I’M REWRITING THE BIBLE. I hope you don’t mind.
It’s a little spiritual exercise I’ve been doing lately when I’ve had the time. I take a passage of the Bible and I paraphrase it in words that are easier for me to relate to.
I read the passage from a bunch of different translations. I use software that lets me look at a dozen or more very quickly.
Most Bible translations are saying pretty much the same thing, in different styles of writing.
You got the stiff and relatively stodgy style of the New American Standard Version, which is a favorite among biblical scholars.
And you’ve got the light and lively New International Readers Version, targeting kids. I love to use that in my adult Bible study classes, though.
Yesterday I was reading through a song that’s attributed to David. You can read it in Psalm 40.
Here’s how I have paraphrased the first 10 verses for myself. I have found that this kind of paraphrasing helps me think about the passage in ways I don’t normally consider.
See what you think.
I waited a long time for the LORD to come and help me.
He heard my prayers. He came.
I was skidding to my death down a slippery slope, out of control.
He grabbed me and pulled me to safety,
Out of the slime, the mud, and the crud.
He planted my feet on solid rock.
He gave my mouth a song to sing,
A happy song of thanks to our God.
People are going to see what he did for me,
And they’re going to start trusting the LORD.
Those are the happy people, trusting in the LORD.
They don’t put their trust in egomaniacs,
Or in feeble souls counting on fake religions and flakey philosophies.
My goodness, what wonderful things you have done for us, LORD God.
And more to come.
If I tried to recite all those blessings,
I’d run out of voice before running out of blessings.
You don’t want money or animal sacrifices.
I have finally figured it out, with your help.
Rituals like this are not what you want from us.
Then I said to God in prayer, “Here I am.
Right here in the sacred scroll. I’m the one you’re talking about.
The one who says, ‘All I want is what you want, my great God.
You have written your law onto my heart. It is part of who I am now.’”
I tell everyone about you.
I can’t help myself. The praise keeps pouring out.
I’m not keeping my religion to myself.
I’m telling everyone about how you saved me and what you’ve done for me.
I’m not going to hide your love inside my heart.
I’m telling everyone the truth about it.
—Psalm 40:1-10, Steve’s Bible Translation