Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Apologizing to Eugene Peterson

This morning I sat down to read my Bible. I've been reading THE MESSAGE lately, because it's different and sometimes catches me off guard. "Where did that come from?" I think to myself as I read some familiar passage in unfamiliar prose. "Surely that can't be what it means!" And off I go to consult the Greek and find that lo and behold (!) that's pretty much what it means.

I'm not wild about the phraseology. I think it's a little stilted -- like maybe he was trying a little too hard. But it's been good for me.

Anyway, this morning I decided I wanted to read Galatians. I love the bit about God waiting until just the right time to send Jesus (Galatians 4:4). I love how hot-tempered Paul is -- using course language and speaking plainly about how stupid it is to begin by faith and try to finish by obedience. Though I haven't spent as much time in Galatians as in some other parts of the New Testament, I really enjoy his argument.

Anyway, this morning I got really mad at how loose Eugene Peterson was with his translation. As I sat there reading, I thought, "This doesn't even sound like the same book! He's butchered this text! How dare he!"

Then I started to notice things: How in the world was Paul going to visit Galatia on his way to Macedonia? And why would they care about the real reason he didn't visit the church in Corinth?

Wait a second...this isn't Galatians! It's 2 Corinthians!

Sorry about all the bad things I muttered under my breath about you, Dr. Peterson. Next time I'll remember to read the opening paragraph before diving in.