To Know Truth Is To Know Love - Understanding Love in the Bible

To God be the Glory Amen Maranatha

2 Corinthians 2:11
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
King James Version (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
King James Version (KJV)
The Absolute Truth -  To know Truth is to know Love
Our source reference used throughout  this study is The King James Bible, and certainly to understand the Bible and this study one must:
Rightly Divide The Word of Truth In 2 Timothy 2:15 God commands His children to. divide meaning apply dispensations to the Bible.  Colossians 1 verse 25 and 1 Corinthians 9:16 how to use*dispensations* in other words, how God divides time, events and people throughout the bible for His different purposes unto Salvation. (To Dispense:  definition: verb: dispense means to distribute handout, divide according need and application. Example: Open a family's medicine cabinet. Prescriptions for Father cannot be dispensed to child etc. Please see links below to understand dispensational truth in the bible.
Properly understand the meaning of the words and the correct grammar application. Example The English word wire used as a noun can be a pliable strand of metallic material used as a structure or to conduct electricity.  As a verb it can mean send a telegram or connect electrical strands to complete an electrical circuit.)
Know proper context.  Taking the example of wire - If I read the following statement, “He stopped by the office to pick up the wire that had been wired from New York.” With the incorrect context, I might interpret this to mean The man picked up wire, metallic strands, that had been assembled or manufactured in New York.

Love, the most overused - out of context,  abused word in the English Language. We've found that evil uses the word love especially taken out of scripture reference to  pervert the truth. In other words using the very word of God against the Saints.
We  see the lost world including 501C3 pagan temples called churches run by Jesuit trained CEOs falsely called pastors and other false teachers misusing and perverting  the word love in the Bible for the purpose of leading people astray. Leading people into passive pawns of Satan.

The Church Today

The Jesus Christ that the secular world and organizations called churches see today is a sappy lovey dovey  man, not God Almighty in the flesh, that just loves on everyone absolutely irregardless of their spiritual condition and eternal destiny. Jesus is wrongly portrayed today as a man on a love mission. Period! Statements like, “God loves you just the way you are because He made you like your are”  - come from the very pit of hell.
Read carefully Revelation 19:11-21. Is this a love feast or wrath waged upon wickedness?
Revelation 19:11-16 King James Version (KJV)
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Jesus Christ is portrayed by the Satanic controlled false church and the worldly media as part of humanity created in mankind's image, (read my testimony linked above in this blog - where a church I visited had the music director say “come on, get up and clap your hands, let's worship this crazy god we serve.” I couldn't run out fast enough, but not without hearing the pastor teach out of a pagan, gnostic eastern eastern mystic book.)  who isn't God but represents a god that loves on any reprobate and self righteous alike - regardless of who they are or what they are or what they do - no matter their sin or philosophy or religion or belief held without any consequence of justice. Period! The entire false perception of Love stays focused at the sacrifice of divine love - yet completely leaving out divine justice that is dispensed hand in hand with divine love.
Today’s fallen world has created a god in their own image. God is LOVE, period! God’s love is unconditional love without any judgment or consequences for sin is the mainstay of today's conventional wisdom.
This carries over to perverting how we Christians as Ambassadors for Jesus Christ
Ambassadors of Jesus Link
are also misled in our Love for *others** (see note below) In making assessments such as:
“Oh don't dare judge that sodomite,  love them
“Love the sinner,  hate the Sin" (a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, not from Jesus Christ.)
Final example comes directly from a supposed Christian website Charisma News, “We should seek to lovingly understand one another on the question of abortion.”
***Note: Others refers to those who are not saved, are not fellow Saints, Christians. These are divided into 2 categories of people. 1 group are those who are fakes,walking in ignorance and deliberate sin 1 Corinthians 5:5, 11, the church member fornicating with his mother. who had been allowed to remain in fellowship until rebuked by Paul.  

Upon examination it is clear the love of Jesus Christ as well as Paul were both divine judgement and Biblical righteous hatred and judgment of the sinner as well as their sin.
Jesus’ condemnation and curse upon the Pharisees in Matthew 23 by 7 woes is not loving the sinner, but rather divine Judgment.

Jesus Christ telling the Pharisees in John 8:42-47 that they are of their father Satan surely does not express loving the sinner in anything less than pure righteousness that demands Judgment.
How about Paul delivering Hymenaeus and Alexander unto Satan? 1 Timothy 1:20.
See Notes below on Biblical Love and Hate Harmonized by Nil Desperandum.

The truth, yes, by God's divine pattern of Love,  I love that Sodomite enough to tell them unless they repent (turn away from their sin of homosexuality) and  accept Jesus as their Savior, they are under God's divine wrath and external Judgment of the lake of fire.
Tell them their lifestyle is not accepted by God, even though our apostate church and civil law say it is. Tell them God does not accept them the way they are, but definitely does not want them to perish, but rather be saved from the sure pending wrath that awaits them.
Let's very clear here.  The absolute binding truth is: Love is conditional and Love demands accountability and justice.  Wherever there's pure love, there's pure discipline along with it.
Jesus spoke more of Judgement and Hell, far more than He did of Love. Teaching and or accepting anything different is promoting and buying into a lie from the pits of hell - the doctrines of demons. And it all starts with a misunderstanding of love and what true love really means.
WARNING: The word of God is clear about teaching lies. Galatians 1:9: “ I say again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” And for followers of false teaching, you are not approved by God for not studying and testing. 2 Timothy 2:15 and 1 John 4:1.
The true meaning of purest true perfect Godly Love is found in the Bible appearing first in Genesis 22:2.    הַמֹּרִיָּ֑ה Hebrew transliteration “Ahavah” meaning godly form of Love.  When taking each Hebrew letter of the word love used here to mean:  God The Father reveals Himself to us through His only begotten Son.”
וַיֹּ֡אמֶר קַח־נָ֠א אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֙בְתָּ֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְלֶךְ־לְךָ֔ אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּ֑ה וְהַעֲלֵ֤הוּ שָׁם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ה עַ֚ל אַחַ֣ד הֶֽהָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֹמַ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ׃
Genesis 22:2 King James Version (KJV) And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Note: See Dr. John Hiton Phd study below. Begotten.  Jesus the only Begotten Son of God John 3:16 and also was Isaac the only begotten son of Abraham Hebrews 11:17. Only time only begotten son used in Bible was for Jesus of God and Isaac of Abraham. Isaac was not Abraham's only son. But Isaac was his only begotten son, the child of promise. Who represents the perfect type of the Messiah,  The Redeemer Jesus Christ who willingly carried his cross to calvary and laid down his life as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of God's wrath which was poured out on him. This is very important to understand when understanding the meaning of the word love first mentioned here in Genesis 22:2.
Using the law of first mention  (See Link to explain significance of God using a first mention in Scripture. )  God's use of the first appearance of the word love in Genesis 22:2 *God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son* - Is the type and foreshadowing of God giving his only begotten son as a sacrifice to pay for sin. Next God's wrath was delivered upon His son on the cross. Study this link about what really happened on the cross causing Jesus to say, My God. my God, why have you forsaken me? Note: Jesus did not only feel forsaken, but he was literally forsaken by God the Father of the godhead.
Jesus did not merely feel forsaken. He was forsaken by God himself. God The Father turned His back on His Only Begotten Son.
This right here is true Love. Because, if God didn't truly love His creation (those, that whom, which belonged to him) He never would have turned His back on His only begotten Son.
Only a True Born again Christian (because of being filled by the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration) can apprehend and spirituality comprehend and apply True Love Ahavah (Hebrew)  - Agape (Greek) . The Unsaved people can not. Only the spiritual can understand the spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But God has revealed to Christians by his Spirit. We Christians have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians  2:14, 2:10, 2:16.
Of course strong argument can be made that the heathen is capable of apprehending the strong bonds of love. These forms of love can be only phileo (brotherly) storge (parental) or eros (sexual). But never Agape. (see notes below)
God hates sin and his wrath is revealed against sin. Genesis 22:2 Gives us the Planned Paradigm - Foundation of the Importance and meaning of the word LOVE and the doctrine of true Love in its proper context.
This perfect love thread is found in John 1:18 and John 3:14, 16 as perfectly connected to Genesis 22:2.  
John 1:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
***A must here is to perfectly understand the KJV Bible based Godhead vs the pagan concept of Trinity. The Godhead is only 1 God with 3 parts (God the Father = God's soul, Son of God, Jesus Christ = God's image, Holy Spirit - God Spirit. All scriptures are on link below) The unbiblical pagan concept of 1 God in 3 persons as taught by Vatican and most of the apostate protestant churches of today is never taught or the word used in the KJV Bible.  ****Link GODHEAD LINK***
John 3:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
◄ John 3:16 ►
John 3 - Click for Chapter
16   3779 Οὕτως Thus  Adv 1063 [e]gar γὰρ
for Conj 25 [e] ēgapēsen ἠγάπησεν  loved
V-AIA-3S 3588 [e]  Art-NMS 2316 [e] Theos
Θεὸς God N-NMS 3588 [e] ton τὸν the Art-AMS 2889 [e] kosmon κόσμον  ,world N-AMS
5620 [e] hōste ὥστε
As Ahavah used in Hebrew to express true godly love, the Greek word Agape is used in the New Testament to express true Godly love.
agapaó: to love
Original Word: ἀγαπάω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: agapaó
Phonetic Spelling: (ag-ap-ah'-o)
Short Definition: I love
Definition: I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem.
HELPS Word-studies
Cognate: 25 agapáō – properly, to prefer, to love; for the believer, preferring to "live through Christ" (1 Jn 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God's will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power. 25 (agapáō) preeminently refers to what God prefers as He "is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16). See 26 (agapē).
With the believer, 25 /agapáō ("to love") means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (by His power and direction). True 25 /agapáō ("loving") is always defined by God – a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection" (WS, 477). 1 Jn 4:8,16,17 for example convey how loving ("preferring," 25 /agapáō) is Christ living His life through the believer.
The secret here revealed by God's grace is hidden in Genesis 22:2 connected to John 1:18, 3:14,16 .
The key to Understanding the essence of true Love in the Bible is a perfect understanding of God asking (not ordering) Abraham to sacrifice his only son, connecting this to God The Father of the godhead - willingly, without question or reservation lifting up by free will His only begotten Son (The very image, form of God Himself manifested in human flesh - Jesus Christ in the godhead) - The Son, Jesus Christ willingly and obediently obeying the perfect will of the Father by laying down His life- Bearing perfect witness to and by the Holy Spirit.
God hates sin so much that he literally poured out His Divine Wrath on His only Begotten Son - Jesus Christ.
God’s wrath is satisfied in Christ.
Please study please study God pours out his Divine wrath on his only begotten son the study and Isaiah
How do false teachers standing on God only Lives to Love deal with these scriptures?
Malachi 1:1-3 King James Version (KJV)
1 The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
2 I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob,
3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness
King James Version Romans 9:13
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
I like John Bunyan,  author of Pilgrim's Progress sermon to discuss God's love & His hate.
Bunyan's Last Sermon --Preached July 1688.
"’Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;’ John 1:13. The words have a dependence on what goes before, and therefore I must direct you to them for the right understanding of it. You have it thus,--”’He came to his own, but his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.’" In …
by John Bunyan—Miscellaneous Pieces
More proof of God's divine love not tolerating one living soul that is defiled for not accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior.  
1 Samuel 15:3 King James Version
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Using the 3 highlighted “how to use the Bible” applications above along with the example of a convincing lie hidden between 2 truths, let's examine John 3:16 and other “Love” Bible passages.  Notice how the truth of God's love for the world is used as a lie to purport unconditional love God bestows upon all mankind, regardless of man's faith.
 *[[John 3:16]] KJV* For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For G1063 God G2316 so G3779 loved G25 the world G2889, that G5620 he gave G1325 his G846 only begotten G3439 Son G5207, that G2443 whosoever G3956 believeth G4100 in G1519 him G846 should G622 not G3361 perish G622, but G235 have G2192 everlasting G166 life G2222
loved G25 - agápē – Godly Love, not carnal or emotional. properly, love which centers in moral preference. So too in secular ancient Greek, 26 (agápē) focuses on preference; likewise the verb form (25 /agapáō) in antiquity meant "to prefer". In the NT, 26 (agápē) typically refers to divine love (= what God prefers).
(note: agape love meaning had been perverted in the early church to mean a love feast of brotherly love in breaking bread *remembering the Lord’s last supper* which which was later connected to the Catholic Pagan Eucharist itself, here's further details Link. ) Also note the King James version translates agape as Charity in its proper context as God's expression of true caring Christian love vs an emotional feeling of passion or emotional desire.
world G2889 - kósmos (literally, "something ordered") – properly, an "ordered system" (like the universe, creation); the world.
God loved his creation.  Note: By properly understanding world in proper context,we also understand that Ephesians Chapter 1; John 3:14-21, 35,36, John Chapter 17; 1 Peter 1:4-5; 2 Peter  2:5-8 are clear that God knew before time who belong to him- who'd receive him and who would not, even though God wants none to perish- 2 Peter 3:9. 1 Timothy 2:4. God created man with a sovereign will to choose his own destiny. Genesis 2:16-17,  Revelation 3:20.
Truth: God Loved His creation in a supernatural perfect love and as such to save it from eternal Judgement *because perfect love demands perfect accountability and justice, (see harmonizing love and hate in the Bible link Biblical Love and Hate Harmonized  ) after the fall (of Adam and Eve in the garden), God the Father (of the godhead, see link on understanding the biblical godhead vs the pagan trinity GODHEAD LINK ) sent His son Jesus Christ the bodily form and image of God (see Godhead link) to save creation from its pending destruction.
Lie: God Loves The World. Period! God loves all the world in its lost state as it is (even conflicting with the other scriptures in the Bible warning against loving the world (see 1 John 2:15 “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” )  GOD LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY in your sin… (even though your conscience convicts you of your sin, never mind) you don't have to change your sin because he loves you so much, even in your sin, that he sent his son to die for you.
This lie is ever present in the apostate churches of today.  Case in point: Methodist church same sex marriage controversy
Truth: Immediately after John 3:16 (the famed verse posted everywhere these days proclaiming God's unconditional perfect love for the current fallen world) we are given these verses that are never discussed that are directly related to John 3:16.
John 3:17-19, 35-36.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Translation: Because God loved His Creation (those who belong to God, his own know him and He know them. See John 17) in perfect love God sent His perfect Son To save His creation, However it is Only those in his creation who believe on the Son The Lord Jesus Christ, will be saved. All others will be judged to eternal Judgement.
King James Version (KJV)
The world as defined by carnal unregenerate mankind as the fallen world's system.
1 John 2:15,!6
Love G25 not G3361 the world G2889, neither G3366 the things that are in G1722 the world G2889. If G1437 any man G5100 love G25 the world G2889, the love G26 of the Father G3962 is G2076 not G3756 in G1722 him G846.
16  For G3754 all G3956 that is in G1722 the world G2889, the lust G1939 of the flesh G4561, and G2532 the lust G1939 of the eyes G3788, and G2532 the pride G212 of life G979, is G2076 not G3756 of G1537 the Father G3962, but G235 is G2076 of G1537 the world G2889.
In context G2889 - world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
The most common scriptures a Christian learns regarding love beyond the natural tendency to love our family is Love the Lord God with all your heart - Love your neighbor as yourself, and Love your Enemies.  
Christians are taught from early in their faith from Sunday school and onwards to vainly attempt the impossible by applying the highest form of love in these 3 major areas of their lives ( God, your neighbor, your enemies)  In the attempt to do so we soon experience failure which leads to frustration and futile hopelessness of proving ourselves as hypocrites.
Burdened by an overwhelming attack by the enemy using the very Bible against us many Christians soon realize the futility in practicing godly applications as commanded by Jesus in the Beatitudes, Matthew 5.
As a young Christian I'd often find myself between perplexed and depressed trying to live up to the teachings in Matthew 5. I was told that the proof of True Love of God in your life was living the Beatitudes - Sermon on The Mount .
Matthew Chapter 5
1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?...
The enemy our adversary Satan has been using the very word of God against the Saints the same way he did against Eve and attempted against Jesus by taking the truth out of context and application (dispensation).
Here's a wonderful teaching on how the Beatitudes do NOT apply to Christians in this age of grace.
depending on what translation you're using. Between corrupt Bible translations like NIV ESV, etc misusing the word love, misapplying dispensations. and or taking the word love out of context Satan has snared many.
Note: Love in the perverted translations is not directly translated from agape or godly love and if it is, then a  perverted translation of agape is used to express a brotherly love. Note: True Christian compassionate brotherly love is far different from Two Buddies who look out for each other.
Let's now focus on why the King James Version Bible uses the word Charity and not Love which other modern translations which are perverted use.
The noun "agape" is used 114 times in the Greek. The KJV translates it "love" 87 times and "charity" 26 times.  We will discover here the difference is in the context of how it's used in the scripture. Charity is used to express godly Christian love and concern for another Christian.  Love is used to express the truest pure form of love godly love God's love for His Children as an example in Genesis 22:2 above which means dispensing pure righteous judgment and justice with divine Love.
Charity  used in 1 Corinthians 13:1 is translated as ἀγάπη  which means agape or godly love > Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity G26, I am become as sounding brass… (A Christian can have great gifts. but without possessing Godly love behind the expression -  it is useless.)
Love used in Romans 12:9 is  ἀγάπη which means agape or godly love > Let love be without dissimulation. (Don't fake Godly love, make sure it is real).
We know both scriptures apply to and are directed to the Body of Christ today. We know the translation and grammar structure tell us we're talking about applying God's perfect love, not human type of affectionate love for others,  our family, or passionate for our spouse. So, now we have to look at context to know why Corinthians uses Charity and Romans uses Love.
The answer is found in correct context.
Here Will J Kinny
makes an excellent presentation on the meaning of  Charity in context
“The word charity, as found in the King James Bible, always expresses Christian love for other Christians. The word charity is never used in the King James Bible to express the love relationship between God and man, a husband and his wife, between parents and their children, or between the believer and the nonbeliever. It is always used in reference to the love Christians should have for other Christians.
Simply look up the word "charity" in Strong's concordance and take notice of every time the King James Bible uses the word "charity".  It is ALWAYS in the context of Christian love in action towards other Christians.”
1 Corinthians 13:1 charity (agape) meaning:  The Love expressed here is godly Christian love for another Christian. Meaning looking out with godly tenderness for another believer in a more special way than toward others who may not be believers.
Romans 12:9 love (agape) meaning :
Love expressed here is godly love,  the perfect love of God for man and its application by a spirit filled Christian to exhibit pure love, not faked to others. This is clearly not  the exclusive specific charity - agape Christian love for other Christians, but rather the full original Paradigm established in Genesis 22:2 above - *** meaning the purest form of love expressed (intuitively by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit abiding in every true Christian) by God's love for His intended creation demanding and dispensing pure righteous judgment and justice. This can never be allowed to be faked by a Christian. God forbid.
Romans chapter 12:9,10
9  Let love G26 be without dissimulation G505. Abhor G655 that which is evil G4190; cleave G2853 to that which is good G18.
10  Be kindly affectioned G5387 one to another G1519 G240 with brotherly love G5360; in honour G5092 preferring G4285 one another G240;
Interesting to note, as identified by  in Romans 12:10 version of the term storge is found.  This version of storge is the compound philostorgos, which means to "be devoted." Literally, this compound is broken down to mean "to love one's kindred." Romans 12:10 calls Christians to "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Although philostorgos is only used once in the New Testament, God repeats His command that we must love one another because, as believers, we are all part of His family.” ( See complete rendering and commentary of Romans 12 below on notes)
Peter Learns about the word love. Probably the best Lesson on understanding Love comes from the incredible dialogue between Jesus Christ and Peter
Short Synapses: After being raised from the dead, Jesus met Peter. Here is the short version of what they said to each other:
Jesus: Simon…do you love (agape) me more than these [fish?].
Peter: Yes, Lord; you know that I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you…love (agape) me?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
Jesus: Simon…do you love (phileo) me?
Peter: [Grieved] "Lord…you know that I love (phileo) you.”
It wasn't until after Jesus's resurrection and Pentecost did Peter, now full of the Holy Spirit, comprehend and apprehend agape love and began using the word.
See  Acts 2:14-38. Here our once cowardly Peter comes forth with the boldness of a lion.  And also note 1 Peter 1:22. Here we see Peter now commands agape love after being full of the Holy Ghost.
For a full study on this subject please read:
We implore you reader to continue in the never ending learning in study of the King James Bible by rightly dividing scripture by proper dispensation- proper definition - and proper context as we've discussed at length in this study. Yes what Bible translation you have is a big deal. New Christians can be easily used the enemy if we are not aware of his devices and if we do not test all spirits and finally if we do not study (read - understand - practice ) the Word of God to show ourselves approved unto God.
God Bless The Saints!  Maranatha!


The Old Testament scriptures use the following Hebrew words for love:
“ahab”, Basically this verb is equivalent to the English ‘to love’ in the sense of having a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess or to be in the presence of the object”.
“ahabah”, God loves people even when they commit wickedness and turn away from Him: “like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagan.”
“habab”, used in Deuteronomy 7:7, Psalm 91:14 and Isaiah 38:17 about God’s love for His people. “Hashaq”
“hashaq” means “be attached to, love”. to connect or join together. It signifies that connexion of heart with any object which inclines us to love it, to delight in it, to desire and long for it, to set one’s love on”.
hesed”.  is connected with love, goodness and kindness but means more, a bit like the English word “Charity” “mercy” or “grace.
The New Testament Greek Definitions
The Bible uses 4 different Definitions and types of Love.
Agapeo: Unconditional love; the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation
Phileo: Love between friends, Brother to Brother
Eros: The sense of being in love; romantic love (not found in New Testament)
Storge: Love of family; Parent/child, siblings, cousins, etc. In a very close family, agape is felt as well. (forms used in new Testament see note:
The Greek language has terms for four different types of love. These four types of love are eros, phileo, agape, and storge. Although only two of these types of love are used in the New Testament (phileo and agape), it is important to understand how all of them work as compared to each other.
Phileo love is brotherly love, while eros love is sexual love, which we see displayed in Song of Solomon. Agape love is self-sacrificial, the greatest example being when Christ died for us. Storge love is natural, unforced, familial love; a great example of storge love is the love that a parent has for a child.
The opposite of storge, astorgos, is used twice in the New Testament. The definition of astorgos is "devoid of natural or instinctive affection, without affection to kindred." In 2 Timothy 3:3 it is translated as "heartless" or "without love." In context, Paul is describing "times of difficulty" in the last days. One characteristic is that people will lack storge love for their families. Astorgos is also found in Romans 1:31, which says that sinful humanity is "heartless" or has "no love" or in its Greek translation, astorgos.
Another version of the term storge is found in Romans 12:10. This version of storge is the compound philostorgos, which means to "be devoted." Literally, this compound is broken down to mean "to love one's kindred." Romans 12:10 calls Christians to "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Although philostorgos is only used once in the New Testament, God repeats His command that we must love one another because, as believers, we are all part of His family.”
excerpt taken from  “The compelling truth “
As mentioned the number of times lovKing James Bible translation mentions love 310 times (131 Old Testament,  179 New Testament ) whereas the perverted NIV translation mentions love 551 times (319 Old Testament 232 New Testament).  
To understand more on why the KJV Bible is the only pure translation please study this LINK Bible Translations
The following love quotes below are used often. Lovely thoughts of high minded love, but these verses are both perverted translations and worse, are under a different dispensation than the current church age of grace we are currently living under. (they do not apply to the body of Christ but rather Israel at a later dispensation).
Remember Bible Scripture in parts of Acts,  Romans through Philemon are written for the Church Age. All other scripture throughout the Bible IF directly applicable to the Church age and repeated in Romans - Philemon is written for the church age as well to other dispentions.  formation of the body of Christ.
We will go through a sample of  some of the most used Love quotes taken from the Bible and compare how the new age corrupted versions like NIV ESV, etc  translations are compared with the KJV and why this makes a difference.
Wrong Dispensation = WD
Corrupt Translation = CT
Love Quotes in the Bible comparing ESV with KJV
1 John 4:8 ESV
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Note: WD , CT,
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Note: WD, CT . The correct KJV translation says only begotten son.
John 3:16 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Why is this important?   
Read description below by Dr. John Hinton Phd.
Colossians 3:14 ESV
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
King James Version Colossians 3:14
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
Note:   Love is general in ESV can be meant to cover any form of human emotion. The KJV is truly linked to godly love only as primary
Excerpt from Nil Desperandum in Biblical Love and Hate  Harmonized,
“Paul himself acts according to this principle in his second epistle to Timothy. He curiously speaks of separate parties who both harmed him, yet only one receives an imprecation, (curse) (parenthetical comment added by author of this blog)  the other a statement of longsuffering: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. . . . At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge” (2 Tim. 4:14, 16). Alexander receives a clear denunciation, yet the others are granted a level of patience. Paul prays for God to dispense justice on the one and mercy on the others. This different treatment is, evidently, because Alexander’s ill behavior revealed a more deeply rooted resolution of evil within his character, whereas the other parties abandoned Paul out of moral weakness. A greater degree of evil characterized Alexander’s action; hence he received an imprecation, while Paul gave the others an expression of love and goodwill. Two parties wronged Paul; he prayed that the Lord would punish the first and absolve the second, with the only plausible difference being the heightened immorality of Alexander’s betrayal.
Analogous to Paul’s later treatment of Alexander the coppersmith, Jesus recognized the profound saturation of sin within their souls, knowing their deeply-rooted evil motivations of character, and He accordingly treated them more caustically than those who acted in greater ignorance, those who “know not what they do.” This could be exactly parallel to our own persecutors. The kingdom of Satan operates in large part by deceptive propaganda, stoking the fires of persecution by enticing many to antichristian violence through the instrumentality of their ignorance. Those who persecute with a certain level of ignorance ought to receive our longsuffering and concern, whereas we shall pray for the wives of sufficiently self-conscious persecutors to be made widows.
The practical application for this thesis accords well with the conceptual statement of the thesis itself. According to the thesis, which I posed as a harmonization of the biblical texts, we are to appropriately balance dispositions of love for all and holy hatred for sinners.
And practically, we can recognize that the specific equilibrium established by these counterpoising dispositions entails a prima facie disposition of love and kindness, transformed into a disposition of hatred and scorn only by a sufficient degree of wickedness, according to the circumstances. Nothing about the thesis practically requires an ever-abiding disposition of ill will towards all others; rather the opposite. Hence this biblical harmonization is both conceptually and practicably coherent.” end quote
“A proper understanding of hatred requires a robust, biblical conception of divine justice as retributive, not merely deterrent—where sin intrinsically incurs a debt of harm, punishable as an end in itself, and thus worthy of opprobrium in itself. Without this conception, the righteousness of holy hatred is indefensible and its practical applications mean-spirited, leading to sentimentalism, passivity, and pietistic cowardice. But with a proper conception of retributive justice, the practical applications of holy hatred, including imprecatory prayers, are thereby vindicated, bringing about greater holiness in society. May the church cease neglecting the imprecatory psalms which the Holy Spirit has seen fit to inspire, and may the same Spirit charge us with a spirit of holy indignation to oppose evildoers with righteous hatred.
2 Samuel 22
38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
41 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
42 They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but he answered them not.
43 Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. . . .
48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me.
49 And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen…”
Ridiculous KJV Bible Corrections:
John 3:16, Only Begotten
by John Hinton, Ph.D.
John 3:16 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 is quoted more than any other verse in the Bible, at least by Christians and other church-goers. There may be no verse that is more frequently perverted than this one, but most people still know the full verse as presented by the KJV. Why then, is it so hard to find the word 'begotten' in other versions? The word in question is 'monogenes'. This is a compound of two words monos and genes, the latter being drawn from the verb genao, which means to beget or cause to be produced. Monos means only or single, as is clear by its many appearances in English, such as monotony, monopoly, monotone, etc. Genao has come into the English language as well in words like generation, genesis, genes, generate, and so forth. The two words together mean only-begotten! It could not possibly mean anything else. In spite of this obvious, uncontestable, and invariable meaning, it is perverted with great frequency. The perversion of this verse appears to have begun, not with Christians, but with Gnostics in Egypt. These Gnostics not only denied the nature of Christ, but rewrote much of the New Testament in order to pervert the truth. These Gnostics had to lie through their teeth in order to suggest that the second half of this compound word did not count. Followers of the Alexandrian heresies, such as today's New Age Bible version translators, being unconcerned with integrity, were more than happy to follow the Gnostic lead. It should be noted that the Gnostics did not even speak Greek as a native language. Their language was Coptic, which is about as close to Greek as Turkish is to Arabic. This means that it is less close to Greek than English is to Polish. Coptic adopted and adapted the Greek for their form of Egyptian, and borrowed many New Testament Greek words, just as Turkish borrowed the Arabic alphabet (until modern times) and many vocabulary words, as did Malaysian, Swahili, Farsi, Urdu, and many other unrelated languages, but this makes for only the most superficial comparisons. In both cases this is as far as the similarities go. Their language families are unconnected and their grammars are entirely dissimilar. Why on earth would anyone with a half a lick of sense accept a nonsensical definition of a Greek word by heretical, non-Christian Coptic speakers for a Greek word that is completely clear in its meaning to start with?
The ASV was not bold enough to pervert this verse, but the RSV and almost every modern version since has done so.
RSV For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
NIV: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is not the only place where only begotten son is changed to only son. The modern versions do the same thing in the following verses.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
1Jo 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him
Unfortunately, many foreign Bible translations no longer have legitimate translations of these verses, and there are many languages that have never had one. No translation in French history has failed to pervert this verse. Not only do the modern perversions like the Louis Segonde, which is below, fail to say begotten, but even the much better earlier versions, such as the Olivetan and the Martin do so.
Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu’il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point, mais qu’il ait la vie éternelle.
They all say unique son, which is clearly wrong. The first French translation to include the whole verse is my KJV oriented revision of the Martin Bible, which I hope to make available soon.
The Arabic Bible is a fairly good Bible, but it botched this verse too. I suspect that the reason for this is that the Arabic translators may have used the French as their model. The Arabic says "ibn wahid", which means unique son. I had to think about the French for a while, but the proper Arabic translation came to me instantly and quite naturally: "ibn wahid wulida bihi". It sounds even more natural in Arabic than it does in English. I don't understand why it didn't occur to the original translators. I cannot believe that it had anything to do with technical issues. Most Gideon's KJV Bibles include several translations of John 3:16 before the Bible text itself. I cannot read several of the languages at all, but among those that I can read the Arabic, French, Hindi, and Hebrew mistranslate it. If I were to compare verses from Bibles from all over the world the list of corrupted verses would go on for page after page.
I've had many people tell me that they see these verses as stating that Jesus is God's unique Son in a very special way, but that is not even a relevant argument. It is irrelevant not only because the Greek does not say that he is unique, but because it is a subjective term with little meaning. Is Jesus God's unique son? Yes, of course he is, but so is every other born-again Christian. As a born-again believer I am counted as a son of God. I also am unique. How many multilingual, KJV defenders who are Arabic translators, survival instructors, classical guitar players, wild critter gourmets, ex-hermitic mountain men, and former freight train-riding, chicken-farming Ivy League graduates who nearly flunked out of high school (due to truancy) are there out there? In the unlikely event that there are any, they are not going to look like me, sound like me, or share all of my other traits, faults and experiences. Everyone born-again Christian reading this can claim their own brand of uniqueness. We are all unique. Being unique is not unique and calling someone unique is not saying much of anything at all. Jesus is not just a unique son of God, but he is unique because he was his only-begotten Son!
Why is it so important to make such a big deal of this one word, some ask? There are many reasons, but the following come to my mind right away.
1) It is a lie to translate the word as "only" or "unique". The word doesn't mean unique. That is an attempt to rob Jesus of his true nature. This is a trick learned from Gnostics, Arians, and other heretics.
2) It is a lie that Jesus is the only son of God.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Ro 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
1Jo 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3) If translators can't get a plain statement like John 3:16 right, what credibility does that give to the rest of their translation?
Finally, it needs to be pointed out that Jesus is not the only son to be described as an only begotten one. Isaac also is described as only begotten.
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
We know that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, and the modern version translators were just as aware of it. In this example Isaac is his only begotten son because he was the only one to be born of his lawful wife through him, the same way that Mary begot the only Son to ever be begotten through God. So why did they, once again, ignore the word begotten, and translate this verse as "only son" as they did with the references to Jesus? This is surely an act of incompetence, but it was more a desire to follow Gnostic/New Age philosophy that dictated the modern version translation than it was one of incompetence. They knew that if they were to translate this correctly, and it were to be noted by anyone looking at the Greek, their corruption would be disclosed. They had to cover their tracks by corrupting the verse regarding Isaac for that reason. As a result they make the ridiculous error of saying that Isaac had only one son.
Whatever the motive for the modern perversions' treatment of these verses, they are glaring proofs that their alleged superior knowledge of Greek is as phony as Bill Clinton's repentance. It is most sad that they have been allowed to get away with it by so many church-goers throughout the ages. The emperors need to put on some clothes, because they are guilty of indecent exposure.
The preceeding is part of a series of examples of KJV verses that arrogant would-be scholars have tried to correct and showed themselves to be fools. These examples are for the benefit of those who would like more ammunition to defend God's Word against the attacks of the arrogant Bible "correcting" modernists. I hope that some of you find them useful.
Your servant in Christ,
John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent Bibles in all the languages of the world”
End Quote
Romans Chapter 12 KJV
Romans 12
1  I beseech G3870 you G5209 therefore G3767, brethren G80, by G1223 the mercies G3628 of God G2316, that ye present G3936 your G5216 bodies G4983 a living G2198 sacrifice G2378, holy G40, acceptable G2101 unto God G2316, which is your G5216 reasonable G3050 service G2999.
2  And G2532 be G4964 not G3361 conformed G4964 to this G5129 world G165: but G235 be ye transformed G3339 by the renewing G342 of your G5216 mind G3563, that G1519 ye G5209 may prove G1381 what G5101 is that good G18, and G2532 acceptable G2101, and G2532 perfect G5046, will G2307 of God G2316.
3  For G1063 I say G3004, through G1223 the grace G5485 given G1325 unto me G3427, to every man G3956 that is G5607 among G1722 you G5213, not G3361 to think of himself more G3844 highly G5252 than G3739 he ought G1163 to think G5426; but G235 to think G5426 soberly G1519 G4993, according as G5613 God G2316 hath dealt G3307 to every man G1538 the measure G3358 of faith G4102. note
4  For G1063 as G2509 we have G2192 many G4183 members G3196 in G1722 one G1520 body G4983, and G1161 all G3956 members G3196 have G2192 not G3756 the same G846 office G4234:
5  So G3779 we G2070, being many G4183, are G2070 one G1520 body G4983 in G1722 Christ G5547, and G1161 every G2596 one G1520 members G3196 one of another G240.
6  Having G2192 then G1161 gifts G5486 differing G1313 according G2596 to the grace G5485 that is given G1325 to us G2254, whether G1535 prophecy G4394, let us prophesy according G2596 to the proportion G356 of faith G4102;
7  Or G1535 ministry G1248, let us wait on G1722 our ministering G1248: or G1535 he that teacheth G1321, on G1722 teaching G1319;
8  Or G1535 he that exhorteth G3870, on G1722 exhortation G3874: he that giveth G3330, let him do it with G1722 simplicity G572; he that ruleth G4291, with G1722 diligence G4710; he that sheweth mercy G1653, with G1722 cheerfulness G2432. note note
9  Let love G26 be without dissimulation G505. Abhor G655 that which is evil G4190; cleave G2853 to that which is good G18.
10  Be kindly affectioned G5387 one to another G1519 G240 with brotherly love G5360; in honour G5092 preferring G4285 one another G240; note
11  Not G3361 slothful G3636 in business G4710; fervent G2204 in spirit G4151; serving G1398 the Lord G2962;
12  Rejoicing G5463 in hope G1680; patient G5278 in tribulation G2347; continuing instant G4342 in prayer G4335;
13  Distributing G2841 to the necessity G5532 of saints G40; given G1377 to hospitality G5381.
14  Bless G2127 them which persecute G1377 you G5209: bless G2127, and G2532 curse G2672 not G3361.
15  Rejoice G5463 with G3326 them that do rejoice G5463, and G2532 weep G2799 with G3326 them that weep G2799.
16  Be of the same G846 mind G5426 one toward another G1519 G240. Mind G5426 not G3361 high things G5308, but G235 condescend G4879 to men of low estate G5011. Be G1096 not G3361 wise G5429 in G3844 your own conceits G1438. note
17  Recompense G591 to no man G3367 evil G2556 for G473 evil G2556. Provide G4306 things honest G2570 in the sight G1799 of all G3956 men G444.
18  If G1487 it be possible G1415, as much as lieth in G1537 you G5216, live peaceably G1514 with G3326 all G3956 men G444.
19  Dearly beloved G27, avenge G1556 not G3361 yourselves G1438, but G235 rather give G1325 place G5117 unto wrath G3709: for G1063 it is written G1125, Vengeance G1557 is mine G1698; I G1473 will repay G467, saith G3004 the Lord G2962.
20  Therefore G3767 if G1437 thine G4675 enemy G2190 hunger G3983, feed G5595 him G846; if G1437 he thirst G1372, give G4222 him G846 drink G4222: for G1063 in so G5124 doing G4160 thou shalt heap G4987 coals G440 of fire G4442 on G1909 his G846 head G2776.
21  Be G3528 not G3361 overcome G3528 of G5259 evil G2556, but G235 overcome G3528 evil G2556 with G1722 good G18.
ROMANS CHAPTER 12 Commentary
Romans 12 Bible Commentary
Bible > Bible CommentaryMatthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete)RomansRomans 12
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete)
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The apostle, having at large cleared and confirmed the prime fundamental doctrines of Christianity, comes in the next place to press the principal duties. We mistake our religion if we look upon it only as a system of notions and a guide to speculation. No, it is a practical religion, that tends to the right ordering of the conversation. It is designed not only to inform our judgments, but to reform our hearts and lives. From the method of the apostle's writing in this, as in some other of the epistles (as from the management of the principal ministers of state in Christ's kingdom) the stewards of the mysteries of God may take direction how to divide the word of truth: not to press duty abstracted from privilege, nor privilege abstracted from duty; but let both go together, with a complicated design, they will greatly promote and befriend each other. The duties are drawn from the privileges, by way of inference. The foundation of Christian practice must be laid in Christian knowledge and faith. We must first understand how we receive Christ Jesus the Lord, and then we shall know the better how to walk in him. There is a great deal of duty prescribed in this chapter. The exhortations are short and pithy, briefly summing up what is good, and what the Lord our God in Christ requires of us. It is an abridgment of the Christian directory, an excellent collection of rules for the right ordering of the conversation, as becomes the gospel. It is joined to the foregoing discourse by the word "therefore." It is the practical application of doctrinal truths that is the life of preaching. He had been discoursing at large of justification by faith, and of the riches of free grace, and the pledges and assurances we have of the glory that is to be revealed. Hence carnal libertines would be apt to infer."Therefore we may live as we list, and walk in the way of our hearts and the sight of our eyes." Now this does not follow; the faith that justifies is a faith that "works by love." And there is no other way to heaven but the way of holiness and obedience. Therefore what God hath joined together let no man put asunder. The particular exhortations of this chapter are reducible to the three principal heads of Christian duty: our duty to God t ourselves, and to our brother. The grace of God teaches us, in general, to live "godly, soberly, and righteously;" and to deny all that which is contrary hereunto. Now this chapter will give us to understand what godliness, sobriety, and righteousness, are though somewhat intermixed.
Verses 1-21
We may observe here, according to the scheme mentioned in the contents, the apostle's exhortations,
I. Concerning our duty to God, We see what is godliness.
1. It is to surrender ourselves to God, and so to lay a good foundation. We must first give our own selves unto the Lord, 2 Co. 8:5. This is here pressed as the spring of all duty and obedience, v. 1, 2. Man consists of body and soul, Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7.
(1.) The body must be presented to him, v. 1. The body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, 1 Co. 6:13, 14. The exhortation is here introduced very pathetically: I beseech you, brethren. Though he was a great apostle, yet he calls the meanest Christians brethren, a term of affection and concern. He uses entreaty; this is the gospel way: As though God did beseech you by us, 2 Co. 5:20. Though he might with authority command, yet for love's sake he rather beseeches, Philem. 8, 9. The poor useth entreaty, Prov. 18:23. This is to insinuate the exhortation, that it might come with the more pleasing power. Many are sooner wrought upon if they be accosted kindly, are more easily led than driven. Now observe,
[1.] The duty pressed-to present our bodies a living sacrifice, alluding to the sacrifices under the law, which were presented or set before God at the altar, ready to be offered to him. Your bodies—your whole selves; so expressed because under the law the bodies of beasts were offered in sacrifice, 1 Co. 6:20. Our bodies and spirits are intended. The offering was sacrificed by the priest, but presented by the offerer, who transferred to God all his right, title, and interest in it, by laying his hand on the head of it. Sacrifice is here taken for whatsoever is by God's own appointment dedicated to himself; see 1 Pt. 2:5. We are temple, priest, and sacrifice, as Christ was in his peculiar sacrificing. There were sacrifices of atonement and sacrifices of acknowledgment. Christ, who was once offered to bear the sins of many, is the only sacrifice of atonement; but our persons and performances, tendered to God through Christ our priest, are as sacrifices of acknowledgment to the honour of God. Presenting them denotes a voluntary act, done by virtue of that absolute despotic power which the will has over the body and all the members of it. It must be a free-will offering. Your bodies; not your beasts. Those legal offerings, as they had their power from Christ, so they had their period in Christ. The presenting of the body to God implies not only the avoiding of the sins that are committed with or against the body, but the using of the body as a servant of the soul in the service of God. It is to glorify God with our bodies (1. Cor. 6:20), to engage our bodies in the duties of immediate worship, and in a diligent attendance to our particular callings, and be willing to suffer for God with our bodies, when we are called to it. It is to yield the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness, ch. 6:13. Though bodily exercise alone profits little, yet in its place it is a proof and product of the dedication of our souls to God. First, Present them a living sacrifice; not killed, as the sacrifices under the law. A Christian makes his body a sacrifice to God, though he does not give it to be burned. A body sincerely devoted to God is a living sacrifice. A living sacrifice, by way of allusion-that which was dead of itself might not be eaten, much less sacrificed, Deu. 14:21; and by ways of opposition—"The sacrifice was to be slain, but you may be sacrificed, and yet live on"—an unbloody sacrifice. The barbarous heathen sacrificed their children to their idol-gods, not living, but slain sacrifices: but God will have mercy, and not such sacrifice, though life is forfeited to him. A living sacrifice, that is, inspired with the spiritual life of the soul. It is Christ living in the soul by faith that makes the body a living sacrifice, Gal. 2:20. Holy love kindles the sacrifices, puts life into the duties; see ch. 6:13. Alive, that is, to God, v. 11. Secondly, They must be holy. There is a relative holiness in every sacrifice, as dedicated to God. But, besides this, there must be that real holiness which consists in an entire rectitude of heart and life, by which we are conformed in both to the nature and will of God: even our bodies must not be made the instruments of sin and uncleanness, but set apart for God, and put to holy uses, as the vessels of the tabernacle were holy, being devoted to God's service. It is the soul that is the proper subject of holiness; but a sanctified soul communicates a holiness to the body it actuates and animates. That is holy which is according to the will of God; when the bodily actions are no, the body is holy. They are the temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Co. 6:19. Possess the body in sanctification, 1 Th. 4:4, 5.
[2.] The arguments to enforce this, which are three:—First, Consider the mercies of God: I beseech you by the mercies of God. An affectionate obtestation, and which should melt us into a compliance: dia toµn oiktirmoµn tou Theou. This is an argument most sweetly cogent. There is the mercy that is in God and the mercy that is from God-mercy in the spring and mercy in the streams: both are included here; but especially gospel-mercies (mentioned ch. 11), the transferring of what the Jews forfeited and lost by their unbelief unto us Gentiles (Eph. 3:4-6): the sure mercies of David, Isa. 55:3. God is a merciful God, therefore let us present our bodies to him; he will be sure to use them kindly, and knows how to consider the frames of them, for he is of infinite compassion. We receive from him every day the fruits of his mercy, particularly mercy to our bodies: he made them, he maintains them, he bought them, he has put a great dignity upon them. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, that our souls are held in life; and the greatest mercy of all is that Christ hath made not his body only, but his soul, an offering for sin, that he gave himself for us and gives himself to us. Now surely we cannot but be studying what we shall render to the Lord for all this. And what shall we render? Let us render ourselves as an acknowledgment of all these favours-all we are, all we have, all we can do; and, after all, it is but very poor returns for very rich receivings: and yet, because it is what we have, Secondly, It is acceptable to God. The great end we should all labour after is to be accepted of the Lord (2 Co. 5:9), to have him well-pleased with our persons and performances. Now these living sacrifices are acceptable to God; while the sacrifices of the wicked, though fat and costly, are an abomination to the Lord. It is God's great condescension that he will vouchsafe to accept of any thing in us; and we can desire no more to make us happy; and, if the presenting of ourselves will but please him, we may easily conclude that we cannot bestow ourselves better. Thirdly, It is our reasonable service. There is an act of reason in it; for it is the soul that presents the body. Blind devotion, that has ignorance for the mother and nurse of it, is fit to be paid only to those dunghill-gods that have eyes and see not. Our God must be served in the spirit and with the understanding. There is all the reason in the world for it, and no good reason can possibly be produced against it. Come now, and let us reason together, Isa. 1:18. God does not impose upon us any thing hard or unreasonable, but that which is altogether agreeable to the principles of right reason. Teµn logikeµn latreian hymoµn—your service according to the word; so it may be read. The word of God does not leave out the body in holy worship. That service only is acceptable to God which is according to the written word. It must be gospel worship, spiritual worship. That is a reasonable service which we are able and ready to give a reason for, in which we understand ourselves. God deals with us as with rational creatures, and will have us so to deal with him. Thus must the body be presented to God.
(2.) The mind must be renewed for him. This is pressed (v. 2): "Be you transformed by the renewing of your mind; see to it that there be a saving change wrought in you, and that it be carried on." Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind, a change not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. It is the same with making a new heart and a new spirit-new dispositions and inclinations, new sympathies and antipathies; the understanding enlightened, the conscience softened, the thoughts rectified; the will bowed to the will of God, and the affections made spiritual and heavenly: so that the man is not what he was-old things are passed away, all things are become new; he acts from new principles, by new rules, with new designs. The mind is the acting ruling part of us; so that the renewing of the mind is the renewing of the whole man, for out of it are the issues of life, Prov. 4:23. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on of this renewing work, till it be perfected in glory. This is called the transforming of us; it is like putting on a new shape and figure. Metamorphousthe—Be you metamorphosed. The transfiguration of Christ is expressed by this word (Mt. 17:2), when he put on a heavenly glory, which made his face to shine like the sun; and the same word is used 2 Co. 3:18, where we are said to be changed into the same image from glory to glory. This transformation is here pressed as a duty; not that we can work such a change ourselves: we could as soon make a new world as make a new heart by any power of our own; it is God's work, Eze. 11:19; 36:26, 27. But be you transformed, that is, "use the means which God hath appointed and ordained for it." It is God that turns us, and then we are turned; but we must frame our doings to turn, Hos. 5:4. "Lay your souls under the changing transforming influences of the blessed Spirit; seek unto God for grace in the use of all the means of grace." Though the new man be created of God, yet we must put it on (Eph. 4:24), and be pressing forward towards perfection. Now in this verse we may further observe,
[1.] What is the great enemy to this renewing, which we must avoid; and that is, conformity to this world: Be not conformed to this world. All the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus must be nonconformists to this world. Meµ syscheµmatizesthe—Do not fashion yourselves according to the world. We must not conform to the things of the world; they are mutable, and the fashion of them is passing away. Do not conform either to the lusts of the flesh or the lusts of the eye. We must not conform to the men of the world, of that world which lies in wickedness, not walk according to the course of this world (Eph. 2:2); that is, we must not follow a multitude to do evil, Ex. 23:2. If sinners entice us, we must not consent to them, but in our places witness against them. Nay, even in things indifferent, and which are not in themselves sinful, we must so far not conform to the custom and way of the world as not to act by the world's dictates as our chief rule, nor to aim at the world's favours as our highest end. True Christianity consists much in a sober singularity. Yet we must take heed of the extreme of affected rudeness and moroseness, which some run into. In civil things, the light of nature and the custom of nations are intended for our guidance; and the rule of the gospel in those cases is a rule of direction, not a rule of contrariety.
[2.] What is the great effect of this renewing, which we must labour after: That you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. by the will of God here we are to understand his revealed will concerning our duty, what the Lord our God requires of us. This is the will of God in general, even our sanctification, that will which we pray may be done by us as it is done by the angels; especially his will as it is revealed in the New Testament, where he hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son. First, The will of God is good, and acceptable, and perfect; three excellent properties of a law. It is good (Mic. 6:8); it is exactly consonant to the eternal reason of good and evil. It is good in itself. It is good for us. Some think the evangelical law is here called good, in distinction from the ceremonial law, which consisted of statutes that were not good, Eze. 20:25. It is acceptable, it is pleasing to God; that and that only is so which is prescribed by him. The only way to attain his favour as the end is to conform to his will as the rule. It is perfect, to which nothing can be added. The revealed will of God is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, containing all things which tend to the perfection of the man of God, to furnish us thoroughly to every good work, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. Secondly, That it concerns Christians to prove what is that will of God which is good, and acceptable, and perfect; that is, to know it with judgment and approbation, to know it experimentally, to know the excellency of the will of God by the experience of a conformity to it. It is to approve things that are excellent (Phil. 1:10); it is dokimazein (the same word that is used here) to try things that differ, in doubtful cases readily to apprehend what the will of God is and to close in with it. It is to be of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, Isa. 11:3. Thirdly, That those are best able to prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, who are transformed by the renewing of their mind. A living principle of grace is in the soul, as far as it prevails, an unbiassed unprejudiced judgment concerning the things of God. It disposes the soul to receive and entertain the revelations of the divine will. The promise is (Jn. 7:17), If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine. A good wit can dispute and distinguish about the will of God; while an honest, humble heart, that has spiritual senses exercised, and is delivered into the mould of the word, loves it, and practises it, and has the relish and savour of it. Thus to be godly is to surrender ourselves to God.
2. When this is done, to serve him in all manner of gospel obedience. Some hints of this we have here (v. 11, 12), Serving the Lord. Wherefore do we present ourselves to him, but that we may serve him? Acts 27:23, Whose I am; and then it follows, whom I serve. To be religious is to serve God. How? (1.) We must make a business of it, and not be slothful in that business. Not slothful in business. There is the business of the world, that of our particular calling, in which we must not be slothful, 1 Th. 4:11. But this seems to be meant of the business of serving the Lord, our Father's business, Lu. 2:49. Those that would approve themselves Christians indeed must make religion their business-must choose it, and learn it, and give themselves to it; they must love it, and employ themselves in it, and abide by it, as their great and main business. And, having made it our business, we must not be slothful in it: not desire our own ease, and consult that, when it comes in competition with our duty. We must not drive on slowly in religion. Slothful servants will be reckoned with us wicked servants. (2.) We must be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. God must be served with the spirit (ch. 1:9; Jn. 4:24), under the influences of the Holy Spirit. Whatever we do in religion it is pleasing to God no further than it is done with our spirits wrought upon by the Spirit of God. And there must be fervency in the spirit-a holy zeal, and warmth, and ardency of affection in all we do, as those that love God not only with the heart and soul, but with all our hearts, and with all our souls. This is the holy fire that kindles the sacrifice, and carries it up to heaven, an offering of a sweet-smelling savour.—Serving the Lord. Toµ kairoµ douleuontes (so some copies read it), serving the time, that is, improving your opportunities and making the best of them, complying with the present seasons of grace. (3.) Rejoicing in hope. God is worshipped and honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope, take a complacency in that confidence, which argues a great assurance of the reality and a great esteem of the excellency of the good hoped for. (4.) Patient in tribulation. Thus also God is served, not only by working for him when he calls us to work, but by sitting still quietly when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God's sake, and with an eye to his will and glory, is true piety. Observe, Those that rejoice in hope are likely to be patient in tribulation. It is a believing prospect of the joy set before us that bears up the spirit under all outward pressure. (5.) Continuing instant in prayer. Prayer is a friend to hope and patience, and we do in it serve the Lord. Proskarterountes. It signifies both fervency and perseverance in prayer. We should not be cold in the duty, nor soon weary of it, Lu. 18:1; 1 Th. 5:17; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2. This is our duty which immediately respects God.
II. Concerning our duty which respects ourselves; this is sobriety.
1. A sober opinion of ourselves, v. 3. It is ushered in with a solemn preface: I say, through the grace given unto me: the grace f wisdom, by which he understood the necessity and excellency of this duty; the grace of apostleship, by which he had authority to press and enjoin it. "I say it, who am commissioned to say it, in God's name. I say it, and it is not for you to gainsay it." It is said to every one of us, one as well as another. Pride is a sin that is bred in the bone of all of us, and we have therefore each of us need to be cautioned and armed against it.—Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. We must take heed of having too great an opinion of ourselves, or putting too high a valuation upon our own judgments, abilities, persons, performances. We must not be self-conceited, nor esteem too much our own wisdom and other attainments, not think ourselves to be something, Gal. 6:3. There is a high thought of ourselves which we may and must have to think ourselves too good to be the slaves of sin and drudges to this world. But, on the other hand, we should think soberly, that is, we must have a low and modest opinion of ourselves and our own abilities, our gifts and graces, according to what we have received from God, and not otherwise. We must not be confident and hot in matters of doubtful disputation; not stretch ourselves beyond our line; not judge and censure those that differ from us; not desire to make a fair show in the flesh. These and the like are the fruits of a sober opinion of ourselves. The words will bear yet another sense agreeable enough. Of himself is not in the original; therefore it may be read, That no man be wise above what he ought to be wise, but be wise unto sobriety. We must not exercise ourselves in things too high for us (Ps. 131:1, 2), not intrude into those things which we have not seen (Col. 2:18), those secret things which belong not to us (Deu. 29:29), not covet to be wise above what is written. There is a knowledge that puffs up, which reaches after forbidden fruit. We must take heed of this, and labour after that knowledge which tends to sobriety, to the rectifying of the heart and the reforming of the life. Some understand it of the sobriety which keeps us in our own place and station, from intruding into the gifts and offices of others. See an instance of this sober modest care in the exercise of the greatest spiritual gifts, 2 Co. 10:13-15. To this head refers also that exhortation (v. 16), Be not wise in your own conceits. It is good to be wise, but it is bad to think ourselves so; for there is more hope of a fool than of him that is wise in his own eyes. It was an excellent thing for Moses to have his face shine and not know it. Now the reasons why we must have such a sober opinion of ourselves, our own abilities and attainments, are these:—
(1.) Because whatever we have that is good, God hath dealt it to us; every good and perfect gift comes from above, James 1:17. What have we that we have not received? And, if we have received it, why then do we boast? 1 Co. 4:7. The best and most useful man in the world is no more, no better, than what the free grace of God makes him every day. When we are thinking of ourselves, we must remember to think not how we attained, as though our might and the power of our hand had gotten us these gifts; but think how kind God hath been to us, for it is he that gives us power to do any thing that is good, and in him is all our sufficiency.
(2.) Because God deals out his gifts in a certain measure: According to the measure of faith. Observe, The measure of spiritual gifts he calls the measure of faith, for this is the radical grace. What we have and do that is good is so far right and acceptable as it is founded in faith, and flows from faith, and no further. Now faith, and other spiritual gifts with it, are dealt by measure, according as Infinite Wisdom sees meet for us. Christ had the Spirit given him without measure, Jn. 3:34. But the saints have it by measure; see Eph. 4:7. Christ, who had gifts without measure, was meek and lowly; and shall we, that are stinted, be proud and self-conceited?
(3.) Because God has dealt out gifts to others as well as to us: Dealt to every man. Had we the monopoly of the Spirit, or a patent to be sole proprietors of spiritual gifts, there might be some pretence for this conceitedness of ourselves; but others have their share as well as we. God is a common Father, and Christ a common root, to all the saints, who all drive virtue from him; and therefore it ill becomes us to lift up ourselves, and to despise others, as if we only were the people in favour with heaven, and wisdom should die with us. This reasoning he illustrates by a comparison taken from the members of the natural body (as 1 Co. 12:12; Eph. 4:16): As we have many members in one body, etc., v. 4, 5. Here observe, [1.] All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the head of the body, and the common centre of their unity. Believers lie not in the world as a confused disorderly heap, but are organized and knit together, as they are united to one common head, and actuated and animated by one common Spirit. [2.] Particular believers are members of this body, constituent parts, which speak them less than the whole, and in relation to the whole, deriving life and spirits from the head. Some members in the body are bigger and more useful than others, and each receives spirits from the head according to its proportion. if the little finger should receive as much nourishment as the leg, how unseemly and prejudicial would it be! We must remember that we are not the whole; we think above what is meet if we think so; we are but parts and members. [3.] All the members have not the same office (v. 4), but each hath its respective place and work assigned it. The office of the eye is to see, the office of the hand is to work, etc. So in the mystical body, some are qualified for, and called to, one sort of work; others are, in like manner, fitted for, and called to, another sort of work. Magistrates, ministers, people, in a Christian commonwealth, have their several offices, and must not intrude one upon another, nor clash in the discharge of their several offices. [4.] Each member hath its place and office, for the good and benefit of the whole, and of every other member. We are not only members of Christ, but we are members one of another, v. 5. We stand in relation one to another; we are engaged to do all the good we can one to another, and to act in conjunction for the common benefit. See this illustrated at large, 1 Co. 12:14, etc. Therefore we must not be puffed up with a conceit of our own attainments, because, whatever we have, as we received it, so we received it not for ourselves, but for the good of others.
2. A sober use of the gifts that God hath given us. As we must not on the one hand be proud of our talents, so on the other hand we must not bury them. Take heed lest, under a pretence of humility and self-denial, we be slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, "I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing;" but, "I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost in the strength of the grace of Christ." He specifies the ecclesiastical offices appointed in particular churches, in the discharge of which each must study to do his own duty, for the preserving of order and the promotion of edification in the church, each knowing his place and fulfilling it. Having then gifts. The following induction of particulars supplies the sense of this general. Having gifts, let us use them. Authority and ability for the ministerial work are the gift of God.—Gifts differing. The immediate design is different, though the ultimate tendency of all is the same. According to the grace, charismata kata teµn charin. The free grace of God is the spring and original of all the gifts that are given to men. It is grace that appoints the office, qualifies and inclines the person, works both to will and to do. There were in the primitive church extraordinary gifts of tongues, of discerning, of healing; but he speaks here of those that are ordinary. Compare 1 Co. 12:4; 1 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pt. 4:10. Seven particular gifts he specifies (v. 6-8), which seem to be meant of so many distinct offices, used by the prudential constitution of many of the primitive churches, especially the larger. There are two general ones here expressed by prophesying and ministering, the former the work of the bishops, the latter the work of the deacons, which were the only two standing officers, Phil. 1:1. But the particular work belonging to each of these might be, and it should seem was, divided and allotted by common consent and agreement, that it might be done the more effectually, because that which is every body's work is nobody's work, and he despatches his business best that is vir unius negotii—a man of one business. Thus David sorted the Levites (1 Chr. 23:4, 5), and in this wisdom is profitable to direct. The five latter will therefore be reduced to the two former.
(1.) Prophecy. Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. It is not meant of the extraordinary gifts of foretelling things to come, but the ordinary office of preaching the word: so prophesying is taken, 1 Co. 14:1-3, etc.; 11:4; 1 Th. 5:20. The work of the Old-Testament prophets was not only to foretel future things, but to warn the people concerning sin and duty, and to be their remembrancers concerning that which they knew before. And thus gospel preachers are prophets, and do indeed, as far as the revelation of the word goes, foretel things to come. Preaching refers to the eternal condition of the children of men, points directly at a future state. Now those that preach the word must do it according to the proportion of faith—kata teµn analogian teµs pisteoµs, that is, [1.] As to the manner of our prophesying, it must be according to the proportion of the grace of faith. He had spoken (v. 3) of the measure of faith dealt to every man. Let him that preaches set all the faith he hath on work, to impress the truths he preaches upon his own heart in the first place. As people cannot hear well, so ministers cannot preach well, without faith. First believe and then speak, Ps. 116:10; 2 Co. 4:13. And we must remember the proportion of faith-that, though all men have not faith, yet a great many have besides ourselves; and therefore we must allow others to have a share of knowledge and ability to instruct, as well as we, even those that in less things differ from us. "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself; and do not make it a ruling rule to others, remembering that thou hast but thy proportion." [2.] As to the matter of our prophesying, it must be according to the proportion of the doctrine of faith, as it is revealed in the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament. By this rule of faith the Bereans tried Paul's preaching, Acts 17:11. Compare Acts 26:22; Gal. 1:9. There are some staple-truths, as I may call them, some prima axiomata—first axioms, plainly and uniformly taught in the scripture, which are the touchstone of preaching, by which (though we must not despise prophesying) we must prove all things, and then hold fast that which is good, 1 Th. 5:20, 21. Truths that are more dark must be examined by those that are more clear; and then entertained when they are found to agree and comport with the analogy of faith; for it is certain one truth can never contradict another. See here what ought to be the great care of preachers-to preach sound doctrine, according to the form of wholesome words, Tit. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:13. It is not so necessary that the prophesying be according to the proportion of art, the rules of logic and rhetoric; but it is necessary that it be according to the proportion of faith: for it is the word of faith that we preach. Now there are two particular works which he that prophesieth hath to mind-teaching and exhorting, proper enough to be done by the same person at the same time, and when he does the one let him mind that, when he does the other let him do that too as well as he can. If, by agreement between the ministers of a congregation, this work be divided, either constantly or interchangeably, so that one teaches and the other exhorts (that is, in our modern dialect, one expounds and the other preaches), let each do his work according to the proportion of faith. First, let him that teacheth wait on teaching. Teaching is the bare explaining and proving of gospel truths, without practical application, as in the expounding of the scripture. Pastors and teachers are the same office (Eph. 4:11), but the particular work is somewhat different. Now he that has a faculty of teaching, and has undertaken that province, let him stick to it. It is a good gift, let him use it, and give his mind to it. He that teacheth, let him be in his teaching; so some supply it, Ho didaskoµn, en teµ didaskalia. Let him be frequent and constant, and diligent in it; let him abide in that which is his proper work, and be in it as his element. See 1 Tim. 4:15, 16, where it is explained by two words, en toutois isthi, and epimene autois, be in these things and continue in them. Secondly, Let him that exhorteth wait on exhortation. Let him give himself to that. This is the work of the pastor, as the former of the teacher; to apply gospel truths and rules more closely to the case and condition of the people, and to press upon them that which is more practical. Many that are very accurate in teaching may yet be very cold and unskilful in exhorting; and on the contrary. The one requires a clearer head, the other a warmer heart. Now where these gifts are evidently separated (that the one excels in the one and the other in the other) it conduces to edification to divide the work accordingly; and, whatsoever the work is that we undertake, let us mind it. To wait on our work is to bestow the best of our time and thoughts upon it, to lay hold of all opportunities for it, and to study not only to do it, but to do it well.
(2.) Ministry. If a man hath diakonian—the office of a deacon, or assistant to the pastor and teacher, let him use that office well-a churchwarden (suppose), an elder, or an overseer of the poor; and perhaps there were more put into these offices, and there was more solemnity in them, and a greater stress of care and business lay upon them in the primitive churches, than we are now well aware of. It includes all those offices which concern the ta exoµ of the church, the outward business of the house of God. See Neh. 11:16. Serving tables, Acts 6:2. Now let him on whom this care of ministering is devolved attend to it with faithfulness and diligence; particularly, [1.] He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity. Those church-officers that were the stewards of the church's alms, collected money, and distributed it according as the necessities of the poor were. Let them do it en aploteµti—liberally and faithfully; not converting what they receive to their own use, nor distributing it with any sinister design, or with respect of person: not froward and peevish with the poor, nor seeking pretences to put them by; but with all sincerity and integrity, having no other intention in it than to glorify God and do good. Some understand it in general of all almsgiving: He that hath wherewithal, let him give, and give plentifully and liberally; so the word is translated, 2 Co. 8:2; 9:13. God loves a cheerful bountiful giver. [2.] He that ruleth with diligence. It should seem, he means those that were assistants to the pastors in exercising church-discipline, as their eyes, and hands, and mouth, in the government of the church, or those ministers that in the congregation did chiefly undertake and apply themselves to this ruling work; for we find those ruling that laboured in the word and doctrine, 1 Tim. 5:17. Now such must do it with diligence. The word denotes both care and industry to discover what is amiss, to reduce those that go astray, to reprove and admonish those that have fallen, to keep the church pure. Those must take a great deal of pains that will approve themselves faithful in the discharge of this trust, and not let slip any opportunity that may facilitate and advance that work. [3.] He that showeth mercy with cheerfulness. Some think it is meant in general of all that in any thing show mercy: Let them be willing to do it, and take a pleasure in it; God loves a cheerful giver. But it seems to be meant of some particular church-officers, whose work it was to take care of the sick and strangers; and those were generally widows that were in this matter servants to the church-deaconesses (1 Tim. 5:9, 10), though others, it is likely, might be employed. Now this must be done with cheerfulness. A pleasing countenance in acts of mercy is a great relief and comfort to the miserable; when they see it is not done grudgingly and unwillingly, but with pleasant looks and gentle words, and all possible indications of readiness and alacrity. Those that have to do with such as are sick and sore, and commonly cross and peevish, have need to put on not only patience, but cheerfulness, to make the work the more easy and pleasant to them, and the more acceptable to God.
III. Concerning that part of our duty which respects our brethren, of which we have many instances, in brief exhortations. Now all our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, and that a sweet work, love. In that is laid the foundation of all our mutual duty; and therefore the apostle mentions this first, which is the livery of Christ's disciples, and the great law of our religion: Let love be without dissimulation; not in compliment and pretence, but in reality; not in word and tongue only, 1 Jn. 3:18. The right love is love unfeigned; not as the kisses of an enemy, which are deceitful. We should be glad of an opportunity to prove the sincerity of our love, 2 Co. 8:8. More particularly, there is a love owing to our friends, and to our enemies. He specifies both.
1. To our friends. He that hath friends must show himself friendly. There is a mutual love
1. To our friends. He that hath friends must show himself friendly. There is a mutual love that Christians owe, and must pay.
(1.) An affectionate love (v. 10): Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, philostorgoi—it signifies not only love, but a readiness and inclination to love, the most genuine and free affection, kindness flowing out as from a spring. It properly denotes the love of parents to their children, which, as it is the most tender, so it is the most natural, of any, unforced, unconstrained; such must our love be to one another, and such it will be where there is a new nature and the law of love is written in the heart. This kind affection puts us on to express ourselves both in word and action with the greatest courtesy and obligingness that may be.—One to another. This may recommend the grace of love to us, that, as it is made our duty to love others, so it is as much their duty to love us. And what can be sweeter on this side heaven than to love and be beloved? He that thus watereth shall be watered also himself.
(2.) A respectful love: In honour preferring one another. Instead of contending for superiority, let us be forward to give to others the pre-eminence. This is explained, Phil. 2:3, Let each esteem other better than themselves. And there is this good reason for it, because, if we know our own hearts, we know more evil by ourselves than we do by any one else in the world. We should be forward to take notice of the gifts, and graces, and performances of our brethren, and value them accordingly, be more forward to praise another, and more pleased to hear another praised, than ourselves; teµ timeµ alleµlous proeµgoumenoi—going before, or leading one another in honour; so some read it: not in taking honour, but in giving honour. "Strive which of you shall be most forward to pay respect to those to whom it is due, and to perform all Christian offices of love (which are all included in the word honour) to your brethren, as there is occasion. Let all your contention be which shall be most humble, and useful, and condescending." So the sense is the same with Tit. 3:14, Let them learn, proistasthai—to go before in good works. For though we must prefer others (as our translation reads it), and put on others, as more capable and deserving than ourselves, yet we must not make that an excuse for our lying by and doing nothing, nor under a pretence of honouring others, and their serviceableness and performances, indulge ourselves in ease and slothfulness. Therefore he immediately adds (v. 11), Not slothful in business.
(3.) A liberal love (v. 13): Distributing to the necessities of saints. It is but a mock love which rests in the verbal expressions of kindness and respect, while the wants of our brethren call for real supplies, and it is in the power of our hands to furnish them. [1.] It is no strange thing for saints in this world to want necessaries for the support of their natural live. In those primitive times prevailing persecutions must needs reduce many of the suffering saints to great extremities; and still the poor, even the poor saints, we have always with us. Surely the things of this world are not the best things; if they were, the saints, who are the favourites of heaven, would not be put off with so little of them. [2.] It is the duty of those who have wherewithal to distribute, or (as it might better be read) to communicate to those necessities. It is not enough to draw out the soul, but we must draw out the purse, to the hungry. See Jam. 2:15, 16; 1 Jn. 3:17. Communicating—koinoµnountes. It intimates that our poor brethren have a kind of interest in that which God hath given us; and that our reliving them should come from a sense and fellow-feeling of their wants, as though we suffered with them. The charitable benevolence of the Philippians to Paul is called their communicating with his affliction, Phil. 4:14. We must be ready, as we have ability and opportunity, to relieve any that are in want; but we are in a special manner bound to communicate to the saints. There is a common love owing to our fellow-creatures, but a special love owing to our fellow-christians (Gal. 6:10), Especially to those who are of the household of faith. Communicating, tais mneiais—to the memories of the saints; so some of the ancients read it, instead of tais chreiais. There is a debt owing to the memory of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises-to value it, to vindicate it, to embalm it. Let the memory of the just be blessed; so some read Prov. 10:7. He mentions another branch of this bountiful love: Given to hospitality. Those who have houses of their own should be ready to entertain those who go about doing good, or who, for fear of persecution, are forced to wander for shelter. They had not then so much of the convenience of common inns as we have; or the wandering Christians durst not frequent them; or they had not wherewithal to bear the charges, and therefore it was a special kindness to bid them welcome on free-cost. Nor is it yet an antiquated superseded duty; as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers, for we know not the heart of a stranger. I was a stranger, and you took me in, is mentioned as one instance of the mercifulness of those that shall obtain mercy: teµn philoxenian dioµkontes—following or pursuing hospitality. It intimates, not only that we must take opportunity, but that we must seek opportunity, thus to show mercy. As Abraham, who sat at the tent-door (Gen. 18:1), and Lot, who sat in the gate of Sodom (Gen. 19:1), expecting travellers, whom they might meet and prevent with a kind invitation, and so they entertained angels unawares, Heb. 13:2.
(4.) A sympathizing love (v. 15): Rejoice with those that do rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Where there is a mutual love between the members of the mystical body, there will be such a fellow-feeling. See 1 Co. 12:26. True love will interest us in the sorrows and joys of one another, and teach us to make them our own. Observe the common mixture in this world, some rejoicing, and others weeping (as the people, Ezra 3:12, 13), for the trial, as of other graces, so of brotherly love and Christian sympathy. Not that we must participate in the sinful mirths or mournings of any, but only in just and reasonable joys and sorrows: not envying those that prosper, but rejoicing with them; truly glad that others have the success and comfort which we have not; not despising those that are in trouble, but concerned for them, and ready to help them, as being ourselves in the body. This is to do as God does, who not only has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants (Ps. 35:27), but is likewise afflicted in all their afflictions, Isa. 63:9.
(5.) A united love: "Be of the same mind one towards another (v. 16), that is, labour, as much as you can, to agree in apprehension; and, wherein you come short of this, yet agree in affection; endeavour to be all one, not affecting to clash, and contradict, and thwart one another; but keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, Phil. 2:2; 3:15, 16; 1 Co. 1:10; to auto eis alleµlous phronountes—wishing the same good to others that you do to yourselves;" so some understand it. This is to love our brethren as ourselves, desiring their welfare as our own.
(6.) A condescending love: Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate, v. 16. True love cannot be without lowliness, Eph. 4:1, 2; Phil. 2:3. When our Lord Jesus washed his disciples' feet, to teach us brotherly love (Jn. 13:5; 14:34), it was designed especially to intimate to us that to love one another aright is to be willing to stoop to the meanest offices of kindness for the good of one another. Love is a condescending grace: Non bene conveniunt—majestas et amor—Majesty and love do but ill assort with each other. Observe how it is pressed here. [1.] Mind not high things. We must not be ambitious of honour and preferment, nor look upon worldly pomp and dignity with any inordinate value or desire but rather with a holy contempt. When David's advancements were high, his spirit was humble (Ps. 131:1): I do not exercise myself in great matters. The Romans, living in the imperial city, which reigned over the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:18), and was at that time in the meridian of its splendour, were perhaps ready to take occasion thence to think the better of themselves. Even the holy seed were tainted with this leaven. Roman Christians, as some citizens do upon the country; and therefore the apostle so often cautions them against high-mindedness; compare ch. 11:20. They lived near the court, and conversed daily with the gaiety and grandeur of it: "Well," saith he, "do not mind it, be not in love with it." [2.] Condescend to men of low estate—Tois tapeinois synapagomenoi. First, It may be meant of mean things, to which we must condescend. If our condition in the world be poor and low, our enjoyments coarse and scanty, our employments despicable and contemptible, yet we must bring our minds to it, and acquiesce in it. So the margin: Be contented with mean things. Be reconciled to the place which God in his providence hath put us in, whatever it be. We must account nothing below us but sin: stoop to mean habitations, mean fare, mean clothing, mean accommodations when they are our lot, and not grudge. Nay, we must be carried with a kind of impetus, by the force of the new nature (so the word synapagomai properly signifies, and it is very significant), towards mean things, when God appoints us to them; as the old corrupt nature is carried out towards high things. We must accommodate ourselves to mean things. We should make a low condition and mean circumstances more the centre of our desires than a high condition. Secondly, It may be meant of mean persons; so we read it (I think both are to be included) Condescend to men of low estate. We must associate with, and accommodate ourselves to, those that are poor and mean in the world, if they be such as fear God. David, though a king upon the throne, was a companion for all such, Ps. 119:63. We need not be ashamed to converse with the lowly, while the great God overlooks heaven and earth to look at such. True love values grace in rags as well as in scarlet. A jewel is a jewel, though it lie in the dirt. The contrary to this condescension is reproved, Jam. 2:1-4. Condescend; that is, suit yourselves to them, stoop to them for their good; as Paul, 1 Cor. 9:19, etc. Some think the original word is a metaphor taken from travellers, when those that are stronger and swifter of foot stay for those that are weak and slow, make a halt, and take them with them; thus must Christians be tender towards their fellow travellers. As a means to promote this, he adds, Be not wise in your own conceits; to the same purport with v. 3. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others while we find there so great a conceit of ourselves: and therefore this must needs be mortified. Meµ ginesthe phronimoi parÕ heautois—"Be not wise by yourselves, be not confident of the sufficiency of your own wisdom, so as to despise others, or think you have no need of them (Prov. 3:7), nor be shy of communicating what you have to others. We are members one of another, depend upon one another, are obliged to one another; and therefore, Be not wise by yourselves, remembering it is the merchandise of wisdom that we profess; now merchandise consists in commerce, receiving and returning."
(7.) A love that engages us, as much as lies in us, to live peaceably with all men, v. 18. Even those with whom we cannot live intimately and familiarly, by reason of distance in degree or profession, yet we must with such live peaceably; that is, we must be harmless and inoffensive, not giving others occasion to quarrel with us; and we must be gall-less and unrevengeful, not taking occasion to quarrel with them. Thus must we labour to preserve the peace, that it be not broken, and to piece it again when it is broken. The wisdom from above is pure and peaceable. Observe how the exhortation is limited. It is not expressed so as to oblige us to impossibilities: If it be possible, as much as lies in you. Thus Heb. 12:14, Follow peace. Eph. 4:3, Endeavouring to keep. Study the things that make for peace.—If it be possible. It is not possible to preserve the peace when we cannot do it without offending God and wounding conscience: Id possumus quod jure possumus—That is possible which is possible without incurring blame. The wisdom that is from above is first pure and then peaceable, Jam. 3:17. Peace without purity is the peace of the devil's palace.—As much as lieth in you. There must be two words to the bargain of peace. We can but speak for ourselves. We may be unavoidably striven with; as Jeremiah, who was a man of contention (Jer. 15:10), and this we cannot help; our care must be that nothing be wanting on our parts to preserve the peace, Ps. 120:7. I am for peace, though, when I speak, they are for war.
2. To our enemies. Since men became enemies to God, they have been found very apt to be enemies one to another. Let but the centre of love be once forsaken, and the lines will either clash and interfere, or be at an uncomfortable distance. And, of all men, those that embrace religion have reason to expect to meet with enemies in a world whose smiles seldom concur with Christ's. Now Christianity teaches us how to behave towards our enemies; and in this instruction it quite differs from all other rules and methods, which generally aim at victory and dominion; but this at inward peace and satisfaction. Whoever are our enemies, that wish us ill and seek to do us ill, our rule is to do them no hurt, but all the good we can.
(1.) To do them no hurt (v. 17): Recompense to no man evil for evil, for that is a brutish recompence, and befitting only those animals which are not conscious either of any being above them or of any state before them. Or, if mankind were made (as some dream) in a state of war, such recompences as these were agreeable enough; but we have not so learned God, who does so much for his enemies (Mt. 5:45), much less have we so learned Christ, who died for us when we were enemies (ch. 5:8, 10), so loved that world which hated him without a cause.—"To no man; neither to Jew nor Greek; not to one that has been thy friend, for by recompensing evil for evil thou wilt certainly lose him; not to one that has been thine enemy, for by not recompensing evil for evil thou mayest perhaps gain him." To the same purport, v. 19, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves. And why must this be ushered in with such an affectionate compellation, rather than any other of the exhortations of this chapter? Surely because this is intended for the composing of angry spirits, that are hot in the resentment of a provocation. He addresses himself to such in this endearing language, to mollify and qualify them. Any thing that breathes love sweetens the blood, lays the storm, and cools the intemperate heat. Would you pacify a brother offended? Call him dearly beloved. Such a soft word, fitly spoken, may be effectual to turn away wrath. Avenge not yourselves; that is, when any body has done you any ill turn, do not desire nor endeavour to bring the like mischief or inconvenience upon him. it is not forbidden to the magistrate to do justice to those that are wronged, by punishing the wrong-doer; nor to make and execute just and wholesome laws against malefactors; but it forbids private revenge, which flows from anger and ill-will; and this is fitly forbidden, for it is presumed that we are incompetent judges in our own case. Nay, if persons wronged in seeking the defence of the law, and magistrates in granting it, act from any particular personal pique or quarrel, and not from a concern that public peace and order be maintained and right done, even such proceedings, though seemingly regular, will fall under this prohibited self-revenging. See how strict the law of Christ is in this matter, Mt. 5:38-40. It is forbidden not only to take it into our own hands to avenge ourselves, but to desire and thirst after event that judgment in our case which the law affords, for the satisfying of a revengeful humour. This is a hard lesson to corrupt nature; and therefore he subjoins, [1.] A remedy against it: Rather give place unto wrath. Not to our own wrath; to give place to this is to give place to the devil, Eph. 4:26, 27. We must resist, and stifle, and smother, and suppress this; but, First, To the wrath of our enemy. "Give place to it, that is, be of a yielding temper; do not answer wrath with wrath, but with love rather. Yielding pacifies great offences, Eccl. 10:4. Receive affronts and injuries, as a stone is received into a heap of wool, which gives way to it, and so it does not rebound back, nor go any further." So it explains that of our Saviour (Mt. 5:39), Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Instead of meditating how to revenge one wrong, prepare to receive another. When men's passions are up, and the stream is strong, let it have its course, lest by an unseasonable opposition it be made to rage and swell the more. When others are angry, let us be calm; this is a remedy against revenge, and seems to be the genuine sense. But, Secondly, Many apply it to the wrath of God: "Give place to this, make room for him to take the throne of judgment, and let him alone to deal with thine adversary." [2.] A reason against it: For it is written, Vengeance is mine. We find it written, Deu. 32:35. God is the sovereign King, the righteous Judge, and to him it belongs to administer justice; for, being a God of infinite knowledge, by him actions are weighed in unerring balances; and, being a God of infinite purity, he hates sin and cannot endure to look upon iniquity. Some of this power he hath trusted in the hands of the civil magistrates (Gen. 9:6; ch. 13:4); their legal punishments therefore are to be looked upon as a branch of God's revengings. This is a good reason why we should not avenge ourselves; for, if vengeance be God's, then, First, We may not do it. We step into the throne of God if we do and take his work out of his hand. Secondly, We need not do it. For God will, if we meekly leave the matter with him; he will avenge us as far as there is reason or justice for it, and further we cannot desire it. See Ps. 38:14, 15, I heard not, for thou wilt hear; and if God hears what need is there for me to hear?
(2.) We must not only not to hurt to our enemies, but our religion goes higher, and teaches us to do them all the good we can. It is a command peculiar to Christianity, and which does highly commend it: Love your enemies, Mt. 5:44. We are here taught to show that love to them both in word and deed.
[1.] In word: Bless those who persecute you, v. 14. It has been the common lot of God's people to be persecuted, either with a powerful hand or with a spiteful tongue. Now we are here taught to bless those that so persecute us. Bless them; that is, First, "Speak well of them. If there be any thing in them that is commendable and praiseworthy, take notice of it, and mention it to their honour." Secondly, "Speak respectfully to them, according as their place is, not rendering railing for railing, and bitterness for bitterness." And, Thirdly, We must wish well to them, and desire their good, so far from seeking any revenge. Nay, Fourthly, We must offer up that desire to God, by prayer for them. If it be not in the power of our hand to do any thing else for them, yet we can testify our good-will by praying for them, for which our master hath given us not only a rule, but an example to back that rule, Lu. 23:34—Bless, and curse not. It denotes a thorough good-will in all the instances and expressions of it; not, "bless them when you are at prayer, and curse them at other times;" but, "bless them always, and curse not at all." Cursing ill becomes the mouths of those whose work it is to bless God, and whose happiness it is to be blessed of him.
[2.] In deed (v. 20): "If thine enemy hunger, as thou hast ability and opportunity, be ready and forward to show him any kindness, and do him any office of love for his good; and be never the less forward for his having been thine enemy, but rather the more, that thous mayest thereby testify the sincerity of thy forgiveness of him." It is said of archbishop Cranmer that the way for a man to make him his friend was to do him an ill turn. The precept is quoted from Prov. 25:21, 22; so that, high as it seems to be, the Old Testament was not a stranger to it. Observe here, First, What we must do. We must do good to our enemies. "If he hunger, do not insult over him, and say, Now God is avenging me of him, and pleading my cause; do not make such a construction of his wants. But feed him." Then, when he has need of thy help, and thou hast an opportunity of starving him and trampling upon him, then feed him (psoµmize auton, a significant word)—"feed him abundantly, nay, feed him carefully and indulgently:" frustulatim pasce—feed him with small pieces, "feed him, as we do children and sick people, with much tenderness. Contrive to do it so as to express thy love. If he thirst, give him drink: potize auton—drink to him, in token of reconciliation and friendship. So confirm your love to him." Secondly, Why we must do this. Because in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Two senses are given of this, which I think are both to be taken in disjunctively. Thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head; that is, "Thou shalt either," 1. "Melt him into repentance and friendship, and mollify his spirit towards thee" (alluding to those who melt metals; they not only put fire under them, but heap fire upon them; thus Saul was melted and conquered with the kindness of David, 1 Sa. 24:16; 26:21)—"thou wilt win a friend by it, and if thy kindness have not that effect then," 2. "It will aggravate his condemnation, and make his malice against thee the more inexcusable. Thou wilt hereby hasten upon him the tokens of God's wrath and vengeance." Not that this must be our intention in showing him kindness, but, for our encouragement, such will be the effect. To this purpose is the exhortation in the last vers, which suggests a paradox not easily understood by the world, that in all matters of strife and contention those that revenge are the conquered, and those that forgive are the conquerors. (1.) "Be not overcome of evil. Let not the evil of any provocation that is given you have such a power over you, or make such an impression upon you, as to dispossess you of yourselves, to disturb your peace, to destroy your love, to ruffle and discompose your spirits, to transport you to any indecencies, or to bring you to study or attempt any revenge." He that cannot quietly bear an injury is perfectly conquered by it. (2.) "But overcome evil with good, with the good of patience and forbearance, nay, and of kindness and beneficence to those that wrong you. Learn to defeat their ill designs against you, and either to change them, or at least to preserve your own peace." He that hath this rule over his spirit is better than the mighty.
3. To conclude, there remain two exhortations yet untouched, which are general, and which recommend all the rest as good in themselves, and of good report.
(1.) As good in themselves (v. 9): Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. God hath shown us what is good: these Christian duties are enjoined; and that is evil which is opposite to them. Now observe, [1.] We must not only not do evil, but we must abhor that which is evil. We must hate sin with an utter and irreconcilable hatred, have an antipathy to it as the worst of evils, contrary to our new nature, and to our true interest-hating all the appearances of sin, even the garment spotted with the flesh. [2.] We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. It denotes a deliberate choice of, a sincere affection for, and a constant perseverance in, that which is good. "So cleave to it as not to be allured nor affrighted from it, cleave to him that is good, even to the Lord (Acts 11:23), with a dependence and acquiescence." It is subjoined to the precept of brotherly love, as directive of it; we must love our brethren, but not love them so much as for their sakes to commit any sin, or omit any duty; not think the better of any sin for the sake of the person that commits it, but forsake all the friends in the world, to cleave to God and duty.
(2.) As of good report (v. 17): "Provide things honest in the sight of all men; that is, not only do, but study and forecast and take care to do, that which is amiable and creditable, and recommends religion to all with whom you converse." See Phil. 4:8. These acts of charity and beneficence are in a special manner of good report among men, and therefore are to be industriously regarded by all
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