Romans 12:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 12:11, NIV: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Romans 12:11, ESV: "Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."

Romans 12:11, KJV: "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;"

Romans 12:11, NASB: "not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;"

Romans 12:11, NLT: "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically."

Romans 12:11, CSB: "Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord."

What does Romans 12:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul commanded Christians to seek to outdo each other in showing honor to one another. Now he writes that we must not be lazy in our enthusiasm. The two commands may well be related. Paul is urging us to be energetic in our attempts to give honor to each other. It may be that he is urging us to live with zeal or enthusiasm, in general, to remain focused, intentional, and positive about our purpose in treating each other well in the body of Christ.

He ramps the idea of enthusiasm up another notch by adding that we must be fervent in spirit; we must keep our spiritual fervor. The Greek word here is zeontes, related to the root word for "life," and the phrase could literally be translated that we must be boiling in our spirit. This could either mean that we must keep up our own spirits or that we should be set on fire by God's Spirit in us. In either case, this is a clear call from Paul to avoid allowing ourselves to become bored or tepid as we pursue our purpose as believers.

There is an appropriate target for this energy and enthusiasm: serving the Lord. That's the final command in the verse. Connecting that together, Paul is urging us to be "all in," both spiritually and emotionally, when it comes to serving the Lord and serving each other.