"Vengeance Is Mine"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 510

Context: Romans is an epistle which Paul wrote to the Christian Church that was gradually building itself in Rome. He had not had a part in its founding and had not visited there; he was not acquainted with its members. Therefore, his letter is more a treatise on Christianity than an ordinary communication between good friends. Starting with a statement of his qualifications and an expression of his gospel, he declares the great mercies God has shown through Christ. Paul's principal concern is for the Jews; it has been his custom during his missionary activities to go to the synagogue whenever he enters a town, beginning his preaching and scriptural argumentation there. He has found the Jews difficult to convert, and has at times been treated roughly. Feeling that he can give converted Romans a better understanding of the Jews, he lists all the objections to Christianity that his experience has taught him a member of the Jewish faith would have. He supplies carefully reasoned answers to each of the objections; in this way he gives his readers a handbook for their missionary efforts. In Chapters 9 through 12 Paul's concern for the Jews is expressed in another way; here he admonishes his fellow Christians in regard to their possible attitude toward the Jews. He feels sorry for the latter and shows that he understands them; in Chapter 11 he points out that they must not be insulted, but treated with consideration and mercy. Chapter 12 is a little sermon on the proper attitude and conduct of a Christian. Paul reminds his readers that they must keep themselves pure as a sacrifice to God; that they should not conform themselves to this world; that they are unified through faith. He then lists a number of principles they should adhere to in their daily life, each using his special talents in the service of the Lord. He ends with a particular caution against the desire to be revenged:

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil;
cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in
honour preferring one another;
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that
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.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in
the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with
all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place
unto wrath: for it is written. Vengeance is mine; I will repay,
saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give
him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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