I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I find things – meanings, light – in Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible (The Message) that I don’t find or get in the more traditional translations. I’m not saying get rid of the old translations. I love the meter and rhythms of the King James. Has anyone ever improved on “The Lord is my shepherd?” or “they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint?”
But look at the fifth chapter of Romans, for example. Here is Peterson, starting at verse 1:
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us – set us right with him, make us fit for him – we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw our doors open to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown his door open to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
At the risk of sounding juvenile or cliché, all I can say to this is “wow!” How immediate and existential he makes it all sound. That faith in Christ is not just something that changes our metaphysical status. It’s not an abstraction. The change is not simply a changing of the books in heaven. It’s right now. And it’s . . . well, it’s overwhelming. Again, Peterson, Romans 5: 10-11:
In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.
Deep and Wide
Doesn’t this sound immediate and dramatic? Doesn’t it sound fulfilling? Almost operatic! Big life! A few verses down the page and Peterson translates:
. . . just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!