we must do?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:8 When encouraging people, rise above social courtesies and flattery, giving real encouragement. Freely give whatever you have. If you’re a leader, be considerate of your followers. Cheerfully show kindness to the undeserving.
King James
Romans 12:8 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.

How can we care for people who don’t like us or have done something to injure us?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:9 Show true love, giving without any expectation of receiving something in return. While caring for the person, oppose the evil and encourage the good.
King James
Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

What should motivate us to be kind to others, even our enemies?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:10 Always be kind to others, making their needs more important than your own.
King James
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Why might we want to avoid trying to please the Lord with a “bare minimum”?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 4:3–5 As time went on, the day came when Cain brought a portion of his crops as an offering to the Lord. Abel brought an offering that was the choicest cuts of meat from the very best of his flock.
God approved of Abel and his offering, but not Cain and his offering.
Cain was furious, his face red with anger.
Romans 12:11–12 Don’t be lazy or casual about your service, but diligently seek to please the Lord, rejoicing in patient endurance and prayer for the good that might result.
King James
Genesis 4:3–5 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Romans 12:11–12 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Under what conditions might we open our homes to unbelievers?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
John 17:15 “I do not pray for you to take them out of the world but that you would protect them from that which is evil.”
Romans 12:13 Open your homes to believers and attend to their needs.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 In my previous letter, I told you to avoid fellowship with people who live in sexual sin. I didn’t mean you had to avoid all contact with promiscuous, greedy, cheating, or idolatrous people, because then you’d have to live somewhere outside of this world. I was saying you shouldn’t be hanging out with such people. Don’t be going out to eat and having fun with the abusive drunkard.
Hebrews 13:2 Remember to welcome strangers, because some have unknowingly shown hospitality to angels dropping by.
King James
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Why do Christians sometimes struggle with praying God’s blessing for those who would do them harm?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:14 Do good to those who seek to harm you, and pray God’s blessing for them, that they too might become believers.
King James
Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

A common saying is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” How far should we go in our involvement with
unbelievers?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:15 Be sensitive to the feelings of others, laughing with those who are having a good time and weeping with those who are grieving.
1 Corinthians 9:22 When people are weak, I empathize with their fragile faith in order to bring them to Christ. I do my best to find common ground with everyone, seeking to help them get from where they are to where God wants them to be.
Hebrews 12:14 In your heart, hold no malice toward anyone, because the unforgiving will never see the Lord.
King James
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

In what ways should we be sensitive to the convictions of people who don’t believe as we do?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:15–16 Be sensitive to the feelings of others, laughing with those who are having a good time and weeping with those who are grieving. Recognize where people are and why they think as they do. Find a way to appreciate their points of view so you can find common ground to communicate. You want to be perceived as a helper, but not as if you think you’re better than they are.
King James
Romans 12:15–16 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

What should we do if our kindness to our enemies brings negative results?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:17 Don’t retaliate when people mistreat you. Show kindness to your enemies, and people will respect and admire you.
King James
Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

When arguing builds strife, how are people affected?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:18 Arguing with people builds strife, which you want to avoid. Do your best to live peaceably with everyone.
King James
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

What are the best ways to effectively argue the truth concerning Jesus Christ?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:18 Arguing with people builds strife, which you want to avoid. Do your best to live peaceably with everyone.
King James
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

In what ways can God handle punishment better than we can?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:19 Fellow believers, don’t seek vengeance when people mistreat you. If needed, God will handle punishment better than you can, for he says in Scripture, Vengeance is mine, and I’ll see justice done.
King James
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

How far should we go in showing kindness to our enemies?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 12:20 If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you.
King James
Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Why does Christian love get the attention of unbelievers?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 6:32–33 “What is commendable about loving only those who love you? Even sinners do that. You get no credit for showing kindness to those who treat you well, because sinners do that much.”
John 13:35 “If you love one another, people will know you are my disciples.”
Romans 12:20–21 If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you. Don’t let their evil change you, but use your love to overcome their evil.
King James
Luke 6:32–33 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Romans 12:20–21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.