“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Explanation and Commentary of Romans 12:12
This verse from Paul comes in a section that exhorts his readers to love others well. As we seek to love and bless others, we will have to mind our dispositions. We are admonished to be joyful as we have hope. This life, even in the best of times, is not without a fair amount of affliction. What should set the Christian apart is the joy that she has, even in the face that affliction.
The power for hope, joy, patience, and faithfulness comes from the Holy Spirit and the sure knowledge of the Gospel. If you rearrange the verse you get a good order for approaching it. Pray faithfully to increase the hope that you have in Christ. Prayer will lead to patience and joy, even when being afflicted.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 12:12
#1 “Be joyful…”
Joy is part of our birthright at God’s children. Those who have taken the light burden and easy yoke of Christ (Mat 11:30) will be able to feel joyful even in the most difficult of trials. Consider the child whose family is in great difficulty, but who has a kind and gentle father in the home. She will not remember the hardship of growing up, only the joy she had in the presence of her father. Christians are called to live in such a way as children of God. To cultivate faith is to cultivate joy.
#2 “…in hope,”
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” It is not good to hope in just anything. In Nazi concentration camps, it was those who hoped who failed to hold up when hopes died. If they said, “Surely we’ll be home by the new year,” they were unable to bear it when the new year came and went and they were still there in bondage. But those who hope in God and his promises will have an unlimited supply of hope and have their strength renewed.
#3 “patient in affliction,”
“In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). Christians should not be surprised when they are afflicted. The New Testament authors and Jesus himself never shied away from admitting the fact. Times of affliction are the best opportunities to learn the patience that is the fruit of the Spirit and of abiding in Christ. We will be tested in the “furnace of affliction” for our refinement and conformity into the image of Christ (Isa 48:10). We are blessed if we patiently endure it.
#4 “faithful in prayer.”
God is faithful to us. His nature never changes. His promises never fail. His call to us is to walk in faithfulness towards him and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17). Those who seek to be faithful to him who is faithful to us will live out this faithfulness in prayer. Prayer is our great calling and privilege as we are allowed to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:18). If we are faithful in prayer, we will find the patience to endure, and the joy promised in Christ.
Bible Study on Romans 12:12
Expert Overview of Romans Ch. 5-16
Biblical Translations of Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.
Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.