Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Eugene Peterson's Take on Mt. 7 and Mt. 9

We are leading our congregation through a year of reading the Bible through. There are many ways of doing it. We're starting with the New Testament and then going to the Old. Because of the familiarity of the more traditional translations (KJV, NKJV, NASV, NIV, etc.), I have chosen to use Eugene Peterson's THE MESSAGE. I know it's more of a paraphrase than a translation, but with his credentials and knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew, Peterson is incredibly qualified to paraphrase scripture authoritatively. He could probably quote it in Greek ... I know he has taught from it in Greek, translating "on the fly" as he taught.

His take on a couple of passages from Matthew chapters 7 and 9 grabbed me by the throat earlier this week.

Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults -- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own ... Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be able to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege. (Mt. 7:1-6, MSG)

Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: "I'm after mercy, not religion." I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Mt. 9:12-13, MSG).

That's enough to think about for now.


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