Romans 12: Bible Study and Summary

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

Romans chapter 12 is a turning point in the book of Romans. In the previous chapters the main emphasis in the book was why we need a Savior and how we can accept Him. However, this chapter begins to deal with how a Christian ought to live out his salvation. There are many practical points to daily Christian living which begin in Romans 12 and continue to the end of the book.

As you study through the book of Romans, and particularly chapter 12 and following, it is important to note that salvation is through God’s grace and not our works. However, a natural result of this salvation is to live a life pleasing to God. This is exactly where Paul picks up in Romans 12:1.

Living Sacrifice – Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Paul says that because of the information that has been presented up to this point, he proposes that it is reasonable that one would be completely sold out to God as a sacrifice to be used in whatever manner God chooses. It is natural to want to thank God for your salvation by turning your life over to Him.

God’s Plan for Your Life – Romans 12:2

There are many practical points to daily Christian living which begin in Romans 12 and continue to the end of the book.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Don’t allow the world to shape you. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to control. Submit your thoughts to Him and the practical outworking of that will be to follow God’s plan that He has already designed for you. Of course, there is no obligation to obey God, otherwise our salvation would still be based on works. However, in light of Romans chapters 1-11, it is reasonable (verse 1) to want to know this plan of God for your life.

Thankfully, we are not left wondering what God’s plan is. Paul begins to lay out some very practical ways we can obey God’s plan in the following verses.

Spiritual Gifts Emerge When We Display a Right Attitude Towards Others – Romans 12:3-8

“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. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 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 simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Paul begins a treatise on how a mature Christian should live. Again, we are not obligated to live this way because our salvation does not depend on it. Yet, because of gratefulness we should want to live a Christ-like life.

Understand who you are. You are not the one who saved you, Christ is. Each one of us have been placed by Christ into His body of believers. We work together to form a good functioning body. This is done as a whole unit of Christians in the body of Christ, but also in smaller units we call the local church. A church functions properly when its members, with different spiritual gifts, exercise those gifts in a way that honors Christ. But it starts with an attitude of humility.

The illustration which Paul uses is a physical body. This is further expanded upon in 1 Corinthians 12. Not all body parts accomplish the same purpose; or, as he says here not all have the same office. Not everyone can be the pastor of a church. There needs to be other teachers and people who care for the music and children and widows. Some people may have the responsibility of cleaning bathrooms in a church. While it may not seem glamorous, I can promise that if that job is not done, then at some point the pastor will not be able to effectively teach. Each person doing their part makes a church function.

The same is true with the spiritual gifts. Everyone in the church needs to serve using the gift(s) they have been given by the Holy Spirit.

Guiding Principles for the Christian Life – Romans 12:9-21

Love – verses 9, 10: “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”

Godly Character – verses 11-15: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

Thoughtfulness – verses 16-18: “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Dealing With Enemies – verses 19-21: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12 – Gateway to Christian Living

The first part of the book is the why and how of salvation. Starting in Romans 12 and continuing through the rest of the book you read about the why and how of the Christian’s life on earth. We call that sanctification.

If you are seeking to do God’s will on a practical level today then choose one of the teachings in Romans 12 and put it into use before the day is done.

Interested in more Bible studies? Take a look at these:


The Holy Bible, King James Version

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert November 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

Great article David. Romans 12 has always held a special place in my heart. As you mentioned, it tells us that we should surrender our lives to His will. It has been my experience that this is the best way to live, by far. I love your expository style writing, very powerful. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,


John Lemmon November 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi David,
Thanks for sharing this info on Romans 12.
The power of the book of Romans, especially when looked at as a journey from sin to salvation is incredibly powerful. The manner in which Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, lays out the pathway to salvation is simply awe inspiring. I particularly like vs. 2 above for the true power of God is in the transformation of our life to be made in the image of Christ.
Thanks for the article & God bless.


Al November 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

I really liked this article…its a good practical guide for how we should be living.

God Bless and thank you!



Tad Hartlaub November 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

Excellent article, David. Romans 12 is very powerful in its description of a Christian’s walk.

Romans 12 10-13 (“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…Distributing to the necessity of the saints.”) has been so powerful in my wife’s and my life that we are in the process of developing an online Christian charity focusing on Christians directly helping their fellow Christians in need in an interactive way. The full site is still in development, but moving forward for the glory of God.

Please keep our mission in your prayers as we will keep yours in ours.

In Him,
Tad Hartlaub


Michael Snow November 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm

One of the most helpful things is to remember that Paul wrote a letter not chapters. This will help clarify matters that get fogged over when we get to Romans “13.”


AYINDE RONKE December 24, 2012 at 4:57 am

the deat and ressurection of JESUS CHRIST


Yvonne November 14, 2016 at 6:14 am

I love the writings of Paul by the way of the Holy Spirit, in Romans 12 teaching us how strong and powerful we are when we work
together as one body but different members of the body of Christ to know what gifs GOD has BLESSED with.

Thank You


Engr Ariwodo jackson February 4, 2017 at 3:35 am

Thanks sir and remain blessed,your post actually helped me a lots in preparing a touching study in my churches


Mmametsi Setlhare June 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

Romans 12 is a pillar for change, it is that chapter that will give you the tools to live according to God’s plan. it is important as you need to transform your mind, renew it, think differently and knowing that the past is gone and the future is as per God’s plan if only you allow the holy spirit to lead. Working together as a team, using the God given talents or gits in unison.
This is so powerful.


Jack Wellman June 28, 2017 at 10:50 am

You are so right my friend. It is so powerful.


Maureen July 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Confused. I understand this article re: sacrifice. What I don’t understand is the concept about suffering, In particular, I read this in a book (Theresa of Calcutta). In it it states, “My people in Kalighat are living martyrs & not yet not a word – A young boy who suffered horrible pain – at last he said – he was sorry to die – because he had just learned to suffer for the love of God.” Actually not sure why Theresa aid her people are living martyrs because they aren’t (or if so, it is not said) suffering for their faith. I understand that people have suffered for standing up to their faith. I understand that people who handle suffering with faith can be an inspiration to others. I don’t understand what the quote means. Maybe I just don’t get it.


Jack Wellman July 12, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Thank you Maureen. The word Greek word for “witness” is actually “martyr” so to be a living witness (martyr) is technically correct. Maybe that is what they meant. Jesus did say “whoever seeks to save his life will lose it and whoever seeks to lose his life will save it” so it may be these, but I really don’t know for sure.


Brenda Hudson October 18, 2018 at 1:24 pm

As a Christian, Is it a sin to celebrate their birthday?


Jack Wellman October 18, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Hello Brenda. I see nothing in the Bible that restricts or forbids celebrating someone’s birthday. Some churches believe it is, but there is no biblical basis or proff for their beliefs. I think it’s fine.


ghienna November 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm

How about Christmas en New year placing christmas tree in the church. Is this appropriate?


Jack Wellman November 20, 2018 at 2:46 pm

I see nothing wrong with that at all. This season is very special. I have never seen any biblical reason not to do this.


Charles January 14, 2019 at 9:40 am

Even though there is no Biblical reason there should NOT be a Christmas tree in a church. Ones focus when entering and being in church becomes more on the tree and its’ decorations and not why they are there.

The tree becomes a decoration and the meaning of decoration is something that adorns, enriches, or beautifies. That definition in church goes to God and Jesus not a tree


Jack Wellman January 14, 2019 at 9:54 am

Thank you Charles. The Christmas tree in a church is no issue at all as people don’t focus on the tree over Christ. Jesus is not a tree but the church is not a decoration nor is Jesus so your comment is a bit confusing.


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