Hey! Just a quick message for those following on WordPress before I launch into the next blog in a meander though Romans 12:8:
a) If you are following (subscribing) on WordPress and have yet to subscribe to my personal mailing list please do- it is much more fun. There is more from me personally, access to extra material and in the future I would like to give you free downloads, subscriber only offers for upcoming books etc.
b) If you do subscribe to my personal Mailchimp (the one where I send you an email with the link to new blogs) then please feel free to ‘unfollow’ via wordpress- I won’t be offended (ha!) it will just save you from receiving every blog twice (one on the generic automated WordPress email and the other nice personal one with images 🙂
If you are lost just ask me.
Ok sorted. Here goes:
I’m not sure if it is an elephant in the room… but in the last three days as I have tried to separate verse 6, 7 & 8 in Romans 12 but it is clear that they should be read together. No need to be a Bible scholar to figure that out- in most translations they are together in one sentence.
There are important aspects to each verse but, I have had the growing concern that someone in cyberspace would read one in isolation and draw conclusions based on that one post. They really should be read and studied together.
Did you know that you can read different versions in parallel on biblegateway.com? This is particularly helpful when you are reading a paraphrased version like The Message. I like to read the NKJV alongside another translation too- sometimes feel like the old school language feels like a riddle to solve…
I have done the hard work for you- here are four versions of Romans 12:6-8. (You can thank me later.)
This meander through Romans 12 reflects how do my own devotions: sometimes deep and theological- looking up Strongs and cross referencing other scriptures, sometimes off on a tangent with musings that are evoked by the scriptures and curiosity, sometimes long, sometimes short.
When I read Romans 12:8
‘he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.’
my first thought was diversity.
Then I was intrigued by the word exhort. I only time I personally use the word is to describe a time where a worship leader encourages the congregation to engage at a deeper level. When else do you exhort someone?
To me the word exhort perfectly depicts those times where a worship leader reminds you who Jesus is and how worthy of our praise He is. He exhorted the congregation to worship Jesus.
To me (Carly’s Dictionary) to exhort means to strongly encourage, inspire or uplift.
It turns out in the Greek I am close but, a little off the money. Exhort is the Greek word (3870) parakaleó: to call for, to exhort, to encourage. The interesting part is that verse 8 says ‘to exhort in exhortation.’ The word exhortation is the the Greek word (3874) paraklésis a comforting type of encouragement, a calling or urging of someone when walking close beside them- coming to their aid. Beautiful right?
Check the Lex Greek Strongs 3874 παράκλησις pronunciation : par-ak’-lay-sis
from 3870; imploration, hortation, solace:-comfort, consolation, exhortation, intreaty.
A calling alongside to help, to give comfort, to give consolation or encouragement. The paraklete is a strengthening presence, one who upholds those appealing for assistance.
I love this! It describes an encouragement that it close, personal, a doing life together type of encouragement, pastoral and authentic. Inspiring. I want to offer this type of next level encouragement. Don’t you?
The following verses reciprocate this ‘next level’ notion.
If your gift is giving then give liberally, or generously as the NIV puts it. I love that giving is a gift- we need more Spirit led people in the marketplace.
If your gift is leading do it with diligence- carefully, earnestly but without wasting time.
If your gift is showing mercy- (again I love that this is a gift not just a personality or emotion, it’s a gift, how amazing!) do it with cheerfulness. That’ll ensure longevity.
Every gift is taken to the next level. It is inspiring to think about a church where people are using their gifts like this.
This could be controversial but I think we all have elements of each of these gifts mentioned. Surely we are all called to exhort, give, lead and show mercy? Yes some of us do it naturally or in a greater measure but I feel like we can all grow in all of these areas.
Thankfully God doesn’t overwhelm us and usually works on one area at a time.
Today I was drawn to the leader. ‘he who leads, with diligence;’
When Paul was exhorting (there’s that word again) the elders (or leaders) of the church in Ephesus he said these words:
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28
The Holy Spirit has given us our gifts. He gives divine enablement. Our gifts are best outworked in His grace.
What are your gifts?
Don’t doubt yourself. He is able.
Would love know your thoughts…
What does this verse evoke in you?
Any particular revelation so far in our meander though Romans 12?