What does Romans 12:3 mean?
ESV: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
NIV: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
NASB: For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
CSB: For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
NLT: Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
KJV: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Paul has written that those of us who have received God's awesome mercy in Christ should change the way we lead our lives. In fact, he has urged us to sacrifice how we use our bodies and our minds. We should seek to be used by God for His purposes and to see the world through the lens of what He wants instead of just what we want.
Now Paul writes that this begins with seeing ourselves as we really are. By nature, human beings inflate our perception of ourselves. We are ever at the center of our own mind's eye, always measuring everything we see and hear against the standard of our own perspective.
Paul writes that one of the ways our minds must be transformed is in developing the ability to see ourselves accurately. We must develop "sober judgment," or an objective eye. We need to be honest with ourselves about what we're good at and what we're not.
Paul does not say we must all learn to think of ourselves as terrible and worthless. Instead, he wants us to step away from the funhouse mirror that causes us to see ourselves as big and powerful and important. It takes faith to see ourselves objectively in this way, Paul writes. Why faith? He will go on to show that we must see ourselves truthfully so that we can trust God to do through us what He has gifted us for.
In other words, God has work for each of us to spend our lives doing in service to His church. An inflated view of ourselves will only get in the way of the truly powerful things God intends to do through us.
Romans 12:3–8 describes the first responsibility of every living-sacrifice Christian who worships the Lord. The church is like a body: Christ's body. Each Christian has a part to play using the specific spiritual gifts God has given to us. These gifts of grace provide all the power and ability we need to serve each other, but we must still do it, whether our gift is service, teaching, exhortation, mercy, or something else.
In Romans 12, Paul describes the worship of our God as becoming living sacrifices to our God, giving up seeking what we want from life and learning to know and serve what God wants. That begins with using our spiritual gifts to serve each other in the church. Paul's list of commands describes a lifestyle of setting ourselves aside. Our goal as Christians is to love and lift each other up. We must focus our expectation on eternity and wait with patience and prayer for our Father to provide. We must refuse to sink to evil's level, giving good to those who harm us instead of revenge.
Romans 11 ended with a hymn describing God's vast ownership of the universe. Romans 12 begins by asking the question, ''Since He owed us nothing and has given us great mercy, how should we respond?'' The answer is a life of self-sacrificing worship spent in serving the Lord and other believers, refusing revenge and overcoming evil with good. Romans 13 will continue to describe God's intended lifestyle for those in Christ.
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:38:00 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.