Our study of the Word of God is radically different from how and why the world studies in that (1) we depend entirely on the work of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds in order to discern God's will, and (2) our ultimate purpose is to thoughtfully offer our bodies to God as a living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice, to the benefit of the Church.
Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν•
Therefore , I exhort you, brothers, in light of the mercies of God [G] , to present your bodies as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice to God, which is your thoughtful worship.
καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ,
And do not model yourself after this world.
ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς
Instead , be transformed by the renewing of your mind
εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον.
in order that you may carefully study [for the purpose of discerning] what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
Λέγω γὰρ διὰ τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης μοι παντὶ τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρʼ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν
( More specifically ) in light of the grace given me, I say to all who are among you to not think more highly of yourself than what you ought to think,
ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν ,
but to think with sober-thinking,
ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως.
according to the measure of faith God apportions to each one of you .
This is the inference flowing from the theme of justification by faith that Paul talked about from Rom 1:18–11:36, which he summarises here as "the mercies of God"
Living: Rom 6:13, 16; Holy: Rom 6:19; 15:16; Pleasing: Rom 14:18; Phil 4:18; Sacrifice: Phil 2:17
BDAG: "to form according to a pattern or mold, form/model after " Mid voice, with act. mng --> do not model yourself after this world What does it mean to model after this world? (see v.3)
1 Pet 1:14
BDAG: "pert. to being carefully thought through, thoughtful " (the cognitive aspect anticipates the phrase εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ)
Oft. used with sacrifice: - carefully thought through vs. mindless habit; - metaphorical, realm of ideas
Holy Spirit: Tit 3:5; Continual: 2 Cor 4:16; Col 3:10; Eph 4:23
BDAG: "to draw a conclusion about worth on the basis of testing, prove, approve "
Test, approve, examine, discern.
παρα + accusative, as comparison
BDAG: "think too highly of oneself, be haughty"
Two main interpretations: 1) God gives each person a different quantity of faith, sufficient for them to function; 2) God measures each one of us according to the standard of faith
1a Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ. Paul begins a new section in his letter that flows from everything he said before. In other words, because we have been justified by faith alone, Paul now exhorts us to respond in a certain way. I take διὰ here to function as introducing the occasion for his exhortation, which works in line with the inference: God’s mercy in giving us faith is what prompts Paul to exhort us. 1b παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ. The verb παρίστημι is often used to talk about offering or presenting sacrifices at the temple. Paul exhorts us to present our own bodies as sacrifices. However, this sacrifice has 3 characteristics: (1) it is living, in the sense that we have been given a new, spiritual life (Rom 6:13, 16); (2) it is holy, made pure and clean by the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:19; 15:16); and as a consequence, (3) it is pleasing to God, acceptable, as offerings are meant to be (Rom 14:18; Phil 4:18). This is not the only time Paul speaks of our services in terms of the OT sacrificial system (Phil 2:17). 1c τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν. The adjective λογικός is commonly used in reference to sacrifices to mean a well-thought out, dedicated sacrifice. It can also be used to talk about the rationality of man vs. the mindlessness of animals. In other words, the manner of worship detailed above demonstrates a thoughtful vs. a mindless worship. (Because λογικός is found in the realm of thoughts, it can also be used to mean “metaphorical,” which is perhaps why the ESV translates it as “spiritual.”) Verse 1 serves as the why of everything that follows in 12:1–14:23. 2a καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ. The verb συσχηματίζεσθε is in the middle voice. That means this is an action we do that affects ourselves. We should not mold ourselves after the ways of this world. This is a general statement that Paul will later clarify by way of his exhortations. 2b ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς. Paul contrasts 2a with the idea that we should be transformed by the renewal of the mind. The passive voice tells us that we cannot effect that renewal. Other passages tell us that it is the Holy Spirit who renews us (Tit 3:5). This renewal is also continual (2 Cor 4:16; Col 3:10; Eph 4:23). 2c εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. The purpose of letting the Holy Spirit renew our minds is so that we can δοκιμάζω the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. It’s very difficult to find an English correspondent of δοκιμάζω! It can refer to the process of testing, validating, interpreting or examining something. Or it can refer to the result of that process, which is sometimes translated approving or discerning. I think it means the whole thing: our minds are renewed so that we can carefully examine God’s Word in a way that will lead us to see and delight in the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God for our lives. Isn’t that what we are given the opportunity to do every day? Verse 2 shows us the how of verse 1: in order to serve God with our bodies in a thoughtful way, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit so we can discern God’s will. 3a Λέγω γὰρ διὰ τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης μοι παντὶ τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρʼ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν. Paul begins a new section here, but I thought it’d be worthwhile to include. Paul gives a specific example of how the renewal of our mind leads to discerning the will of God. Here we learn that an example of “modeling ourselves after the world” is by thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. In a world not governed by grace, this is the obvious way to go. People are always trying to up one another. 3b-c ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως.. But we know better. We know that we are nothing and there is nothing we can accomplish that wasn’t given to us. Each of us should be aware of what God has given us so far and make the most out of it, whatever shape that ends up taking, for the benefit of the whole body and not for our own glory, for that is how we will please God.
Remember why we are studying: We are not studying just to pass our class or get a good grade; We are studying because we wanna worship God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength; We are studying because we wanna be of greater benefit to the Church, which is one way of worshipping God; Remember how we ought to study: We are not to study by our own strength; We are to study with total dependence on the Holy Spirit, renewing our minds day-by-day so that we can behold wonders in God’s Word