Chapter 12, The Study
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”

J. Deering,

Your REASONABLE Place in the Body of Christ

Romans 12


 1 Therefore (A) I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to (B) present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

The smaller immediate reference (Ch 11):
Israel has not been removed from Grace
Israel has a place of high honor
The Gentiles have been grafted in
Even more so, shall believing Israel be grafted in
The much larger eternal reference (Ch 1-11):
God the Father has called, foreknown, chosen, made meet and reconciled a particular people for His own to give to His own Son. They have been made members of God’s own family and have been made brothers and sisters with His Son Jesus – for all of eternity.

I URGE YOU, brethren – the Greek verb parakaleo, “I make a call to you – from close beside you.” Usually translated beseech, entreat, or beg. Paul is showing his heartfelt care for the members of this local assembly. He does not tell them to be obedient, he calls to them from alongside, begs them to not only listen but take action in the matter of spiritual development in their Christian lives. He reminds them that the matter of Christian living is a very serious affair.

Spiritual (reasonable) service of worship
Logikos – that which is logical to God, that which is known through faith. The KJV has about the best translation – your spiritual service in the area of worship is that which God has determined is reasonable, therefore the presenting of your living body for holy sacrifice to God is “reasonable,” (logical) (it is the least your should do).

When God calls… the very least you should do is give yourself, in your physical body, to the task at hand. It is holy and reasonable to do so.

The Ancient Path
Understanding The Bible
"The Christian's Duties"

1 G. Coleman Luck, Excerpt From: Bibliotheca Sacra Theological Journal, "Christian Ethics" -- Vol 118 #471 -- Jul 1961
Used by permission

The Christian's Duties
Duties toward God

I. Positive

Trust Him (Mark 11:22; John 14:1, ASV; Heb. 11:6).
Love Him and seek to know Him better (1 John 5:2; Phil. 3:10, 15; Jas. 4:8).
Be thankful to Him; worship and praise Him (John 4:23; Col. 3:15; Heb. 13:15.)
Serve Him (Rom. 12:6-8, 11; 1 Cor. 15:58).
Pray to Him (Luke 18:1; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Tim. 2:2).
Live in accordance with His will (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:21; Jas. 4:7).
Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25; Eph. 5:18).
Hold fast to sound doctrine and contend for the faith (2 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 13:9; Jude 3).
Witness for Christ (John 15:27; Acts 1:8; 1 Pet. 3:15).
Do everything as unto Him (1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 6:7-8; Col. 3:17, 23-24).
Be diligent in devotion and study of His Word (John 5:39; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jas. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:2).

II. Negative

Do not have idols (1 Cor. 10:7, 14; Eph. 5:3; Phil. 3:19; Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:17; Heb. 13:15; 1 John 5:21).
Do not receive false teachers (2 John 10).
Do not mock or speak against God (Gal. 6:7; Col. 3:8).

Duties toward Other Human Beings

I. Positive

Love all, especially our brethren (John 15:17; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 16:14; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:7).
Be sympathetic and compassionate (Eph. 4:32; Phil. 2:4; Col. 3:12).
Forgive and forbear (Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13).
Deal honestly and fairly (Rom. 12:17b; Rom. 13:7; Rom. 13:13; 1 Thess. 4:12; Jas. 2:1).
Do good to all and help all (Rom. 12:13; Gal. 6:2, 10; 1 Thess. 5:15; Titus 3:1; Heb. 13:16; Jas. 4:17; 3 John 11).
Tell the truth (Eph. 4:25).
Be courteous and live peaceably with all (Rom. 12:18; 1 Pet. 2:17; 1 Pet. 3:8).
Treat others as we would like for them to treat us (Luke 6:31; Rom. 12:17a).
Provide a good example for others (1 Cor. 8:9, 13; Phil. 2:15).
Urge brethren to good works and seek to restore backsliders (Gal. 6:1; Heb. 10:24).

II. Negative

Do not lie or bear false witness (Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9; Titus 2:3).
Do not steal (Eph. 4:28; 1 Pet. 4:15).
Do not murder (1 Pet. 4:15).
Do not commit adultery or fornication (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Thess. 4:13).
Do not judge others or speak evil of them (Rom. 14:13; Titus 3:2; Jas. 4:11; cf. John 7:24).
Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14).
Do not have fellowship with professing Christians who live in scandalous sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:14).
Do not go to law with other believers (1 Cor. 6:lff).
Do not glory in men (1 Cor. 3:21).

  • Avoid troublemakers and useless disputes (Rom. 16:17; 2 Tim. 2:23; Titus 3:12).
  • Do not have unpaid debts (Rom. 13:8).
  • Duties toward Self

    I. Positive

    Be holy (1 Pet. 1:15; 1 Pet. 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:1).
    Cleave to the good and do good to all (Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:15).
    Study the Word of God and meditate on sacred things (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Tim. 2:15).
    Grow spiritually (2 Pet. 3:18).
    Think on good things (Phil. 4:8).
    Think soberly of yourself (Rom. 12:3).
    Be ambitious in the right way (1 Cor. 12:31; 1 Cor. 14:1; 2 Cor. 5:4).
    Be content with what God gives you (Heb. 13:5).
    Rejoice in the Lord (Rom. 12:12; Phil. 3:1; Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16).
    Live in the light of the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 9:24).
    Judge yourself and confess sins to God (1 Cor. 11:31; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 John 1:9).
    Conserve time for good purposes (Eph. 5:11; Col. 4:5).
    Cultivate your mind (1 Pet. 1:13).
    Do useful work (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:12).|
    Keep your body clean and in good health (1 Cor. 6:15; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 12:1).

    II. Negative

    Abhor evil (Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:22).
    Avoid pride (Rom. 12:3; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6).
    Do not conform to or love the world (Rom. 12:2; 1 John 2:15).
    Do not fellowship with evil (Eph. 5:11).
    Do not sin through anger (Eph. 4:26).
    Do not worry (Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:7; 1 John 14:1, 27).
    Do not be lazy (Rom. 12:1).
    Do not use filthy speech (Eph. 4:29; Eph. 5:4).
    Do not become drunk (Eph. 5:18).
    Do not complain (1 Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14).

    General Principles of Conduct under Grace

    The above list certainly shows that there are many specific commands given to the Christian in the New Testament with regard to his conduct. Nevertheless life under grace is not defined down to the very last detail as was life under law. Instead grand principles are provided whereby we may test all things if occasion should ever arise where we were in doubt as to what we should do. For such principles the following verses should be carefully studied:

    Romans 6:4;
    2 Corinthians 6:17;
    Ephesians 4:1;
    Ephesians 5:1, 8, 15;
    Colossians 1:10;
    Colossians 4:5;
    1 Thessalonians 2:12;
    1 Thessalonians 4:1;
    1 John 2:6.

    Miscellaneous Duties

    Beyond all that has been said in this article, there are still other duties which the earnest believer would do well to consider: duties toward the lower creation; responsibilities with regard to human government; special duties devolving upon particular classes, such as the unmarried, husbands, wives, children, servants.

     2 And do not (C) be conformed to (D) this world, but be transformed by the (E) renewing of your mind, so that you may (F) prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

    "You, STOP conforming to this world!" The very opposite of the giving of yourself to God’s task at hand is being Conformed to this World. Allowing yourself to disregard the calling of God, His Holy Spirit, and His Son is the result of your becoming conformed to this world – which is under the control of the evil one. Not following the demands of your Lord places you under the jurisdiction of Satan himself.

    Only when you place yourself into the position of obedience to the call of God do you receive the opportunity to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Renewing your mind, according to Paul, is changing your attitude from disobedience to obedience.
    Then, and then only, will you prove (test and make certain) what the will of God is. Like the testing of a gold coin, it will prove itself to be good, acceptable, and perfect.


     3 For through (G) the grace given to me I say to everyone among you (H) 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 (I) each a measure of faith.

    “People of faith,” are those whom God has chosen out from “all the world,” to be His, and is expressed in the individual as those who have believed or received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    Each member of the Body of Christ (each a person of faith) has been given certain tools and abilities, personalities and strengths, weaknesses and a sense of calling. Each believer has been given a “package” with everything in it they need to function as their individual part of the Body of Christ.

    We often speak of the spiritual gifts as the package, but they are only a part of the total package of needed tools and skills.

    The study of insects, especially bees and ants, teaches us the importance of knowing our part in the whole and the ramifications of doing or not doing our part. Within the ant colony there are queens, males, drones, workers, feeders, foragers, nurses, even digesters. There are builders, repairers, cleaners, trash pickers, food cutters, nurses, healers, embalmers and communications specialists. Every ant knows his or her part in the process. They may not know the “big picture” but they know that the success of the colony very much depends upon each individual doing their part. The forager who goes off and smells the daisies instead of bring them back home for food may cost the colony the lives of its young – very serious business indeed.

    Why is it that the local Body of Christ seems to be made up of nothing but self important individuals and everyone else must serve them? Don’t we get the “big picture?” Just as in the ant colony the function of every called (Called by God) member is mandated by Him and empowered by Him so that the whole Body of Christ is built up and sustained. Paul is about to take us all to task over these issues.

     4 For (J) just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,

    Think about your human body for a moment. Even in Paul’s day the body was a collection of individual parts that were “strung together.” The big pieces are easy to identify – head, torso, arms, abdomen, legs, feet.

    Then there are the in-between pieces – neck, shoulders, joints, skin, ears, nose, mouth, and eyes.

    Then you would expect the identification of parts to get easier – but, NO! The body is, in fact, extremely complex in its design. The eyes alone are unable to be described in less than several volumes. Our ears are just the outward appearance of a collection of hundreds of tiny objects that give us the gift of hearing. The tongue offers us amazing dexterity and coordination as it mediates our food and makes our thoughts communicable through speech.

    There is the liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, stomach, lungs, heart, lymph systems, blood systems, oxygenation systems, food intake and waste elimination.

    If that weren’t enough each organ is a universe of cells, data, and purpose. Every tiny piece, it seems, is make up of thousands of smaller pieces, that are made up of thousands of smaller pieces – on and on.

    As much as possible, you, are the head of your complex machine. Your brain controls most of your conscious actions and many of your unconscious ones. Even those parts of the human system that seem to be almost autonomous – report to the brain. When something goes amiss in our body, we can almost immediately see the ramifications of those problems. Sniffles, colds, diseases, and injuries all report into the brain. Those we can overcome, we can overcome. Those which we cannot overcome bring about deformity, discontinuity, and/or death.

    Each and every miniscule part has its part to play and is ultimately ruled by the Head (the brain).

     5 so we, (K) who are many, are (L) one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

    So it is with the Body of Christ … there are big parts, medium sized parts, and little parts. Each part is dependant upon the well being and function of all the other parts. When a part of the body fails – the whole body suffers. If the failure is consequential – then the failure of the body is immanent. With the failure of a major component of the body comes death to the whole.

    6 Since we have gifts that (M) differ according to the grace given to us,


    each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if (N) prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

    It doesn’t mater what gift was given – for it was given according to the proportion of your faith. Your faith was given to you as a gift therefore the Gift Given perfectly matches the Faith Given.

    There is not room in the economy of God’s kingdom for the believer to say, “Oh, if I only had the faith of such-and-such,” or “Oh, I have a gift – but never an opportunity to use it.” The Gift and the Grace come only in pairs.

    Here’s a partial list of some of the Gifts that have their matching component of Grace – when they come from the Lord. Each is a package, the gift, and How it is to be implemented.

     7  if (O) service, in his serving; or
    he who (
    P) teaches, in his teaching;
    8or he who (Q) exhorts, in his exhortation;
    he who gives, with [
    a] (R) liberality;
    S) he who leads, with diligence;
    he who shows mercy, with (
    T) cheerfulness.

    What is EACH GIFT for…

     9 Let (U) love be without hypocrisy
    V) Abhor what is evil;
    cling to what is good.
    10 Be (
    W) devoted to one another in brotherly love;
    give preference to one another (
    X) in honor;
    11 not lagging behind in diligence,
    Y) fervent in spirit,
    Z) serving the Lord;
    12 (
    AA) rejoicing in hope,
    AB) persevering in tribulation,
    AC) devoted to prayer,
    13 (
    AD) contributing to the needs of the saints,
    AE) practicing hospitality.
    14 (
    AF) Bless those who persecute [b] you; bless and do not curse.
    15 (
    AG) Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
    16 (
    AH) Be of the same mind toward one another;
    AI) do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly
    AJ) Do not be wise in your own estimation.
    17 (
    AK) Never pay back evil for evil to anyone
    AL) Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

    18 If possible, (AM) so far as it depends on you, (AN) be at peace with all men.
    19 (
    AO) Never take YOUR OWN revenge, beloved, but LEAVE ROOM FOR THE WRATH OF GOD, for it is written, "(AP) VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

     20"(AQ) BUT

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



    1. Romans 12:8 Or simplicity
    2. Romans 12:14 Two early mss do not contain you

    Cross references:

    Romans 12:1 : 1 Cor 1:10; 2 Cor 10:1-4; Eph 4:1; 1 Pet 2:11
    Romans 12:1 : Rom 6:13, 16, 19; 1 Cor 6:20; Heb 13:15; 1 Pet 2:5
    Romans 12:2 : 1 Pet 1:14
    Romans 12:2 : Matt 13:22; Gal 1:4; 1 John 2:15
    Romans 12:2 : Eph 4:23; Titus 3:5
    Romans 12:2 : Eph 5:10, 17; Col 1:9
    Romans 12:3 : Rom 1:5; 15:15; 1 Cor 3:10; 15:10; Gal 2:9; Eph 3:7
    Romans 12:3 : Rom 11:20; 12:16
    Romans 12:3 : 1 Cor 7:17; 2 Cor 10:13; Eph 4:7; 1 Pet 4:11
    Romans 12:4 : 1 Cor 12:12-14; Eph 4:4, 16
    Romans 12:5 : 1 Cor 10:17, 33
    Romans 12:5 : 1 Cor 12:20, 27; Eph 4:12, 25
    Romans 12:6 : Rom 12:3; 1 Cor 7:7; 12:4; 1 Pet 4:10
    Romans 12:6 : Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 12:10
    Romans 12:7 : Acts 6:1; 1 Cor 12:5, 28
    Romans 12:7 : Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 12:28; 14:26
    Romans 12:8 : Acts 4:36; 11:23; 13:15
    Romans 12:8 : 2 Cor 8:2; 9:11, 13
    Romans 12:8 : 1 Cor 12:28; 1 Tim 5:17
    Romans 12:8 : 2 Cor 9:7
    Romans 12:9 : 2 Cor 6:6; 1 Tim 1:5
    Romans 12:9 : 1 Thess 5:21
    Romans 12:10 : John 13:34; 1 Thess 4:9; Heb 13:1; 2 Pet 1:7
    Romans 12:10 : Rom 13:7; Phil 2:3; 1 Pet 2:17
    Romans 12:11 : Acts 18:25
    Romans 12:11 : Acts 20:19
    Romans 12:12 : Rom 5:2
    Romans 12:12 : Heb 10:32, 36
    Romans 12:12 : Acts 1:14
    Romans 12:13 : Rom 15:25; 1 Cor 16:15; 2 Cor 9:1; Heb 6:10
    Romans 12:13 : Matt 25:35; 1 Tim 3:2
    Romans 12:14 : Matt 5:44; Luke 6:28; 1 Cor 4:12
    Romans 12:15 : Job 30:25; Heb 13:3
    Romans 12:16 : Rom 15:5; 2 Cor 13:11; Phil 2:2; 4:2; 1 Pet 3:8
    Romans 12:16 : Rom 11:20; 12:3
    Romans 12:16 : Prov 3:7; Rom 11:25
    Romans 12:17 : Prov 20:22; 24:29; Rom 12:19
    Romans 12:17 : 2 Cor 8:21
    Romans 12:18 : Rom 1:15
    Romans 12:18 : Mark 9:50; Rom 14:19
    Romans 12:19 : Prov 20:22; 24:29; Rom 12:17
    Romans 12:19 : Deut 32:35; Ps 94:1; 1 Thess 4:6; Heb 10:30
    Romans 12:20 : 2 Kin 6:22; Prov 25:21; Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27

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