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Romans 12:12-13

One Body United

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.


As we walk through this epistle one or two verses at a time, we should remember to always go back and read them in their proper context. This paragraph began in the tenth verse and is not completely understood outside of that context. Please review vv 10-11 before proceeding with this study.

James Dunn says, "The more individual exhortations of vv 11-12 are framed by the emphasis on mutual interdependence and communal support (vv 10,13). Zestful spirituality and patient hope cannot be sustained by the individual on his or her own, but only with the support of the congregation functioning as body and family. And such spirituality cannot be maintained apart from practical concern for the physical well-being of all members of the congregation." (Dunn, James D.G., Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 38B, p.754; Word Inc. 1988)

So we go back to the tenth verse which tells us to love one another and to be like family. Our passage for today uses five present active participles to describe how we are to serve the Lord together as one family.

"Rejoicing in hope..." This should be a very observable trait of every Christian congregation. We have hope for the future, a future which we neither earned nor deserved, a free and glorious gift from our God. This is the hope that no other people can claim; it is the hope of eternal life. We should rejoice in this hope together, because it will sustain us through every tribulation.

"...patient in tribulation;.." The Greek word is actually stronger than this. "Persevering in tribulation," is closer to the intended meaning. It is our mutual joy and hope that will help us through every trial along with support from the family of God. Joy is infectious and can be maintained even in the worst of circumstances when the congregation continues to remind its members of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Hope and joy give us the strength to stand our ground and persevere when the world pressures us to give up.

"...continuing instant in prayer;..." All of these participles in the Greek text are plurals so we should understand that this describes the congregation as one that persists in praying together. A church is a body of believers who constantly and persistently come before the Lord with one accord in prayer. (See Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; Colossians 2:42) Corporate prayer should be a major part of our worship. Sadly enough it is usually the smallest portion of the service.

"Distributing to the necessity of saints..." The Greek word for "distributing" is again stronger than our English versions. It literally says to "act as partners in the needs of the saints." When one suffers, we all share the suffering and sacrifice to give them what they need. This is a real familial relationship.

"...practice hospitality..." Once again the Greek is a little stronger than our versions. The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges says, "This use confined to Pauline writings (incl. Heb., 1 Pet.); not the mere exercise, but the active search for opportunity is implied. Hospitality, a recognized duty, is to be carefully cultivated; cf. 1Pe 4:9; 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8." Church members are actively seeking to afford their hospitality to others. They enjoy being able to share their home and blessings with others.

These are all important traits that should be present in a healthy church. They are the things that unite us as one body in Christ, the things that give us strength in the face of evil and the things that are so very pleasing to our God.

Before The Throne:

Where does your church need help to improve its participation in the things listed in vv.12-13? Pray for your church and your pastor to be strengthened as a real family. Ask God to show you in which of these areas you should be more diligent. Pray that He will use you to help your church mature. Thank Him and Praise Him for allowing you to be a part of the precious body of Christ.

For Further Study:

(v.12)
** Rejoicing. Rom 5:2-; ; Rom 15:13; Ps 16:9-11; Ps 71:20-23; Ps 73:24-26; Prov 10:28; Prov 14:32; Lam 3:24-26; Hab 3:17-18; Matt 5:12; Luke 10:20; 1Cor 13:13; Phil 3:1; Phil 4:4; Col 1:27; 1Thess 5:8, 16; 2Thess 2:16-17; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:7; Heb 3:6; Heb 6:17-19; 1Pet 1:3-8; 1Pet 4:13; 1John 3:1-3; ** patient. Rom 2:7; Rom 5:3-4; Rom 8:25; Rom 15:4; Ps 37:7; Ps 40:1; Luke 8:15; Luke 21:19; Col 1:11; 1Thess 1:3; 2Thess 1:4; 2Thess 3:5; 1Tim 6:11; 2Tim 3:10; Heb 6:12, 15; Heb 10:36; Heb 12:1; Jas 1:3-4; Jas 5:7, 10-11; 1Pet 2:19-20; 2Pet 1:6; Rev 13:10; ** continuing. Gen 32:24-26; Job 27:8-10; Ps 55:16-17; Ps 62:8; Ps 109:4; Jer 29:12-13; Dan 9:18-19; Luke 11:5-13; Luke 18:1-43; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 6:4; Acts 12:5; 2Cor 12:8; Eph 6:18; Eph 6:19; Phil 4:6; Phil 4:7; Col 4:2; Col 4:12; 1Thess 5:17; Heb 5:7
Jas 5:15-16; 1Pet 4:7; 1John 5:14-15;

(v.13) ** Distributing. Rom 15:25-28; Ps 41:1; Acts 4:35; Acts 9:36-41; Acts 10:4; Acts 20:34-35; 1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 8:1-4; 2Cor 9:1, 12; Gal 6:10; Phlm 1:7; Heb 6:10; Heb 13:16; 1John 3:17; ** given. Gen 18:2-8; Gen 19:1-3; 1Tim 3:2; 1Tim 5:10; Titus 1:8; Heb 13:2; 1Pet 4:9;

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