Something I’ve been trying to do for the past few years is to read scripture with new eyes–like I’m reading it for the first time. The reason for this is that I was taught–not in words, but more in action–that we already know what scripture says and the only reason that we need to study it is so that we can know which scriptures support what we believe. The reason that we need to know this is so that we can set everyone else who is living in error (those outside of our particular denomination) straight.
The Message//Remix: The Bible in Contemporary Language is one translation/paraphrase that has helped me to read scripture anew. I constantly find myself referring to other versions to check, “Does it really say that?” The answer thus far has been “yes”. It’s just that I’ve read scripture so much with the idea that I already know what it says that I’ve missed a lot. I’ve missed what tremendous good news is really contained there!
Recently, I’ve been reading the Gospel of John in The Message and in the New Living Translation. This morning I was struck by this passage where Jesus is speaking to the Jews who wanted to kill him:
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”
Here it is in the New Living Translation:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”
I even read it in the NIV and KJV. (Old habits die hard. 🙂 )
This passage was just confirmation of what I believe God has been trying to teach me for the past several years. For so many years I was a dedicated student of scripture because that was what just what I was “supposed to do.” But I have begun to understand that, while I had a relationship with God then, I was putting almost all of my energy into having a relationship with a book, which is impossible. Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe in the authority of scripture and the importance of studying God’s Word. But for so long I was missing what God was trying to teach me through His Word–that He is the point of everything, getting to know Him more and more is the whole point of everything!
Here’s a link telling why The Message was written and also a little about how it was translated. Pretty interesting. At the bottom of the page you can also read any passage from The Message.