1 So, I urge you, brothers, because God is so merciful [to us], to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, [fully] dedicated and very pleasing to God. For this is a reasonable [or spiritual] way for you to worship [or serve] Him. 2 And you people must not be conformed to [the values and standards of] this age, but you should become transformed [i.e., changed in attitude and action] by having your mind renewed [i.e., to think in a totally different way]. Then you will be able to determine [and practice] God's will, the thing that is good, and acceptable and perfect.
3 And because of God's unearned favor shown to me [i.e., in appointing me to be an apostle], I am telling every person among you not to think he is more important than he really is. Instead, he should have a sensible estimate [of his gifts] in harmony with the degree of faith God has given to each person. 4 For there are many parts to a single human body and all of these parts do not have the same function. 5 In the same way, though we [Christians] are many, we are one [spiritual] body in [fellowship with] Christ, and each one of us is part of [all] the others. 6 And we [all] have different gifts, in harmony with the unearned favor [God has] shown us. If our gift is the ability to prophesy [i.e., to speak for God], we should make use of this gift in harmony with the amount of faith we have. 7 Or, if our gift is serving, we should devote ourselves to rendering service. Or, if our gift is teaching, we should devote ourselves to teaching. 8 Or, if our gift is encouraging others, we should devote ourselves to encouraging. Or, if our gift is sharing with others, we should do so generously. Or, if our gift is leading others, we should do so diligently. Or, if our gift is showing caring concern for others, we should do it cheerfully.
9 Let [your] love be sincere. Hate whatever is evil. Cling to whatever is good. 10 In your love for your brothers, show tender affection toward one another. Try to outdo one another in showing respect [for each other]. 11 Be enthusiastic instead of lazy. Be fervent in your spirit [Note: Some translators take "spirit" here to refer to the "Holy Spirit"], [as you] serve the Lord. 12 Be joyful as you hope [i.e., for future blessings]. Persevere in spite of the troubles you experience. Continue steadfastly in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God's people. Be eager in showing hospitality. 14 Ask God's blessing on people who persecute you, instead of cursing them. 15 Be happy with those who are joyful. Cry with those who are sad. 16 Have the same [good] thoughts toward one another. Do not [always] be thinking you are a "bigshot," but lower yourself to accept humble tasks [or, humble people]. Do not think you are so smart. 17 Do not [try to] pay back a wrong done to you by doing something wrong to the other person. Think about how to live honorably in front of all people. 18 If it is at all possible, as far as your part is concerned, live peacefully with all people. 19 Do not take revenge on someone who has wronged you, but leave it up to God's wrath [to take care of it], for it is written [Deut. 22:35], "The Lord says, I will pay people back [for doing wrong] because taking revenge belongs to me." 20 But [Prov. 25:21-25 says], "Feed your enemy if he is hungry; give him something to drink if he is thirsty. For when you do this, it will be [like] heaping burning coals on his head." [i.e., it can cause him burning shame that can lead to his repentance and ultimate forgiveness].
21 [So], do not be conquered by evil, but [instead] conquer evil by doing good.