Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly
that I worked on back in 2015. With this study, as I
have often done, I used the SOAP
method of Bible study. Just a quick reminder that the S is for
Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for
Prayer. The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.
So here we go with the Scripture for the third day of that section. Again this lesson, I took a rather deep dive into the Observation component of the study.
S= "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith,
"Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;
"Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:6-8)
O= This section (12:3-8) of the letter to the Romans is titled by C.I. Scofield: "Service through gifts of the Spirit". Scofield comments that the epistle to the Romans "is rightly placed first among the epistles, because it is the most complete exposition in the New Testament of the central truths of Christianity."
He adds that the epistle closes "by laying upon all Christians the obligation of the recipients of the 'mercies of God' (12:1) to live lives of consecrated service."
Today's verses are part of a section titled by Scofield: "Christian Life and Service for the Glory of God." Verses 6-8 note that as members of Christ's body, we have been given differing gifts, for use within the body. Some examples of spiritual gifts, and how they are to be used, follow:
* Prophecy -- let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
* Ministry -- let us wait on our ministering.
* Teaching -- let us wait on our teaching.
* Exhortation -- let us wait on our exhorting of others.
* Giving -- to be done with liberality.
* Ruling -- to be done with diligence.
* Showing mercy -- to be done with cheerfulness.
A cross-reference for "given to us" in verse 6 is John 3:27 -- "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."
Warren Wiersbe sheds some great light on this passage in his book Be Right: "Each believer has a gift (or gifts) to be used for the building up of the Body and the perfecting of the other members of the Body. In short, we belong to each other, we minister to each other, and we need each other.
"Each believer has a different gift, and God has bestowed these gifts so the local body can grow in a balanced way. But each Christian must exercise his or her gift by faith. We may not see the result of our ministry, but the Lord sees it and He blesses. Note that 'exhortation' (encouragement) is just as much a spiritual ministry as preaching or teaching. Giving and showing mercy are also important gifts. To some people, God has given the ability to rule, or administer the various functions of the church. Whatever gift we have must be dedicated to God, and used for the good of the whole church."
William MacDonald comments in Believer's Bible Commentary: "God gives the necessary strength or ability to use whatever gifts we have. So we are responsible to use these God-given abilities as good stewards ... Whatever our gift is, we should give ourselves to it wholeheartedly."
A= God has given me, and every believer, gifts to be used in our local churches and in the body of Christ in general. He expects me to identify my gifts, to nurture them and use them. I think that when it says we are to "wait on" some of these things, it means to exercise these gifts in faith, as Wiersbe says, realizing that we may not see the results, but God does.
I also found that reading these verses in the ESV helped with my understanding of them:
"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, so let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 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."
For example, though it sounds so simple, if we serve, we are to use the spiritual gifts given to us as we serve others. I personally believe that every believer may have the gift of serving, and that is why I chose it as my example. Let's do as William MacDonald exhorts and give ourselves wholeheartedly to our gifts!
P= "Lord, I am so thankful for the spiritual gifts You've blessed me with. I understand that you don't intend me to hide those gifts or to use them selfishly. You intend them for the good of the body of Christ and for the good of my local church in particular. I pray that You will help me to faithfully exercise these gifts You have so generously given me, and that You will help me as I seek to encourage others to recognize, develop, and use their own spiritual gifts. I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."
And that's this week's Sunday Scripture!