BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 2: Romans 12:1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.


3)  He is connecting chapter 11, which ended with his doxology to God, praising His wisdom, knowledge, and how all things are through Him.

4)  Here, Paul says to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  We should not conform (to act in accordance with prevailing standards or customs). This is very broad so using what we know from the Bible is we should follow how Jesus wants us to act not the world.  Thus, we should be giving, compassionate, prayerful, kind, helpful, loving, generous, gentle, patient, forgiving, etc.  We should be living for God, not for ourselves.  My pastor has had a profound influence.  Seeing his imperfect walk with Christ inspires me when I fail as well.  I can still impact others imperfectly.

Conclusions:  We will be studying 2 verses alone this whole lesson again.  I’ll be interested to see where this goes and if it’s as good as Lesson 20.

End Notes: Chapters 12:1-15:33.  Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11.  In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.

“Therefore”  It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them.  Here, God gives us all things.  Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that?  With our bodies and our minds.

“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.

“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11).  In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy.  Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:

· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

· Placed under grace, not law

· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

· Promise of help in all affliction

· Assurance of a standing in God’s election

· Confidence of coming glory

· Confidence of no separation from the love of God

· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self.  God wants you!

Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures.  Paul says no!  Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.

Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them.  Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).

A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death.  The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing.  Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.

“Holy and pleasing to God”:  The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.

Sacrifices in the Old Testament:

· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)

· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)

The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.

Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life.  As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.

“Spiritual act of worship”:  This was translated as “reasonable service”.  The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.

Another translation says “true and proper worship”.  This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.

Verse 2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the live that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.


BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 21, Day 2 Isaiah 46

Summary of passage:  Bel and Nebo (Babylonian gods) must be carried and become a burden for the people.  They cannot rescue themselves or their people and they themselves are carted off into captivity. God declares He has carried Israel since birth and upheld them.  He sustains them and will rescues them.  Whom can you compare God?  Babylonian gods are made from gold. They must be carried to and fro and set in one spot from which it cannot move.  It never answers the people or saves them from their troubles. God beseeches his people to remember the former things; remember He is God and there is no other.  Remember He is the Creator.  God’s purpose will stand and He will do as He pleases.  He will use Cyrus (a man from a far-off land) to fulfill His purpose.  God will grant righteousness and salvation to Israel in His timing.


3a) Babylonians must carry their gods and their gods cannot save themselves as they are hauled off to captivity.  God carries His people and saves them.  Babylonian gods were made by man and had to be carried from place to place.  In contrast, God made us and He moves us and saves us.  Babylonian gods never answer the people.  God always answers us.

b) God rescued His people from Egypt (Exodus 12-14).  He sustained his people in the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 16).  Gideon rescues Israel from the Midianites with God’s help (Judges 6-7).  God sustained Elijah during his travels when he was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17)

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  God sustains me every day.  He has rescued me many times–too many to count.  He carried me when I was depressed in college.  God will continue to do all of these.

4a) House of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth; you rebels, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness.  He promises to bring righteousness, salvation, and splendor to Israel.

b) “I am God and there is no other”  “My purpose will stand”  “I will do all that I please”  “What I have said, I will bring about; what I have planned I will do”.  He brings righteousness and salvation.  God is faithful and He is the Creator.

Conclusions:  Again, God is reassuring His people He is the “I am”.  He sustains, carries, and rescues.  He fulfills his promises, He answers His people, and He is bringing righteousness and salvation.  No one else can do such things.

It seems as humans we always need encouragement and to hear things over and over again.  Here again God is reminding His children who He is and what He will do.  Isn’t it wonderful we have a God who loves us so much to constantly fill us up when it would be so easy to dismiss us and let us wallow in our own sin?

I think God believes in the saying “nothing worthwhile is easy.”

End Note:  Bel and Nebo were two major gods of Babylon.  Bel means lord and is a title.  It was given to the god Enlil who was the father of the gods in the Babylonian pantheon.  Enlil was originally a Sumerian god who was absorbed by the Babylonians when they conquered the Sumerians.  Marduk was the city god of Babylon and eventually was given the name Bel.  Marduk is the god considered the creator.  Nebo was Marduk’s (or Bel’s) son. He was the god of learning, writing, and astronomy.

We recognize these gods in the names of Babylonian leaders:

Bel: Belshazzar and Belteshazzar (the name given to Daniel)

Nebo:  Nabopoloassar (Nebuchadnezzar’s father), Nebuchadezzar, Nebuzaradin (Nebucahezzar’s general who destroyed Jerusalem), Nabonidus (the last king of Babylon who shared his reign with belshazzar)

Information in End Note taken from: