THIS JOB of paraphrasing the New Testament gives me a headache sometimes. Like yesterday.
I’m working in Colossians now, and I spent some time yesterday with my face in my hands, trying to figure out how to put some of Paul’s abstract ideas into easy-reading words for the Casual English Bible.
There’s a section in Colossians 2 about human rules. I sweat my way through that. But now I’m wondering. Given all the human rules we have in church manuals, I wonder what Paul would say about those rulebooks.
Here’s my unproofed, first pass at what Paul said about human rules in Colossae, a city in what is now Turkey.
After reading it, what do you think he would say about church manuals today?
Human rules? Nah
“So let me tell you this. Don’t let anyone feed you their rules about what you should eat or drink, or what religious holidays you should observe, including new moon rituals or worship on the Sabbath.
Important once, these were just shadows compared to the reality we now have in Christ.
Christ in your life is quite the prize. Don’t let anyone steal this. And don’t let anyone talk down to you because you don’t do what they do: observe self-denial rituals or worship angels. Don’t worry about it when they tell you they do this because of visions. No they don’t. They do it because they have inflated egos and imagination.
People who tell you to do this are not in any way connected to Christ who is the head of our body, the church. Christ feeds us the spiritual nourishment we need. He holds us together in unity, with spiritual joints and ligaments. We grow, thanks to God.
Come on now. You died with Christ. His power set you free from the spirits of this world. So why are you still following the rules of this world?
You know what rules I’m talking about. “Stay away from this! Don’t eat that! Don’t even touch this!”
Rules like these, invented by humans, are going to wear out.
These rules might seem wise and wonderful. But they’re not. They’re just part of another fake religion. It’s a religion that sets up a bunch of rules. These rules are supposed to make people feel pious and humble simply because those people follow the rules and they practice self-denial over their body. Let me tell you, these rules are worthless because they do nothing to help people overcome their sinful desires.”
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Anastasia Norman
- Bill Barlow
I give away free books every week to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog or my quarterly newsletter.
Note to the two winners: send me an email and I’ll give you the full list of books from which you can choose.
The deal’s good for a month, or for as long as I have giveaway books available.