12:1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, 1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God 2 – which is your reasonable service. 12:2 Do not be conformed 3 to this present world, 4 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve 5 what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
2 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.”
3 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.
4 tn Grk “to this age.”
5 sn The verb translated test and approve (δοκιμάζω, dokimazw) carries the sense of “test with a positive outcome,” “test so as to approve.”