Romans 12:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 12:8, NIV: "if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Romans 12:8, ESV: "the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."

Romans 12:8, KJV: "Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."

Romans 12:8, NASB: "or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

Romans 12:8, NLT: "If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly."

Romans 12:8, CSB: "if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness."

What does Romans 12:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is urging those who have received God's mercy through faith in Christ—all Christians—to use the spiritual gifts they have received through God's Spirit to serve each other in the church. So far, Paul has listed the gifts of prophecy, service, and teaching. He seems to be saying that each of these are given to different people, not that every person would have all these gifts.

The gift of exhortation is the Spirit-enabled ability to build someone up by challenging him or her to do better. This passage includes strong exhortation from Paul himself. The church needs exhorters to keep all of us on the right path and moving forward.

Contribution, sometimes called the gift of giving, has to do with money. It is the ability to see the financial need and to step in to help meet that need. As Paul writes here, it requires generosity. Giving generously does not require that someone be wealthy. Often Christians of very limited resources are the most generous in the church as they are led by the Holy Spirit to exercise this gift.

Paul lists leadership as a separate gift from teaching, though often in the church we expect the same person to have both gifts. This often isn't the case. Sometimes called the gift of administration, this is the supernatural ability to call others to follow in the best direction for the group. Paul urges those with this gift to use it with zeal or enthusiasm. Spirit-gifted leaders help to set the energy level for the entire group.

Finally, Paul lists the gift of mercy. This is a powerful gift when exercised in the Holy Spirit. It involves the ability to reflect the mercy God has shown to us on a personal level. Someone with the gift of mercy does not express to others that their wrong choices are okay, but that they are forgiven and accepted in Christ. Another view of this gift is that it involves ministering to the less fortunate. In either case, Paul urges this gift to be exercised with genuine cheerfulness.