Romans xii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. With this chapter St. Paul begins his second part, in which he gives us most excellent lessons of morality, after which every Christian should aim to form his life, and thus resemble Jesus Christ and his saints. (Haydock) — That you present your bodies a living sacrifice. And how must this be done? says St. Chrysostom, hom. xx. Let the eye abstain from sinful looks and glances, and it is a sacrifice; the tongue from speaking ill, and it is a sacrifice, &c. — Your reasonable service, or worship,[1] from you; nothing being more reasonable, than for men to serve God with their souls and bodies, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 2. Take care, lest you imitate the practices of worldlings. Let your heart, your ambition, carry you to heaven: ever despise those things which the world admires, that every one may see by your actions that you are not of the society of worldlings, and have neither regard nor friendship for them. (Calmet) — Transform yourselves into new men, by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern on all occasions, what is most perfect, most pleasing and acceptable to God. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 3. To be wise unto sobriety. Not pretending to be more wise, or more knowing than you are. — As God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. The sense by what follows is, that every one make the best use, for the glory of God, and the good of his neighbour, of the gifts and graces which he hath received together with the faith of Christ; i.e. of prophecy, or the gift of interpreting past prophecies, or of foretelling things to come, of exhorting, of ministering as to those functions which belong to the ministers of the gospel, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 9. The apostle does not here prohibit that defence, by which a person, either by word or action, preserves himself from injury. This he could not condemn, since he had so often recourse to it himself, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles: and in the second [epistle] to Timothy, he writes: “In my first defence no one was with me.” Be he only forbids that revenge which a person takes of his neighbour, by private means, without having recourse to legal authority. (Estius)

Ver. 13. Communicating [2] to the necessities of the saints. Making them partakers of what you have, by relieving them. (Witham)

Ver. 16. Condescending to the humble, in the spirit of charity and sweetness. See Luke ii. 48. (Witham)

Ver. 18. If it be possible,….have peace with all. That is, if it can be without prejudice to truth or justice, &c. And even when others wrong you, seek not to revenge yourselves, but leave your cause to God. Do good offices even to those that do evil to you. (Witham)

Ver. 19. Give place to wrath. That we do, says St. Chrysostom, when we leave all to God, and endeavour to return good for evil. (Witham)

Ver. 20. Thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. This figurative way of speaking is differently expounded. Some say, inasmuch as by this means thou shalt make him liable to greater punishments from God. Others, as St. Jerome and St. Augustine, by coals of fire, understand kindnesses and benefits, which shall touch the heart, and inflame the affections even of thy enemies, which shall make them sorry for what they have done, and become thy friends. (Witham)

Ver. 21. This is the apostle’s conclusion of the foregoing instructions. Be not overcome by the malice of thy enemy, so as to wish to revenge thyself, without leaving all to the just judgment of God; but overcome his malice by thy kindness. This is complied with, when upon occasion of injuries received we always make a return of kindness, and in proportion as the malice of our enemies increases, our spirit of benevolence should also increase. (Estius)


[1] Ver. 1. Rationabile obsequium, logiken latreian.

[2] Ver. 13. Communicantes; koinonountes. Koinonein is often used by St. Paul for making others sharers by giving to them.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Lessons of Christian virtues.

1 I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, *that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be reformed in the newness of your mind: *that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety: *and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith.

4 For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one, members one of another.

6 And having gifts different, according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, according to the proportion of faith,

7 Or ministry, in ministering: or he that teacheth, in doctrine,

8 He that exhorteth in exhorting; he that giveth with simplicity; he that ruleth with solicitude, he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness.

9 Love without dissimulation. *Hating that which is evil, adhering to that which is good:

10 *Loving one another with brotherly love; in honour preventing one another:

11 In solicitude not slothful: in spirit fervent: serving the Lord:

12 Rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer:

13 Communicating to the necessities of the saints: *pursuing hospitality.

14 Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep:

16 Being of one mind one towards another: not high-minded: but condescending to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits:

17 Rendering to no man evil for evil: *providing things good, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men.

18 *If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men.

19 *Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved: but give place to wrath, for it is written: **Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 *But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat: if he thirst, give him drink: for, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 *Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.



1: Philippians iv. 18.

2: Ephesians v. 17.; 1 Thessalonians iv. 3.

3: 1 Corinthians xii. 11.; Ephesians iv. 7.

9: Amos v. 15.

10: Ephesians iv. 3.; 1 Peter ii. 17.

13: Hebrews xiii. 2.; 1 Peter iv. 9.

17: 2 Corinthians viii. 21.

18: Hebrews xii. 14.

19: Ecclesiasticus xxviii. 1. and ii. 3. — ** Matthew 5. 39.[v. 39.?]

20: Deuteronomy xxxii. 35.; Hebrews 10. 30.[x. 30.?]

21: Proverbs xxv. 21.