Martin Luther’s “Lectures on Romans” is an excellent resource to own, read, and study. I’ve come back to it quite a bit and I’m always challenged, edified, and encouraged by it. Today when studying Romans 12:16b (do not be wise in your own estimation NASB) I came across this excellent commentary by Luther:
This is directed against opinionated, hardheaded, stiff-necked people, whom in popular language we call blockheads (‘standpatters’ – ‘immansivos’) but whom Scripture describes as “stiff-necked” and “unbelieving.” We all are strongly inclined to this fault with a strange propensity, and most rare is the man who does not possess it. In German it is described by the word steifsinnig. People of this sort refuse to change their minds, even if they have been refuted by every kind of reasonable argument. And even if one uses the opposite method (an unreasonable argument), they still remain adamant and wait for the chance to rejoice and laugh if the advice of others proves wrong. These people are the authors of contention and the most effective disturbers of the peace and the destroyers of spiritual unity. Paul speaks of this in Eph. 4:3: “Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and Phil. 2:2: “Be in full accord and of one mind, etc.”Luther, Lecture on Romans, p.353-354.
It’s helpful how Luther doesn’t just point fingers and say other people are blockheaded and unteachable. He notes that we all have this “strange propensity.” It is for sure something we need to pray against: “Lord, please keep my heart and mind open to truth, wisdom, and reasonableness. Help me freely admit when I’m wrong. Give me the grace to change my views, thoughts, and actions if they are not wise, reasonable, or in line with your Word.”
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015