Categories
the Bible

Does it translate?

“The Bible makes no sense to me.”

I think this is a common experience of all who read the Bible or who have tried and eventually put it down. If this is you, you are in good company.

Remember, the only reason to read the Bible is to know Jesus better. He is as committed to making a connection as you are. More committed. So as you reach for him, he is reaching for you.

Both of you want it to translate.

Pick a translation that reads naturally to you. Don’t struggle with an old one. If a voice in your head (or in your ear) says you should read the King James Version – heaven help us – just don’t. Period. Unless early modern English is your native language. Which it isn’t. So, none of that.

One recent translation you may want to try is called The Message by Eugene Peterson.

You might want to pray briefly and simply before you read. Something like “Jesus, I want to know you more. Help me hear what you have to say.”

Pause your reading when it feels natural. Don’t feel the need to read some prescribed amount every day. (Although there is nothing wrong with that, either.) It will translate better if you don’t feel pushed or rushed.

When you read a passage you don’t understand or that troubles you, that’s okay. Jesus has a lot to teach every one of us.

Hang in there with your thoughts and feelings. Trust that Jesus hears you, right where you are.

Maybe risk a little conversation, formulating what words you can. Listen for a response – thoughts or feelings that are new.

See, you are praying!

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Categories
Scripture

Losing so we can find

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
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May my plans defer to his plans,
  my ways to his ways,
  my words to his words,
  my life to his life,
  who is Life itself,
  who is the Word itself,
  who is the Way,
  who has plans for me,
  for you,
  for the world.

Amen.
Categories
Other Writings Scripture

Crucifying the truth

 

We are too much like Pilate. We are always asking, “What is truth?” and then crucifying the truth that stands before our eyes.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sincerity

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I’m reading through Proverbs and using, for the first time, Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message.  Bible reading has been a regular part of my life for many years. And, yes, it often becomes stale – I stop paying attention. When I notice that happening, I’ll often try a new translation: thus, I’m reading The Message now.

Scripture is part of the ‘truth that stands before our eyes.’ Paying attention to it helps open our eyes to truth still hidden from us, or that we are hiding from ourselves. The book of Proverbs is particularly challenging in that regard – read it and it will make you squirm.

This passage from Chapter 8 fits well with Thomas Merton’s challenge to us.  Lady Wisdom tells us we will recognize the truth if we have “truth-ready minds”.

Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well, I’m telling you how to live at your best. My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth— I can’t stand the taste of evil! You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth; not one syllable will be twisted or skewed. You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once.

Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Father in heaven, may our minds and hearts be open to the truth you ‘stand before our eyes’ every hour of every day. Where would we be without your constant, faithful, truthful presence in our world?

dw

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