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Romans 12:7-8

Members One of Another

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 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.

Yesterday I said that I preferred James Dunn's translation of these verses and the way that he connects them to verse 5, so let me remind the reader what they say. "5 So we all are one body in Christ and individually members of one another--- 6 Having charisms which differ in accordance with the grace given to us, whether prophecy in proportion to faith, 7 or service in service, or he who teaches in teaching, 8 or he who encourages in encouraging, he who shares with sincere concern, he who cares with zest, he who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness."

So we are all members one of another, having different gifts such as are in this list of seven. The first and most important was prophecy (v.6) and the second is service or ministry. The Greek διακονίαν (diakonian) is used to represent all kinds of ministry or service being acted out in service to others. It could refer here, however, to those pastors and evangelists who minister the word of God. Pastors would have a wider range of ministry responsibilities and would certainly be next in importance to the church. This would be in keeping with the order of importance as seen in Ephesians 4:11.

He that teaches would then be gifted in the art of teaching. His ministry responsibilities would be more limited... to studying and understanding the word of God and then having the gift of conveying that information clearly to others.

Members of the church are called upon to exhort or encourage one another. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) Some will be especially gifted in this area and so are important to the other members in the area of encouraging them.

Those who are gifted to share or to give are gifted in such a way as to do it with simplicity of heart, with no other motive than to care for others. They are generous and loving people who might be the most important in the church, because they foster the sense of family or the feeling of community.

"he that ruleth, with diligence," Most translators agree on the word ruleth or leadeth, but the word can also be used in the sense of placing others before yourself. Dunn's translation assumes that this is the preferred meaning, because of Paul's habit of listing things in their order of priority. He would have placed the gift of leading near the top of the list. Thus, he translates it as, "he who cares with zest."

Finally, we have the gift of showing mercy to others. This would probably have been those within the church who cared for the sick, visited those in prison, or took the homeless, the widows, or the orphans into their homes to care for them. It is difficult to imagine anyone who had this gift not doing it with a cheerful heart. Acts of mercy bring a special joy to those to whom we minister, and it would be difficult for the caretaker not to be filled with the same feeling of joy.

These are some of the gifts that are given to the individual members of the church. Each one has a gift that God has bestowed upon him or her with which to bless the church. At some time in our Christian life we will need someone with one or more of these gifts to minister to us in their area of expertise. It is that need that connects us to one another and makes us members one of another as Paul stated in verse 5.

Before The Throne:

Continue to pray about your gift(s). Ask God where He wants you to serve in your church. Who needs to benefit from your gifts today? Thank Him for allowing you to be a part of His ministry, caring for His people, and reaching out to bring others to Him. Take your ministry seriously and pray for the things you need to make it succeed.

For Further Study:

ministry. Isa 21:8; Ezek 3:17-21; Ezek 33:7-9; Matt 24:45-47; Luke 12:42-44; Acts 20:20; Acts 20:28; Col 4:17; 1Tim 4:16; 2Tim 4:2; 1Pet 5:1-4; ** or he. Deut 33:10; 1Sam 12:23; Ps 34:11; Ps 51:13; Eccl 12:9; Matt 28:19; John 3:2; Acts 13:1; Gal 6:6; Eph 4:11; Col 1:28-29; 1Tim 2:7; 1Tim 3:2; 1Tim 5:17; 2Tim 2:2, 24;

(v.8 ) ** exhorteth. Acts 13:15; Acts 15:32; Acts 20:2; 1Cor 14:3; 1Thess 2:3; 1Tim 4:13; Heb 10:25; Heb 13:22; ** giveth. Deut 15:8-11, 14; Job 31:16-20; Ps 112:9; Prov 22:9; Eccl 11:1; Eccl 11:2; Eccl 11:6; Isa 32:5, 8; Isa 58:7-11; Matt 6:2-4; Matt 25:40; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:33-35; Acts 11:28-30; 2Cor 8:1-9, 12; 1Thess 2:8; 1Pet 4:9-11; ** with simplicity. 2Cor 1:12; 2Cor 8:2; 2Cor 11:3; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22; ** ruleth. Rom 13:6; Gen 18:19; Ps 101:1-8; Acts 13:12; Acts 20:28; 1Cor 12:28; 1Thess 5:12-14; 1Tim 3:4-5; 1Tim 5:17; Heb 13:7; Heb 13:17; Heb 13:24; 1Pet 5:2; 1Pet 5:3; ** with diligence. Ec 9:10; ** shewth. Deut 16:11, 14-15; Ps 37:21; Isa 64:5; 2Cor 9:7;


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