Romans 12:8

8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[a] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:8 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
8 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.
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 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.
New Living Translation (NLT)
8 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.
The Message Bible (MSG)
8 if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
American Standard Version (ASV)
8 or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, [let him do it] with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
8 If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is sharing, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
8 Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them. Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:8 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 12:8

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation
This is the other branch of prophesying or preaching, and which is more practical, and lies in giving a word of exhortation to the saints, as their particular cases call for; for as prophets were teachers, ( Acts 13:1 ) ; so also exhorters, ( Acts 15:32 ) ; and one considerable branch of the ministry, and which is more principally the pastor's work, as well as to teach, is to exhort all sorts of persons, young and old, rich and poor, high and low, bond and free, under his care, with all longsuffering and doctrine. The words will bear to be read, "he that comforteth, on consolation"; and so the Syriac version renders them, (haywbb wh anaybmd tyaw) , "and another who is a comforter, in his consolation". Though all the ministers of the Gospel are to speak comfortably to the saints, by preaching the doctrines of free justification by Christ's righteousness, and remission of sins by his blood, by bringing the good news of salvation by him, and by opening the exceeding great and precious promises of the Gospel; yet some have a greater talent this way than others; some are "Boanergeses", sons of thunder, ( Mark 3:17 ) , and others "Barnabases", sons of consolation, ( Acts 4:36 ) ; and each should attend to that with all diligence and humility, he is best qualified for.

He that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity.
Here begins the subdivision of the deacon's office into its several branches, "giving", "ruling", and "showing mercy": by "giving" is meant, not giving of his own, or performing: acts of charity, which is common to all the members of the church, who ought liberally to contribute to the relief of the poor; but imparting or distributing the church's money to proper objects, which is to be done "with simplicity"; with all faithfulness and integrity, without fraud or embezzling the church's stock, with impartiality, and without respect of persons, and liberally and bountifully, as the word here used signifies; see ( 2 Corinthians 8:2 ) ( 9:13 ) ;

he that ruleth, with diligence;
deacons are the "helps, governments", mentioned in ( 1 Corinthians 12:28 ) , who are assisting to the pastor in the government of the church; their business is, to observe the conversations of the members of the church, and to warn them that are unruly and walk disorderly, to compose differences, and prepare matters to lay before the church; a deacon is (proistamenov) , "one that goes before"; and leads on others by way of example in his conduct and conversation; or as the Syriac renders it, (avyrb Maqd) , "that stands at the head" of affairs in the church; in the management of which he ought to use all study, thoughtfulness, care and diligence:

he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness;
which is not to be understood of showing compassion to miserable objects in common, or of giving alms to necessitous persons, and which ought to be done according to the Jewish F12 canons, (twpy Mynp rbob) , "with a cheerful countenance"; and is what is highly pleasing to God, who "loves a cheerful giver": but of a branch of the deacon's office, whose work, among other things, is to visit the sick and distressed, and communicate to them as their wants require; all which should be done, not in a morose and frowning manner, but with a pleasant look and cheerful countenance, which makes the visit and the gift more welcome, acceptable, and useful.


F12 Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 10. sect. 4. 13.

Romans 12:8 In-Context

6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
8 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.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Acts 11:23; Acts 13:15; Acts 15:32
  • 2. 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 9:5-13

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "to provide for others"
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.