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Romans 12:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Be of the same mind - Live in a state of continual harmony and concord, and pray for the same good for all which you desire for yourselves.

Mind not high things - Be not ambitious; affect nothing above your station; do not court the rich nor the powerful; do not pass by the poor man to pay your court to the great man; do not affect titles or worldly distinctions; much less sacrifice your conscience for them. The attachment to high things and high men is the vice of little, shallow minds. However, it argues one important fact, that such persons are conscious that they are of no worth and of no consequence in Themselves, and they seek to render themselves observable and to gain a little credit by their endeavors to associate themselves with men of rank and fortune, and if possible to get into honorable employments; and, if this cannot be attained, they affect honorable Titles.

But condescend to men of low estate - Be a companion of the humble, and pass through life with as little noise and show as possible. Let the poor, godly man be your chief companion; and learn from his humility and piety to be humble and godly. The term συναπαγομενοι, which we translate condescend, from συν, together, and απαγω, to lead, signifies to be led, carried, or dragged away to prison with another; and points out the state in which the primitive Christians were despised and rejected of men, and often led forth to prison and death. False or man-pleasing professors would endeavor to escape all this disgrace and danger by getting into the favor of the great, the worldly, and the irreligious. There have not been wanting, in all ages of the Church, persons who, losing the savour of Divine things from their own souls by drinking into a worldly spirit, have endeavored to shun the reproach of the cross by renouncing the company of the godly, speaking evil of the way of life, and perhaps sitting down in the chair of the scorner with apostates like themselves. And yet, strange to tell, these men will keep up a form of godliness! for a decent outside is often necessary to enable them to secure the ends of their ambition.

Be not wise in your own conceits - Be not puffed up with an opinion of your own consequence; for this will prove that the consequence itself is imaginary. Be not wise, παρ 'ἑαυτοις, by yourselves - do not suppose that wisdom and discernment dwell alone with you. Believe that you stand in need both of help and instruction from others.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Be of the same mind … - This passage has been variously interpreted. “Enter into each other‘s circumstances, in order to see how you would yourself feel.” Chrysostom. “Be agreed in your opinions and views.” Stuart. “Be united or agreed with each other.” Flatt; compare Philemon 2:2; 2 Corinthians 13:11. A literal translation of the Greek will give somewhat a different sense, but one evidently correct. “Think of, that is, regard, or seek after the same thing for each other; that is, what you regard or seek for yourself, seek also for your brethren. Do not have divided interests; do not be pursuing different ends and aims; do not indulge counter plans and purposes; and do not seek honors, offices, for yourself which you do not seek for your brethren, so that you may still regard yourselves as brethren on a level, and aim at the same object.” The Syriac has well rendered the passage: “And what you think concerning yourselves, the same also think concerning your brethren; neither think with an elevated or ambitious mind, but accommodate yourselves to those who are of humbler condition;” compare 1 Peter 3:8.

Mind not high things - Greek, Not thinking of high things. That is, not seeking them, or aspiring after them. The connection shows that the apostle had in view those things which pertained to worldly offices and honors; wealth, and state, and grandeur. They were not to seek them for themselves; nor were they to court the society or the honors of the people in an elevated rank in life. Christians were commonly of the poorer ranks, and they were to seek their companions and joys there, and not to aspire to the society of the great and the rich; compare Jeremiah 45:5, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not;” Luke 12:15.

Condescend - συναπαγομενοι sunapagomenoiLiterally, “being led away by, or being conducted by.” It does not properly mean to condescend, but denotes a yielding, or being guided and led in the thoughts, feelings, plans, by humble objects. Margin, “Be contented with mean things.”

To men of low estate - In the Greek text, the word here is an adjective ταπεινοις tapeinoisand may refer either to “people” or to “things,” either in the masculine or neuter gender. The sentiment is not materially changed whichever interpretation is adopted. It means that Christians should seek the objects of interest and companionship, not among the great, the rich, and the noble, but among the humble and the obscure. They should do it because their Master did it before them; because his friends are most commonly found among those in humble life; because Christianity prompts to benevolence rather than to a fondness for pride and display; and because of the influence on the mind produced by an attempt to imitate the great, to seek the society of the rich, and to mingle with the scenes of gaiety, folly, and ambition.

Be not wise … - Compare Isaiah 5:21, “Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” See the note at Romans 11:25. The meaning is, do not trust in the conceit of your own superior skill and understanding, and refuse to hearken to the counsel of others.

In your own conceits - Greek, “Among yourselves.” Syriac, “In your own opinion.” The direction here accords with that just given, and means that they should not be elated with pride above their brethren; or be headstrong and self-confident. The tendency of religion is to produce a low estimate of our own importance and attainments.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other; unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his wordly business, and in gaining superior skill. God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. He is honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God's sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not be cold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it. Not only must there be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians must not harbour anger against enemies. It is but mock love, which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Be reconciled to the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be. Nothing is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves; therefore that must be mortified.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 20

He also wrote to his Philippian brethren: “If there be there fore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” 4T 20.1

To the Romans he wrote: “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” “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.” 4T 20.2

Peter wrote to the churches scattered abroad: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” 4T 20.3

And Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, says: “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 4T 20.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 193

God gives knowledge to His workmen; and He has left on record for us the rich, full promise: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” Is it not best to obtain wisdom individually by going to God, and not to man? What saith the Great Teacher? “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world.” TM 193.1

There is among us an evil that needs to be corrected. Brethren feel free to look at, and speak of, the supposed defects of others, when that very liberty reveals a decided defect in themselves. They make it manifest that they are wise in their own conceits; and God cannot give them His special blessing, for they would exalt themselves and hurt the precious cause of truth. When the world was destitute of the knowledge of God, Jesus came to impart this inestimable blessing—a knowledge of the paternal character of our heavenly Father. This was His own gift to our world; and this gift He committed to His disciples, to be communicated by them to the world. TM 193.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1080

A Sermon Written for Our Instruction—A study of the twelfth chapter of Romans would be of profit to us. It is a sermon by the apostle Paul, written for our instruction (Manuscript 50, 1903). 6BC 1080.1

1. See EGW on Exodus 20:1-17. 6BC 1080.2

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