A Refreshing Remix

Alright, lets be butt naked honest for a minute. We all have read the Bible our entire lives… and we experience moments, whether brief or extended, when Scripture becomes mundane and unfortunately…boring. When you think about it, this horrific fact is the tragedy of all tragedies. Something as powerful, as liberating, as moving, and as Soverign as the Gospel should spark our enthusiasm and emotions for the Kingdom of God time and time again. But, let’s face it, we are depraved people who shoot for self-righteousness over true-righteousness every time down the court. So for whatever reason, we run into sporadic spells in which reading the Bible is a chore. Side note: Don’t try to convince yourself that you don’t fall into this cateogory every now and again (end side note). Now, I know that none of us get sick of what is being communicated to us, rather the way that it is being communicated becomes our problem. It all begins to sound the same…the rhythmic patterns…the dialect…the tone, then we get frustrated because we’ve read that same line six times to no avail, so we go pick up some one of Calvin’s Institutes or last month’s Playboy (if you’re like me then you’ll snuggle up with some Lemony Snickett). Well, I haven’t found a cure for our lackadaisical disease, but I have found a sort of temporary relief.
Eugene Peterson’s The Message has been significantly refreshing for me lately. Like many out there, I was skeptical because of the obsessive nature of conservative evangelicals in making sure that we have exactly the same words and ideas that Paul and all his boys originally had in their respected languages. This is a worthy and necessary venture. I do understand that we sacrifice a little accuracy while reading this paraphrase, but the ideas of Scripture are altered in no way. For those who do not know, Peterson is a reformed Canadian (i know that this will mean more to some than others) and he is well respected among scholarly conservative circles. When I read Peterson’s work it seems as though Christ, Paul, Moses, and whoever else you like is writing and speaking in 2005. I realize that it is not our concern to modernize the truth of God’s work, but I am all for reading somthing that sounds a little more up-to-date as long as I don’t have to sacrifice anything. Peterson is solid…the Message is solid. Both have ministered to me lately. Study something more accurate, but don’t feel bad about reading this paraphrase…it sounds to us today just like the original koine greek sounded to the first century church. It has re-awakened my passion for Scripture. Is Christ more concerned over us slaving over the most precise and accurate translation and fighting over which it is, or was his intent that we understand, love, cherish, and be completely consummed with His Words to us? If you try it and don’t like it I will personally send you nothing. Check this out:

THE BEAUTITUDES

“Your blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. (Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.)
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. ( Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.)
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. (Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.)
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find youselves cared for. (Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.)
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.)
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.)
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. (Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)

The Message (NASB)

*If Peterson’s paraphrase adds anything to Scripture then we have a problem. I haven’t read enough to make that call yet.

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