Romans 12:3 - 16: Thanksgiving for the Measure of Faith God has Given to Each Member of Christ’s Body Who are Called Saints:Volume 5, Number 35
Created Date: November 25, 2021
Posted Date: November 25, 2021
(Note: this study has been edited/updated on the Website since first published on November 25, 2021.)
Today, we’ll begin with the 34th occasion of the word “faith” in Romans; “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”. Paul makes it clear that God inspired what he wrote: “through the grace given unto me,” which repeats the opening words of Romans: “By whom (God) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” . This is addressed “to every man that is among you,” Romans 12:3, which also repeats opening words of Romans: “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” . It was by pure grace that God appointed Paul as His apostle to give instructions to all who are loved by God, called saints. Note the words “to be” are not in the original manuscripts, so all true believers are “called saints.” The Greek word translated “called” means “divinely selected” and “saints” means “holy, set aside, separate.” Therefore, we can know God divinely selected and set aside believers to His use, just as Paul was divinely selected as an Apostle of God, .
Saints are: “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” The words “of himself” were added by the translators as they are not in the original manuscripts. According to Bullinger’s book “Figures of Speech in the Bible,” page 126, both words “think” and “highly” in the phrase “to think of himself more highly than” are translated from the Greek verb “hyperphroneo,” found only in this verse in the New Testament (NT). Bullinger indicates this phrase means “to think more than one ought, not merely of oneself, but of anything. It denotes especially a high-mindedness about any subject, which makes one proud, arrogant, boastful or insolent.” And, just as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, Romans 12:3b;indicates God distributes spiritual gifts in different measures and he who has a measure larger than another is not on that account to be proud, or to think on any subject beyond his own measure. This is contrary to human nature, which is to become “proud, arrogant, boastful or insolent” when having more knowledge than others. Saints are to guard against such an attitude.
Saints are exhorted “to think soberly.” The Greek word translated “soberly” is “sophroneo,” found 9 times in the NT. It is translated “in his right mind” in the first two occurrences in the NT, regarding a man who had been possessed of demons but was healed by Jesus: “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”. See also . In Paul exhorts Titus to teach young men “to be soberly minded,” this phrase being translated from “Sophroneo." Thinking soberly or in one’s right mind is “according (or even) as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,” Romans 12:3b. The Greek word translated “measure,” is “metron” found 13 times in the NT, always translated measure. According to Strong, it means “a measure, literally or figuratively; by implication, a portion (degree).” The first time it appears in the NT is when Jesus was teaching about meting out judgment to others: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” .
Continuing in Romans we read “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;” Romans 12:6. (The phrase “let us prophesy” is not in the original.) The word translated “proportion” is translated from the Greek word “analogia” found only here in the NT. The dictionary defines proportion as “an amount that is a part of a whole.” In the early church at the time of Paul, some were given the gift of prophesy according to the proportion of faith given them. Prophesy was not foretelling future events, it was a gift enabling them to preach/teach God’s Word prior to the time the NT was completed. Paul foretold the end of the gift of prophesy as well as certain other gifts prevalent at that time: “Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”. “That which is perfect” occurred when the entire NT was completed.
But, whereas the gift of prophesy, tongues and knowledge vanished away, God still allots the “proportion of faith” in other gifts to members of the Body of Christ: “Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 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.”. Then, lists characteristics that should be manifest in Members of Christ’s Body; their love is to be sincere and not unfeigned or with hypocrisy, they are to abhor evil, cling to that which is good; have true love for one another; not sluggish in earnestness; serving the Lord; rejoicing in the expectation they have for their future in the Lord’s presence; patiently enduring trials; in constant prayer; assisting those saints who are in need; not cursing those who persecute them but blessing them and have true empathy with fellow saints in either their happiness or sorrow.
Saints are to “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”. This too, is contrary to human nature, which strives for elevated status or expressed pride in contacts with the rich, famous and powerful of the world. Ah contraire! Saints are to condescend to men of low estate. The word “condescend” is from the Greek word “sunapago,” which means to “take off together, that is transport with (seduce, passively yield), carry (lead) away with, condescend.” And the entire phrase “to men of low estate” is a translation of the one Greek word “tapeinos, which means “base, cast down, humble, of low degree (estate), lowly.”
Paul emphasizes or finalizes this teaching in Romans in his letter to the Ephesians: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” . “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” . “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” .