12: 7-10

“Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering:  or he that teacheth, on teaching;”

           “Or ministry”– This word properly means service of any kind, (Luke 10:40).

            MINISTRY: (Grk.–diakonian)—This word is used to denote the service which is rendered to Christ as the Master.  It is applied to all classes of ministries in the N.T., as denoting their being the servants of Christ.  

          This is used to denote that class who were called deacons, i.e. those who had the care of the poor, who provided for the sick, and who watched over the external matters of the church.  In the following places it is used to denote the ministry, or service, which Paul and the other apostles rendered in their public work, (11:13; 15:31; Acts 1:17, 25; 6:4; 12:25; 20:24; 21:19; II Cor. 5:18; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; I Tim. 1:12).
          In a few places this word is used to denote the office which the deacons fulfilled, (Acts 6:1; 11:29; I Cor. 16:15; II Cor. 11:8). In this sense the Greek word for deacon  (diakonos),  is most commonly used as denoting the office which was performed in providing for the poor, and administering the alms of the church.

Some remark that there were two orders of deacons:
Deacons of the TABLE, (diakonoi tes trapizês), whose business it was to take care of the alms collected in the Church, and distribute them among the poor, widows, etc.,

2.     Deacons of the WORD (diakonoi tes logou)), whose business it was to preach, and variously instruct the people.

 It seems that after the persecution raised against the apostolic Church, in consequence of which they became dispersed, the deaconship of tables ceased, as did also the community of goods; and Philip, who was one of these deacons, who at first served tables, betook himself entirely to preaching of the word: see Acts 8:4, etc. In the primitive Church, it is sufficiently evident that the deacons gave the bread and wine in the Eucharist to the believers in the Church, and carried it to those who were absent.– Adam Clark’s Commentary

Paul probably did not specifically refer to those who were appropriately called deacons, but to those engaged in the office of the ministry of the word; whose business it was to preach, and thus to serve the churches. In this sense the word is often used in the N.T. and the connection seems to demand the same interpretation here.

     “let us wait on”
     This phrase is not in the original Greek text.  It was added by the KJV translators.

      “on {our} ministering”
      Literally:  “in the ministry”–Occupy ourselves with it in a humble and contented spirit.  The  word imports any kind of service, from the dispensing of the Word of Life (Acts         6:4) and to the administering of the temporal affairs of the Church (Acts 6:1-3).

If instead of prophecy, our gift be the more lowly one of ministering, let us give our full time and attention to it;  be wholly and diligently occupied in this. Let this be our great business, and let us give entire attention to it.  Particularly the connection requires us to understand this as directing those who ministered NOT to aspire to the office and honors of those who prophesied.  Let them not think of themselves more highly than they ought, but be engaged entirely in their own appropriate work.

“he that teacheth.”
Literally:  “Or the {one} teaching.”–Aimed at the understanding. The teacher (Grk.–didaskalos)—was a person whose office it was to instruct others, or simply explain   the grand truths of Christianity.

          It is clear that this is used to denote a class of persons different, in some respects, from those who prophesied and from those who exhorted.   Teachers are mentioned in the N.T. in the grade next to the prophets, (Acts 13:1; I Cor. 12:28,29; Eph. 4:11). In Eph. 4:11 Paul applies this term to the office of pastor–“pastor and teacher” (literally a hyphenated word).  He also applies this term to the “bishop” (better rendered as “overseer”) in I Timothy 3:2–“apt to teach.”
          Perhaps the difference between the
prophets, the ministers, (the teachers, and the exhorters) was this:  that the First: (prophets), spoke by inspiration; the Second:(ministers)–the diakonoi (deacons), engaged in all the functions of the ministry; the teachers (pastorsEph. 4:11) were employed in communicating instruction;  teaching the Doctrines of the Christian faith. The fact that teachers are so often mentioned in the N.T. shows that they were a class by themselves. Teachers are expressly distinguished from prophets, and put after them, as exercising a lower function (Acts 13:1; I Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11-12).  The last exhorted, or entreated Christians to lead a holy life, without making it a particular subject to teach, and without pretending to administer the ordinances of religion as did the pastors and deacons.

“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.”

“or he that exhorteth”
Literally:  “Or the {one} exhorting.”–This word properly denotes one who urges others to the practical duties of the Christian faith in distinction from one who teaches its doctrines.

           EXHORTETH:  (Grk.–parakaleō)–This Greek word literally means, “to call to a person, and has also been rendered as “beseech; admonish, urge” (see notes on v. 1).  Luther said, “Teaching is meant for the ignorant and exhortation for those who know.”

          This is referring to one who presents the warnings and the promises of God to excite believers to the carrying out of their duty.  He whose peculiar strength was to encourage feeble saints, and to stir up Christians to duty.  The person who admonished and reprehended the unruly or disorderly; and who supported the weak and comforted the penitents, and those who were under heaviness through manifold temptations.
          It is clear that there were persons in the early church who were recognized as engaging especially in this duty and who were known by this title.  How long this was continued  in the early church we do not know; but it cannot be doubted that it may still be expedient in many times and places to have persons designated to this work.  In most churches this duty is now blended with the other offices of the ministry
          Keep in mind the persecution that this first century church was enduring.  Torture and death was facing them.  The spirits of the believers certainly needed “bucking-up,” so the Lord would especially raise up and equip some for this task of encouraging and exhorting.  With the persecution of Christians going on in the world today (including that increasingly taking place here in the USA).
         Since all preaching, whether by apostles, prophets, or teachers, was followed up by exhortation (Acts 11:23; 14:22; 15:32), many think that no specific class is really in view here. But if liberty was given to others to exercise themselves occasionally in exhorting the brethren, either generally, or small parties of the less instructed, the reference may be to ones specifically gifted.

         “he that giveth”
         Literally, “The {one} shares;” that is, earthly possessions.  He who distributes the alms of   the Church,

         GIVETH:  (Grk.–metadidōmi)–Literally:  “to give a share of, impart.”– The word denotes the person whose office it was to distribute; and probably designates
the one who distributed the alms of the church, probably meaning him who was the “Deacon of the TABLE,” (diakonoi tes trapizês). 

One who distributed the alms of the Church, with simplicity, and who was  not influenced by partiality, but dividing to each according to the necessity of his case.  Basically, this was the duty of all, which must be discharged without ostentation (see Matt. 6:2).  It was deemed an important matter among the early Christians to impart liberally of their substance to support the poor, and provide for the needy, (15:26; Acts 2:44-47; 4:34-37; 5:1-11; Gal. 2:10; II Cor. 8:8; 9:2,12). Hence it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, who should be especially charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed, (see Acts 6:1-6).

“let him do it with simplicity”
Literally:  “In simplicity.”–The phrase, “let him do it with,” is NOT in the original Greek text.  It was added by the English translators, as they did so freely.

“Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminsh {ought} fomr it… (Deut. 3:2).
“What thing soever I command you, observe to do it:  thou shalt not add thereto, nor dimish from it” (Deut. 12:32).

“Every Word of God is pure:..”
Add thou not unto His words, lest He rebuke thee, annd thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 20:5-6).

           “For I testify unto every man that heareth the Words of the prophecy of this Book, 'If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”
           “And if any man shall take away from the Words of the Book of this prophecyc, God shall take away His part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and
{from} the things which are written in this book(Rev. 22:18-19).  ENOUGH SAID!

                        SIMPLICITY:  (Grk.–haplotês)—This word is used to denote purity, honesty of aim, integrity, without any mixture of a base, selfish, or sinister end.

            It requires the bestowal of a favor without seeking any personal or selfish ends; without partiality..  That which is only done so with the desire to bestow them in the best possible manner to promote the object for which they were given, (II Cor. 8:2; 9:11; 1:12; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22.).  It is realized that when property was entrusted to them, there would be danger that they might be tempted to employ it for selfish ends; that is, to promote their influence and prosperity.   
            So Paul exhorted them to do it with a single aim to the object for which it was given. He knew that there was nothing more tempting than the possession of wealth, though it may have been given to be appropriated to others.  This  exhortation is applicable not only to the deacons of the churches, but to all who in this day of Christian benevolence are entrusted with money to be used for alms for the poor and needy.

“he that ruleth”
Literally: “The {one} taking the lead.”That has the care of a local flock.  This would be the pastor (Eph. 4:11) or “overseer”  (I Tim. 3:1).  The reference is to any position involving managing or directing.

RULETH:  (Grk.–proistamenos)–Literally: “taking the lead.”

        This word properly designates one who is set over others, or who presides, or one who attends with diligence and care to a thing. In I Thess. 5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord.”  In I Tim. 3:4,5,12, it is applied to the head of a family, or one who diligently and faithfully performs the duty of a father: “One that ruleth well his own house.” (1Tim. 5:17), it is applied to “elders” in the church: “Let the elders that rule well,” etc.
        No special ecclesiastical office is meant here.  It might imply those whose business it was to receive and entertain the apostolic teachers who traveled from place to place, establishing and confirming the Churches.  In this sense Paul applies the word Greek word  prostatis  (meaning, succourer; protecttress; patroness) to Phoebe, (16:2)–“She hath been a SUCCOURER of many, and of myself also”. Paul directs that this ministry should be carried out with diligence; that is, that those who are destitute should have their necessities as promptly and as amply supplied as possible.

“with diligence”
Literally:  “In diligence”–This word normally meant haste, (Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39);  but it is used here to  mean that they should be attentive to the duties of their vocation, and doing with determination or zeal in what was committed the task assigned to them.

            “he that sheweth mercy”
            Literally:  “the {one} showing mercy.”–This may refer to those taking care of the sick and infirm, the aged and the needy.

            That is, not so much providing for them by charity, as attending to those in their affliction.  Remember, that at that time many of the believers had    lost their homes, and even most everything, including their employment because of       persecution. This mostly likely would be  the deacons; and specifically it was  the Deacons of the TABLE, (diakonoi tes trapizês),  who carried  this duty of distributing alms, but to others that of personal attendance.  This can hardly be called a special office, in the technical sense; and yet it is not improbable that they were designated to this by the church, and requested to perform it.

            There were no hospitals and no almshouses in Paul’s day.  Christians felt it their duty to show personal attention to the infirm and the sick; and so important was their office, that it was deemed worthy of notice in a general direction to the church. Let the person who is called to perform any act of compassion or mercy to the wretched do so, and not do so grudgingly nor with a feeling of necessity, or requirement, but from a spirit of pure benevolence and sympathy.  The poor are often both wicked and worthless: and, if those who are called to minister to them as stewards, overseers, etc., do not take care, they will get their hearts even more hardened with the frequent “proofs” they will have of deception, lying, idleness, etc.

            “with cheerfulness” 
            Literally:  “In cheerfulness.”–This Greek phrase is used only here in the     N.T.

                        CHEERFULNESS:  (Grk.–hilarotês)-Literally:  “gladness”.  This is the root word for our English word, “hilarity.”

            The direction given to those who distributed alms was to do it with cheerfulness, and with an honest aim to meet the purpose for which it was entrusted to them.   This varies according to the duty to be performed, but all our tasks for the God is to be done with cheerfulness, pleasantness, joy; with a kind, benign, and happy temperament.
            The importance of this direction to those in this situation is apparent. Nothing tends so much to enhance the value of personal attendance on the sick and afflicted as does a kind and cheerful attitude.  If anywhere a mild, amiable, cheerful, and patient disposition is needed, it is near a sick bed and when administering to the needs of those who are in affliction. Therefore, whenever we may be called to such a service, we should remember that this attitude of cheerfulness is indispensable.
            In these two verses we have an account of the establishment and order, and the duties of the different members of the Christian church. The amount of it all is that we should discharge with faithfulness and fidelity the duties which belong to us in the sphere of life in which we are placed; and we are not to despise the rank which God has assigned us and not to think of ourselves more highly (or lower) than we ought.  We are to act well our part, according to the station where we are placed, and the talents with which we are endowed. If this were done, it would put an end to much of the discontent, ambition, and strife we find in many church and will produce the blessings of peace and order.


“Let love be without dissimulation.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
Paul proceeds to specify the duties of Christians in general, that they might secure the beauty and order of the church. The first which he specifies is love.  Hypocritical or pretended love is no love at all, as Paul describes agapê in I Cor 13:1–7.

The injunctions in this section to deep, unaffected, and practical love are reminiscent of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).  Mutual love, sympathy and honor within the brotherhood of believers are to be expected, but something more is enjoined here–love and forgiveness to those outside the fellowship, and not least to those who persecute them and wish them ill”–F.F.Bruce

“Let love be without dissimulation.”
Literally:  {let} love {be}without dissimulation”–The foregoing exhortations respecteD church officers in particular, but these that now follow concern all Christians in general, and acquaint them with their duties in common conversation.

Paul begins with the grace and duty of love, and that being a radical grace, the root from which all other graces and duties spring and flow. This love to one another, the Holy Spirit requires that it be  without dissimulation; that is, sincerely.

                        LOVE:  (Grk.–hê agapê)–In the original Greek this  has the force of your love.”

            Love stands at the head, and is the fontal source of all separate individualized duties. Here Paul is not so much prescribing love as he is describing the kind of love which he recognizes as genuine, and the main point on which he insists is sincerity.

          WITHOUT DISSIMULATION: (Grk.–anupokritos)— The “dissimulation” of the KJV only covers half the ground. It means, “hiding what one is; but there is simulation, or pretending to be what one is not.”

          Paul is saying not have a hypocritical love; do not let your love wear a mask; make no empty professions.  This same Greek word is translated “unfeigned” in II Cor. 6:6; I Tim. 1:5; II Tim. 1:5,  and “without hypocrisy” in James 3:17.  This last is the most literal rendering, and brings out the resemblance to Matt. 23:13, et al. 
           Let your love be sincere and unpretentious. Let it not only consist in words or professions, but let it be shown in acts of kindness and in deeds of charity, (I John 3:18; Comp. I Pet. 1:22). Not a deceitful profession of love, like that of Judas to Christ (Matt. 26:48), or Joab to Abnera kiss and a stab  (II Sam. 3:27).  Love God and your neighbor; and by obedience to the One and acts of benevolence to the other, show that your love is sincere.
           In verse 10, Paul specifies the duty of brotherly love; and there can be no doubt that  here he refers to the benevolence which we ought to cherish towards all men, A similar distinction is found in (II Pet.1:7), “And to brotherly kindness add charity,” i.e., benevolence, or good will, and kind feelings to others.

            “abhor that which is evil” 
            Literally:  “Shrinking from the evil.”–That is, both inwardly and outwardly.  
Evil must be repulsive to the Christian; but on the other hand, good must be attractive.

          ABHOR:  (Grk.–apostugountes)—Literally: “Abhorring; shrinking from; to turn from; avoid; to hate. Present-perfect tense—denoting a continuous action.  Hate sin as you would hate that hell to which it leads (6:23a), or that it comes from.

           EVIL:  (Grk.–ponêron)—This is referring to malice, or unkindness, rather than to evil in general. The word evil is often used to denote some particular or special evil (Matt. 5:37, 39, Compare Psa. 34:14; II Tim. 2:19 Psa. 97:10; I Thess. 5:22).

Paul is exhorting to love, or kindness; and between the direction to love all men, and the particular direction about brotherly love, he places this general direction to abhor that which is evil; meaning that which is evil, or malice or unkindness.

            “cleave to that which is good”
            Literally:  “Cleaving to the good.”–The word rendered cleave, denotes the act of
gluing, or uniting firmly by glue.

                        CLEAVE:  (Grk.–kollaô)–This  means, be cemented or glued to that which is good; so the word literally signifies. 

This is denoting a very firm adherence to an object; to be firmly fitted to it. Have an un-alterable attachment to whatever leads to God, and contributes to the welfare of your fellow creatures. Christians should be firmly attached to that which is good, and not separate from it. Jesus uses this word to describe the marriage union“…a man shall cleave to (be glued to; be bonded to; have an unalterable attachment to) his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matt. 19:5). 

             GOOD: (Grk.–agathos)–This refers to that which pertains to benevolence.  It should not only be occasional or irregular; but it should be constant, active, decided.

{be} kindly affection one to another with brother love; in honor preferring one another”

            “Be kindly affectioned”
            Literally:  “To one another, loving fervently.” 

            AFFECTIONED:  (Grk.–philostargoi)–This word occurs nowhere else in  the N.T.  Feel the tenderest affection towards each other, and delight to feel it.

This really denotes tender affection, such as that which subsists between parents and children; and it means that Christians should have similar feelings towards each other, as belonging to the same family, and as united in the same principles and interests. The apostle Paul in this place displays his peculiar manner of writing   He does not simply enjoin brotherly love, but he adds that it should be kindly affectionate.

            “with brotherly love”
            Literally: “In brotherly love.”  This denotes the affection which subsists between brethren.

This duty is one which is often presented in the N.T., and God intended should be regarded as a badge of discipleship: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another;” (John 15:12,17; Eph. 5:2; I Thess. 4:9; I Pet. 1:22; I John 2:7; 3:11; 4:20-21).

          IN BROTHERLY LOVE:  (Grk.– têi philadelphia)-The brotherhood of the believers was not to be simply a name, but a real tie of tenderness and love; and each, in the spirit of true brotherhood, was to seek the honor of his Christian brother.  Live your brothers in the faith as you would love your brothers in blood.

The word philadelphia signifies that affectionate regard which every Christian should feel for another, as being members of the same mystical body; hence it is emphatically termed the love of the brethren.  When William Penn made a treaty with the Indians in North America, and purchased from them a large woody tract, which, after its own nature and his name, he called Pennsylvania, he built a city on it, and peopled it with Christians of his own denomination, and called the city from the word in the Bible text—PHILADELPHIA.

“in honour preferring one another.”
Literally:  “Having gone before one another in honor.”  Better translated as “In love of the brethren (fellow Christians) be kindly affectionate.”

          HONOR:  (Grk.–timêi)—Literally:  “a valuing” by which a price is fixed; or “difference, reverence, veneration, honor.”  The meaning here appears to be “to consider   all your brethren as more worthy than yourself; and let neither grief nor envy affect your mind at seeing another honored and yourself neglected.”

This is a hard lesson, and very few persons learn it thoroughly.  If we wish to see our brethren honored, still it is with the secret condition in our own minds that we be honored more than they.  We have no objection to the elevation of others, providing we may be at the head.

          PREFERRING: (Grk.–proêgeonai)-meaning “going before, leading, setting an example. Thus in showing mutual respect and honor.  They were to strive to excel; not to see which could obtain most honor, but which could confer most, or manifest most respect. (Comp. I Pet. 5:5; Eph. 5:21). They were to be studious to show to each other all the respect which was due in the various relations of life; children to show proper respect to parents, parents to children, servants to their masters, etc.; and all to strive, by mutual kindness, to promote the happiness of the Christian community.

How different this from the spirit of the world; the spirit which seeks not to confer honor, but to obtain it; which aims not to diffuse respect, but to attract all others to give honor to us. If this single direction were to be obeyed in society, it would put an end to much of the envy, ambition, heart-aching, and dissatisfaction of the world.  It would produce:
  Contentment, harmony, love, and order in the community; and,

2.      Ccut back the progress of crime, strife, discord, and malice.
         And especially,
3.      It would give order and beauty to the church.
4.      It would humble the ambition of those who, like Diotrephes, love to have the preeminence, (III John 1:9) and,
5.      It would make every man willing to occupy the place for which God has designed him, and,
6.      He would rejoice that his brethren may be exalted to higher posts of responsibility and honor.