Editor’s Note: Last week our computer seemingly went on hiatus – finally, it is working properly -and we’re ready to go again!
Every generation has its’ unique characteristics. You can hear differences in the music, the fashion, the colloquial expressions, etc. The sixties brought with it many flavorful nuances, some were good, some not good at all. One of the things the sixties of the twentieth century will be known for is the charismatic renewal. Out of it came great voices for God, proclaiming a message of freedom and liberty in Christ that was refreshing. Along with that came various translations of the Bible, formulated to take the staunch language of the King James Bible and make it readable for all ages and stages. Among the many translations was The Message Bible written by Eugene Peterson, who just last week made his transition from this life to the next. Often called by the more scholarly type a "loose" translation, I found it’s ‘up in your face" language clear and to the point. Even though scripture rings in my head in the King James, it often resonates in my spirit in The Message.
Consider one of my favorite passages of scripture in The Message:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
Romans 12:1-2 is a familiar passage of scripture for anyone who’s been around the church awhile, and even in the King James version it makes its’ point. However, I love the expressive way that Eugene Peterson makes it more than clear what we should be doing, such as "embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him"; and "readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its’ level of immaturity".
No, The Message Translation may not be the most accurate when it comes to eschatology, as an average, ordinary believer who still has a lot of learning and growing to do, I can’t argue with Greek and Hebrew texts. What I do know is that I need to get down to the nitty-gritty of living this life like God wants me to do it, and sometimes there is no better voice than The Message translation to make it real! May Eugene Peterson be rewarded for the good work that he has done.