Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the most reasonable way for you to worship.Romans 12:1
Here it is again:
Παρακαλῶ – I urge, plead, beg, request, beseech, appeal, encourage, call upon
οὖν – Therefore, so, for this reason, as a result, then,
ὑμᾶς – you,
ἀδελφοί – brothers, brothers and sisters, friends, brethren
διὰ – in view of, through, because of, by, in view of all we have just shared
τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ – God’s mercy, the mercies of God, compassions of God, of God’s great mercy, about God’s compassion, God’s mercies, the mercy of God
παραστῆσαι – to offer, present, give
τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν – your bodies, yourselves,
θυσίαν ζῶσαν – as living sacrifices, a living sacrifice, living offering, sacrifices – living
ἁγίαν – holy, pure, dedicated to his service, dedicated to God, sanctified
εὐάρεστον – pleasing, acceptable
τῷ Θεῷ – to God, to him
τὴν – which is, that’s the way, this kind of (worship), for this is the way
λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν – your spiritual worship, reasonable service, reasonable worship, spiritual service, intelligent sacred service, worship appropriate for you, true worship
Did you note that most of the alternatives are merely saying the same things but using different words? They are merely synonyms and not worthy of digging further. Unless of course you don’t really understand the verse as it is translated in your favourite version and then the synonyms help you. What you need to look for are the verses where something interesting is going on. Did you notice which word or collection of words here are interesting and worthy of study?
You guessed it – it’s λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν – your spiritual worship, reasonable service, reasonable worship, spiritual service, intelligent sacred service, worship appropriate for you, true worship.
There have been people who have asked me which is it Ian? Which is the correct translation? Is it “spiritual worship” or “reasonable service”? The answer is “both and”. Both words contain both senses. So the end result could be:
- spiritual worship
- spiritual service
- reasonable worship
- reasonable service
Now that is interesting isn’t it? Worthy of digging! We like to separate the spiritual and the mundane. Worship and service – they don’t belong together, do they? Biblically they do. Worship is service and service is worship. Did you realize you can worship God just as easily washing the dishes as you can in the middle of the worship service or, shock of shocks, when leading the worship service? The test of your worship is how well and how easily you can do that. How close to God are you? Can you worship when you are cleaning the toilet? Now there is a test. Or do you need the trappings of worship around you to be able to worship? The word for service is the same as the word for worship. They are tied up in the same act. Did you realise there is not much that lies outside of the domain of worship in the midst of the service – the collection is worship too. Oh how much! That will test your true heart – after singing the songs how willing are you to part with your money?
Now for the dichotomy between spiritual and reasonable. Λογικὴν – logikos. Logical, reasonable but in this sense spiritual too. Yes, it is our spiritual response that is required in the light of all that God has done. He is waiting for us to give Him our all. Present to Him our bodies as living sacrifices. (Note I could craft a Gem on that idea too but I won’t.) Normally sacrifices were dead ones. But in this case Paul says give Him a living sacrifice. Living sacrifices are so much harder to give because they keep getting off the altar – don’t you know it]. Yes this is the only spiritual response that makes sense. It is also the only reasonable, logical, rational response in the light of all that God has done and continues to do.
Our logic has to come into the picture too. If it doesn’t, our response is limited to the emotional point of the moment. In the aftermath of reason we will get down off the altar. But if it is also logical and reasonable we have more chance of remaining there on the altar. Do you remember in Bible Gem 197 I told you I have a rational side and a spiritual side? So do you. We are body, soul and spirit beings. The more all the parts of our being are involved in the process of life and faith, the stronger our response and more likely we are to follow through on the response. Hence logic, reason and rational thought are also a key part to worship. But don’t ever allow that side of you to dominate or you will lose the ability to soar in worship in spiritual terms. It is all a matter of keeping the balance. Easy to say; hard to do.
Do you see now how important it is to pay attention and to dig into those parts of your Bible where the translations seem to clash? Where one translation seems to be at odds with another or contradict it. Which translation is correct? Wrong question! Use the times when you think the translations are set against each other to dig further. You will almost always find gold.
Now do you see what Paul is saying? He worked logically through his response to his own question after saying in Romans 8:39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God – but what about my people, the Jews? He came to the conclusion after all I have shared about God’s mercy, the only logical, reasonable, spiritual thing to do is to give God all of you. Every living part! [Ian’s Version]
If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?S. J. Harris
If you are not as close to God as you used to be, who do you think moved? You or Him?Sidney Mohede