We have been directed to read Romans 12-15:6 and to think how this scripture might apply to the new constraints placed upon our meetings for worship and discipleship. We wish to “approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” 12:2 “so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 15:6.
Now, how do we do this? How do we learn, how do we understand? We THINK.
Paul says to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:7) what he would say to us concerning Romans. “THINK over what I say and God will GIVE you understanding.” We do the thinking and that’s not always easy, but as we do God gives the understanding. So what do you think? It matters to me what you think about scripture, God’s word to us today. ( It matters little what you think about me.) God may choose to GIVE me understanding through what you THINK. We have a text (Scripture), a teacher (the Holy Spirit), a school (the church) and a faculty (our minds, our thinking, our reasoning but not necessarily intellectual capacity.) So it’s back to school for all of us – the church learns together.
I suggest that you reread the entire passage again, that’s multiple times, from a modern translation or paraphrase. I have used NLT. Underline and count how many times Paul uses the word THINK or words that imply thinking, words like consider, remember, evaluate, attitude, decide, conscience, conviction, even submission. I can find 18 at least, maybe 20 if I include doubt. Paul clearly wants us to THINK. (I hope to share some thoughts around submission at a later date.)
The first mention of THINK is in 12:2 where NIV says; “be transformed by the renewing of your mind;” while NLT says; ” let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you THINK.” The next verse is negative in that it tells us what we are NOT to think, but it does not say we are NOT to THINK. It says; “Don’t think that you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.” Another mention of THINK that stands out to me is 14:1. “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they THINK is right or wrong.” And another shouts at me, 12:16; “Don’t THINK you know it all !”
So I need you to help me THINK these things through. I don’t want to get into an argument but I am sure that God will transform all our thinking as we share our thoughts on His word together. I apologise if you thought that I would tell you directly what I thought about the way forward for the fellowship that this passage teaches. Or that I would dare to tell you what you should think. You and I both need to THINK and God will GIVE the understanding.
PS. My English teacher in the 60s told me I was a Cassius. Julius Caesar said of him: “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look, he thinks too much, such men are dangerous.” Apparently age has wrought little change.