NEXT SUNDAY I’m going to do something in our Bible study group that I’ve never done before.
I fear the group might never want me to do it again.
We’re going to create our own Bible paraphrase of the opening verses of the Gospel of John.
Those are tough verses. They start like this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
I’m going to show them the process I go through in paraphrasing the Casual English Bible, a version I’ve been working on in my spare time.
It’s a technique I used in my own Bible study in recent years.
I’ll show them how to start with an interlinear, a book that has each word in a Bible verse written in the original Greek alongside the English translation.
Then I’ll show them how to click on the Greek word, and find the various translations of a word. That will help folks in the class see how tough it can be to pick the right word.
Take “Word,” for example in “the Word was with God.”
It’s Logos in Greek. When you click on that word to jump to Strong’s Concordance, you discover it’s a masculine noun. That makes it a guy thing, it would seem.
- a thing uttered
- a message
- announcement of a prophet
- message from God
- preeminently used of Christ
With that in mind, maybe the Word means something like this: “Jesus, the Voice of God.” I don’t know. We’ll work on that come Sunday morning.
When we do a Google search of Logos, we find that Stoic philosophers in Bible times used it as a term to talk about something they couldn’t understand: creation. They called it the “divine animating principle behind the universe.” That’s the power that started life…and keeps it going.
To Jews, the “Word” is how God started everything:
Earth was shapeless and empty. Darkness cloaked the deep water. God’s Spirit cruised through the darkness, above the water.
God said, “Lights.” Lights came on” (Genesis 1:2-3 Casual English Bible).
Is Jesus there?
We’ll consider that on Sunday.
This is just one Word. We’ll be working with other words, too.
Wish me luck.
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Gary Wright
- Joan Carnett
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.
$1 Casual English Bible Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Acts, a PDF download