This one was tough to write

This one was tough to write
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Writing this email was difficult.

Capturing an email that seemed good share was challenging this time around.

It's my 3rd-ish email draft, in addition to some rough video footage of my "day-to-day" Japan life lately. I hoped to send this out earlier, but the stories and ideas weren't coming together.

I mean, there is a lot to say. Any of us could write thousands of words on the 900+ minutes of daily conscious life we experience. Of course, there are different reflections and ideas we could share.

But the big question is, what should we share?

悩む (perplexing)

Ideas are not always straightforward, being strictly good or obviously bad ideas.

Good ones align with God's good plan and purpose for our world. At the same time, foolish ideas compete and conflict with that Good.

Foolish ideas aren't always foreign to our minds.

"Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."
Colossians 4:6 NLT

It's easy (and perilous) to misrepresent God. Media and entertainment platforms do it all the time. It's laughable what earns the title "god" in thousands of cases in popular media.

Preachers misspeak, too, on occasion. I've been thinking. "How much nuance is necessary to explain Jesus and the Bible well in a single sermon?" There's not a clear answer in my mind for this one yet.

There is a fine line between:

  • giving people too much detail
  • and not sharing a nuanced, faithful biblical message.

James doesn't waste a single letter making this point.

"Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly."
James 3:1 NLT

Let's keep praying for our Christian leaders that the Holy Spirit would give them wisdom and grace to teach well.

As a fan of more literal translations like the ESV

I was recently encouraged to reconsider the paraphrased and more accessible versions of scripture. Luke, Mark, Matthew, John, Paul, and Co. didn't write the New Testament letters and gospels in an elite or academic form of Greek.

The New Testament was written in decidedly average, accessible language. Koine Greek means common Greek. Scholars view New Testament language in a different light than the ancient greek classics by Plato and Homer. An overwhelming majority of other ancient Greek manuscripts are written in a literary, elite form of Greek.

The NT authors weren't using complex and inaccessible concepts to share the ideas of Jesus with people. The Greek words used for things like faith, righteousness, and Gospel would have intuitively made sense to the original audiences.

Consider it a compelling reason to dive into the more accessible translations of scripture. The language choice of the Biblical authors challenges us to explain our precious faith without using words and ideas foreign to our culture.

When sharing the Gospel with our friends, words like born-again, righteousness, and holiness don't mean much to the modern non-Christian English speaker (who doesn't happen to be a philosopher or language expert). Even Christians must be taught the Biblical concepts behind these ideas.

Language changes over time. For example, "internet" and "smartphone" are words unknown to even our recent ancestors.

New, faithful translations are an incredible gift to Christians worldwide. We are blessed to have dozens of English translation teams that work hard to faithfully deliver God's word in ways that are accessible to everyone.

What translations do you use to read the Bible?