Another Tip for Keeping Scripture Living and Active

Continuing our mini-series on Scripture as a living encounter with God, here is another idea for keeping Scripture fresh as you read it:

Tip #2:  Translate it or paraphrase it.

If you speak another language, try translating a Scripture passage into that language (or from that language into English).  Write it down so you are carefully choosing each word.  As a grad student, I had to do my share of Latin translations.  My first Scripture translation was from Luke 1 – it was a short section introducing the birth of John the Baptist.  When I saw “Zechariah” and “Elizabeth”, I wondered why the professor had chosen this passage.  Why not something more exciting?  But it actually turned out to be very interesting – I learned things about Elizabeth and Zechariah that I never knew before, even though I had read Luke 1 many times.  Did you know Zechariah was of the priestly order of Abijah?  Did you know Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron?  Of course we know they were righteous, but did you ever notice how Luke clearly states that they “lived blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord”?  I had never really noticed those things before.  I guess I had already decided that all I needed to know about Zechariah and Elizabeth was that they were righteous and barren.  That was pretty arrogant (and lazy) of me! 

If you don’t speak another language, try paraphrasing the passage into your own words.  Moving from “Bible-speak” to your own way of speaking is a type of translation that still requires you to slow down and think about each word or phrase.  Don’t worry about a “perfectly accurate” translation – the point is to think about the words and their meaning.

Speaking of John the Baptist, why not try it with Luke 3:7-14?