I’M NOT STEALING FROM JESUS, I’m helping him get his message out.
At least I’m trying to help.
If you read this blog much at all, you know I have a Bible-study technique I’m trying out. I’m putting the Bible into my own words. It’s not easy to do that.
I read a passage from a bunch of Bible translations, and then I try to put the message in the kind of words I use when I’m talking to family and friends.
I was working on the Beatitudes of Jesus when I got a note from a reader, Richard Hagee. He was commenting on an article I posted last week: How I pick my Bible translations.
In that article, I quoted several Bible versions of Jesus’ first Beatitude. Then I added my own. Richard posted a comment, which came through to my email as I was writing this article for today. He said, “I tend to enjoy your own translations based on contemporary and scholarly translations and this latest one on the first beatitude is great!”
Cool timing. Coincidence? Maybe. But it would be great to think that God was giving me a go-ahead nudge.
Nudge or not, here’s my first pass at a paraphrase of the Beatitudes, a set of teachings that Matthew said Jesus used to launch into his most famous sermon: the Sermon on the Mount.
Beatitudes, with a fresh attitude
3. When you feel spiritually bankrupt, remember this blessing: God’s kingdom is your home.
4. If you’ve loved someone enough to mourn them when they’re gone, God has blessed you. Now he will comfort you.
5. Humble souls are blessed with this reward: a whopper of an inheritance. God’s world belongs to them.
6. That hunger you feel inside for kindness, justice, and all things right and good in this world – it’s a blessing from God. He’s not going to disappoint you; it’s all coming your way.
7. God rewards you when you show mercy: you get mercy in return. A blessing of a payback.
8. If your heart is in the right place, you will see God.
9. People will recognize you as someone in God’s family when you become the peacemaker in the fight.
10. When you are ridiculed and persecuted for doing the right thing, remember this blessing: the keys to God’s kingdom belong to you.
11. Consider it a good and godly blessing when people insult you, lie about you, and make life miserable for you just because you walk a different path, following me.
12. Be glad about it because you’re on the right path. Heaven is ahead, and it’s your reward. What’s happening to you happened to God’s hand-picked prophets long ago.
Matthew 5:3-12, Steve’s Bible Translation