12:1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, 5 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God 6 – which is your reasonable service. 12:2 Do not be conformed 7 to this present world, 8 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve 9 what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
1 tn Or “become.”
3 tc A number of important witnesses have ὑμᾶς (Jumas, “you”; e.g., א* A B P 0159 81 1175 al it co as well as several fathers). Other, equally important witnesses read ἡμᾶς (Jhmas, “us”; Ì46 א2 D F G Ψ 0278 33 1739 1881 al lat sy). It is possible that ἡμᾶς was accidentally introduced via homoioarcton with the previous word (ἠγάπησεν, hgaphsen). On the other hand, ὑμᾶς may have been motivated by the preceding ὑμῖν (Jumin) in 4:32 and second person verbs in 5:1, 2. Further, the flow of argument seems to require the first person pronoun. A decision is difficult to make, but the first person pronoun has a slightly greater probability of being original.
4 tn Grk “an offering and sacrifice to God as a smell of fragrance.” The first expression, προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν (prosforan kai qusian), is probably a hendiadys and has been translated such that “sacrificial” modifies “offering.” The second expression, εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας (ei" osmhn euwdia", “as a smell of fragrance”) has been translated as “a fragrant offering”; see BDAG 728-29 s.v. ὀσμή 2. Putting these two together in a clear fashion in English yields the translation: “a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
6 tn The participle and two adjectives “alive, holy, and pleasing to God” are taken as predicates in relation to “sacrifice,” making the exhortation more emphatic. See ExSyn 618-19.
sn Taken as predicate adjectives, the terms alive, holy, and pleasing are showing how unusual is the sacrifice that believers can now offer, for OT sacrifices were dead. As has often been quipped about this text, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar.”
7 tn Although συσχηματίζεσθε (suschmatizesqe) could be either a passive or middle, the passive is more likely since it would otherwise have to be a direct middle (“conform yourselves”) and, as such, would be quite rare for NT Greek. It is very telling that being “conformed” to the present world is viewed as a passive notion, for it may suggest that it happens, in part, subconsciously. At the same time, the passive could well be a “permissive passive,” suggesting that there may be some consciousness of the conformity taking place. Most likely, it is a combination of both.
8 tn Grk “to this age.”
9 sn The verb translated test and approve (δοκιμάζω, dokimazw) carries the sense of “test with a positive outcome,” “test so as to approve.”
10 tn After the preceding imperatives, the jussive verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive is best understood as introducing a purpose (“so that the king might desire your beauty”) or result clause (see the present translation and cf. also NASB). The point seems to be this: The bride might tend to be homesick, which in turn might cause her to mourn and diminish her attractiveness. She needs to overcome this temptation to unhappiness and enter into the marriage with joy. Then the king will be drawn to her natural beauty.
11 tn Or “desire.”
12 tn Or “bow down.”
13 sn Submit to him. The poet here makes the point that the young bride is obligated to bring pleasure to her new husband. Though a foreign concept to modern western culture, this was accepted as the cultural norm in the psalmist’s day.