This chapter has been one of my favorite Bible passages since I was a girl. I Kings 17 is my favorite story chapter (Elijah hiding by the brook and God commanded the ravens to take him food), Luke 2 is sheer poetry to me (the story of Jesus’ birth); the whole book of James is my favorite book because of its clarity and simplicity, which is why I love Romans 12. Paul’s instructions are not esoteric or difficult to understand. The meaning doesn’t have to be explained by a seminarian. It’s open and clear.
(At the end of chapter 11, Paul was explaining that everything was created by God and that all things exist through Him and for Him.)
First, from Today’s English Version:
“So then, my brothers, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”
Seems a bit plain, so it is from the Amplified Bible:
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
And from the King James Version:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Oh, Lord, that it may be so.