|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:9-16 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.
Verses 15-17. - Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another (denoting mutual good feeling and unanimity of sentiment; not, of course, agreement in opinion on all subjects). Mind not high things, but condescend to (literally, being led away with) men of low estate. It is a question whether τοῖς ταπεινοῖς should not be understood as neuter, so as to correspond with τὰ ὐψηλὰ; the meaning thus being that, instead of being ambitious, we should let ourselves be drawn willingly to the lowlier spheres of usefulness to which we may be called. The main objection to this view is that the adjective ταπεινὸς is not elsewhere applied to things, but to persons. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide (in the sense of take forethought for) things honest (or fair, or honourable) in the sight of all men. This is a citation from Proverbs 3:4, where the LXX. has, Προνοοῦ καλὰ ἀνώπιον Κυριόυ καὶ ἀνθρώπων. We are not only to do what we know to be right in the sight of God, but also to have regard to the view that will be taken of our conduct by other men; we must not give any just cause for our good being evil spoken of (cf. ver. 16 and 1 Peter 2:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Rejoice with them that do rejoice,.... Not in anything sinful and criminal, in a thing of nought, in men's own boastings; all such rejoicing is evil, and not to be joined in; but in things good and laudable, as in outward prosperity; and to rejoice with such, is a very difficult task; for unless persons have a near concern in the prosperity of others, they are very apt to envy it, or to murmur and repine, that they are not in equal, or superior circumstances; and also in things spiritual, with such who rejoice in the discoveries of God's love to their souls, in the views of interest in Christ, and of peace, pardon, and righteousness by him, and in hope of the glory of God; when such souls make their boast in the Lord, the humble hearing thereof will be glad, and will, as they ought to do, join with them in magnifying the Lord, and will exalt his name together:
and weep with them that weep; so Christ, as he rejoiced with them that rejoiced, at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, wept with them that wept, with Mary at the grave of Lazarus. The design of these rules is to excite and encourage sympathy in the saints with each other, in all conditions inward and outward, and with respect to things temporal and spiritual; in imitation of Christ their great high priest, who cannot but be touched with the infirmities of his people; and as founded upon, and arising from, their relation to each other, as members of the same body; see 1 Corinthians 12:26;
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Rejoice with them that rejoice; and weep—the "and" should probably be omitted.
with them that weep—What a beautiful spirit of sympathy with the joys and sorrows of others is here inculcated! But it is only one charming phase of the unselfish character which belongs to all living Christianity. What a world will ours be when this shall become its reigning spirit! Of the two, however, it is more easy to sympathize with another's sorrows than his joys, because in the one case he needs us; in the other not. But just for this reason the latter is the more disinterested, and so the nobler.
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