Here’s a simple draft translation of this chapter of Romans, prepared for a small group study. It gives limited allowance to text-critical issues and could be improved upon, but is meant to show that Paul was writing poetry when he wrote this chapter, or else his amanuensis (penman) was quite a literary scholar himself. Paul may have decided to abandon his eloquence when he met the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 2:1-4), but he called upon every rhetorical skill he had available as he urged the Roman Christians to live a Christ-inspired life in Romans 12. Just for example, spend some time finding all of the rhyme and assonance, not to mention matching line lengths at times, in the Greek column.
My take-away from this chapter? Clearly the Roman Christians were already taking some heat for their Christian confession, and much of Paul’s urging is that they “let go of hate”, as yoda might say. I’m reminded again, as so often, of the way of Jesus – the warning, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” It is so tempting when facing hostility to take up the sword ourselves, to fight fire with fire. But it is not the way of Christ, and never has been.