- Christians Are To Serve One Another With Their God-given Abilities
God has gifted each
Christian with certain abilities or spiritual gifts. One of the ways that
Christians are to bring their lives (as "living sacrifices") into obedience to
God is to use the abilities that God has given them to serve others in the local
church body (cf. 1 Pet 4:10, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received
to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms")
For by the grace given me
[as an apostle and
possessor of many spiritual gifts]
[Paul begins this section
on spiritual gifts with a caution that we should be careful not to overrate
ourselves (or our abilities) but instead we should evaluate ourselves in
terms of the truth that God has given us.]:
I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you
but rather think of yourself with sober
in accordance with the measure of faith
[=standard of faith, i.e.
the Word of God] God
has given you.
||Just as each of us has
one body with many members,
and these members do not all have the same
[Just as each individual
part of the human body performs a different (and necessary) function, so
each member of the local church "body" must carry out his or her individual
function(s) in order to benefit the other church members.
So as we discover what individual abilities God has given us, we should
think about how we can use those abilities to benefit the church body as a
||so in Christ we who are
many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.
||We have different
gifts, according to the grace given us.
If a man's gift is
let him use it in proportion to his faith
[= according to the standard of
faith, cf. Cranfield p.621].
New Testament times, prophesy was a communication of the mind of God
imparted to a believer by the Holy Spirit.
Prophesying may have involved a prediction (cf. Agabus, Acts 11:28;
At other times prophesying may have involved an indication of the will
of God in a given situation (cf. 1 Cor. 14:29-30; Acts 13:1-2). (NIV
Study Bible, note on 1 Cor 12:10, p.1750)
In New Testament times,
prophesying often served the same role that preaching serves in most
modern church settings:
- 1 Corinthians
14:3 - But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their
strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
- 1 Corinthians 14:31 - For you can all prophesy in turn so
that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.]
||If it is
let him serve;
[The word translated
"serving" here is from the Greek word
from which we get our English word deacon.
Paul may in fact be referring here to the abilities involved in being a
deacon, but the word could certainly include anyone attending to the
physical needs of the local church body.]
if it is teaching, let
[A teacher takes what
God has given us in His Word and breaks it down so that others in the
church can better understand it.
Teaching generally takes place in one of two arenas:
See for example Paul’s statement to the Ephesian elders:
Acts 20:20 - You know that I have not hesitated to preach
anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you
house to house. ]
|| if it is
encouraging, let him
here is from the
paraklesis which can mean to
“beg, urge; encourage, speak words of encouragement; request, ask, appeal
to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon”
if it is
contributing to the needs of
others, let him give generously;
[The "contributing" here could
be giving of what is one's own, or it could be referring to distribution of
the funds given by others. ]
if it is
leadership, let him govern
Paul may be referring here to
the function of the elders, but what is said here applies to informal
leaders in the church as well.
“The government of the church, in correcting abuses, preventing disorders,
and in the administration of discipline, calls for constant vigilance and
Hodge on Romans, p.393)]
if it is
let him do it cheerfully.
One who showed mercy was one who
cared for the sick, the poor, or the aged.
Paul teaches that this gift should be exercised cheerfully for as Calvin
“For nothing gives more solace to the sick or to anyone otherwise
distressed, than to see men cheerful and prompt in assisting them... to
observe sadness in ... those by whom assistance is given, makes [those being
cared for] feel despised”
(John Calvin on Romans, p.463)]