Romans 12:9-13 - Christians Are To Serve One Another In Love

Paul here addresses the motive that Christians are to have in serving one another.

12:9 Love must be sincere [genuine, not in words only].
Hate what is evil
[injurious to others];
cling to what is good
[beneficial to others].
12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

[Christians should have the kind of devotion and affection towards one another that close family members have for one another]

Honor one another above yourselves.

[Compare this with what Paul teaches in another letter:

  • Philippians 2:3-7 -  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.]
12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

[The temptation to “lose stream” in our lifelong responsibility to reverence God in every aspect of our lives, to become lazy and complacent in our pursuit of what is “good, well pleasing to God, and perfect,” is a natural one – but must be strenuously resisted (Douglas Moo, p. 778)]

12:12 Be joyful in hope [expectation of future good], patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

[Even as we “rejoice in hope” gaining confidence from God’s promise that we will share in the glory of God, we recognize the “down side”: the path to the culmination of hope is strewn with tribulations. Paul, ever the realist knows this; and so. . . he quickly moves from hope to the need for endurance. At the same time, we realize our ability to continue to rejoice and to “bear up under” our tribulations is dependent on the degree to which we heed Paul’s challenge to “persist in prayer”. (Douglas Moo, p. 778)]

12:13 Share with God's people who are in need.

["The joy or sorrow of one member, is the joy or sorrow of all the others. The necessities of one are, or should be, a common burden.” (Charles Hodge on Romans, p.397)]

Practice hospitality.

TEV: open your homes to strangers