12:1 I beseech 1 you therefore, brethren, a by the mercies
of God, that ye b present your c bodies a d living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your e
(1) The fourth part of this epistle, which after the finishing
of the principal points of Christian doctrine, consists in
the declaring of precepts of the Christian life. And first
of all he gives general precepts and grounds: the principal
of which is this, that every man consecrate himself wholly
to the spiritual service of God, and do as it were
sacrifice himself, trusting the grace of God.
(a) By this preface he shows that God's glory is the utmost
goal of everything we do.
(b) In times past the sacrifices were presented before the
altar: but now the altar is everywhere.
(c) Yourselves: in times past other bodies besides our own,
but now our own must be offered.
(d) In times past, dead sacrifices were offered, but now we
must offer those which have the spirit of life in them.
12:22 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your f mind, that ye may
prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect,
will of God.
(2) The second precept is this, that we do not take other men's
opinions or conduct as a rule for life, but that we wholly
renounce this world, and set before us as our mark the will
of God as is manifested and revealed to us in his word.
(f) This is the reason that there is no room left for
reason, which the heathen philosophers place as a queen
in a castle, nor for man's free will, which the popish
scholars dream of, because the mind must be renewed;
(Eph 1:18 2:3 4:17 Col 1:21)
12:33 For I g say, through the grace given unto me, to
every man that is among you, not h to think [of himself]
more highly than he ought to think; but to think i
soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the
measure of k faith.
(3) Thirdly, he admonishes us very earnestly that every man
keep himself within the bounds of his calling, and that
every man be wise according to the measure of grace that
God has given him.
(g) I charge.
(h) That he does not please himself too much, as those do
who persuade themselves they know more than they
(i) We will be sober if we do not take that upon us which
we do not have, and if we do not brag of that which we
(k) By faith he means the knowledge of God in Christ, and
the gifts which the Holy Spirit pours upon the
12:44 For as we have many members in one body, and all
members have not the same office:
(4) There are two reasons for the previous precept: the first
is because God has not committed everything to be done by
every man: and therefore he does backwardly, and
unprofitably, and also to the great disservice of others,
wearying himself and others, who passes the bounds of his
calling: the second is because this diversity and
inequality of vocations and gifts results in our being
benefitted: seeing that this is therefore instituted and
appointed, so that we should be bound one to another. From
which it follows that no man ought to be grieved at this,
seeing that the use of every private gift is common.
12:65 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that
is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy]
according to the l proportion of faith;
(5) That which he spoke before in general, he applies
particularly to the holy functions, in which men are in
greater danger if they sin. And he divides them into two
types: that is, into prophets and deacons: and again he
divides the prophets into teachers and pastors. And of
deacons he makes three types: that is, those who are to be
(as it were) treasurers of the Church, whom he calls
deacons in the most proper sense: the others to be the
governors of discipline, who are called seniors or elders:
the third, those who properly serve in the help of the
poor, such as the widows.
(l) That every man observe the measure of that which is
revealed to him.
12:7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that
m teacheth, on teaching;
(m) Whose office is only to expound the scriptures.
12:8 Or he that n exhorteth, on exhortation: he that o
giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that p
ruleth, with diligence; he that q sheweth mercy, with
(n) Who in other passages is called the "pastor".
(o) That is, the alms, that he distributes them faithfully,
and without any favouritism.
(p) The elders of the church.
(q) Those that are occupied with the care of the poor must
do it with cheerfulness, lest they add sorrow upon
12:96 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which
is evil; cleave to that which is good.
(6) Now he comes to the duties of the second table of the ten
commandments, which he derives from charity, which is as it
were the fountain of them all. And he defines Christian
charity as sincerity, hatred of evil, earnest study of good
things, good affection to help our neighbour, and whose
final goal is the glory of God.
12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; r serving
(r) This verse is well put, for it makes a distinction
between Christian duties, and philosophical duties.
12:127 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing
instant in prayer;
(7) He reckons up different virtues together with their
effects, that is, hope, patience in tribulation, evenness of
mind, continuance in prayer, liberality towards the saints,
hospitality, moderation of mind even in helping our
enemies, feeling the same as others in their adversity as
well as their prosperity, modesty, endeavouring to maintain
honest agreement as much as we are able with all men, which
cannot be extinguished by any man injuring us.
12:13s Distributing to the t necessity of saints; given to
(s) A true rule of charity, that we feel for other men's
wants as we do for our own, and having that feeling,
to help them as much as we can.
(t) Not upon pleasures and needless duties, but upon
12:16 [Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high
things, but condescend to men of u low estate. Be not
x wise in your own conceits.
(u) There is nothing that disrupts harmony as much as
seeking glory, when every man detests a base estate,
and ambitiously seeks to be exalted.
(x) Do not be puffed up with an opinion of your own
12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,
give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap y coals
of fire on his head.
(y) In this manner Solomon points out the wrath of God
which hangs over a man.