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A Translation of Mark Chapter 8

RomansText1“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Why have you concluded that I said this because you did not bring bread? Don’t you yet know or understand? Are your hearts hard? You have eyes, but do you not see? You have ears, but do you not hear?” (Mark 8:17-18)

Jesus spoke the words quoted above to some very dull disciples. Jesus had already fed the five thousand with five loaves of bread, and the four thousand with seven loaves of bread, and yet the disciples somehow concluded that he would be upset because they forgot to pack lunch.

When we eventually get to watch the video of this scene, I want to listen to Jesus’ tone as he spoke these words, and watch the expression on his face. It almost seems impossible that his disciples could have seen the miraculous feedings of such huge crowds of people, and still demonstrated such a focus on the fact that they had forgotten lunch for a dozen or so. That is what makes Jesus’ words so poignant. “Don’t you yet know? Don’t you yet understand? Are your hearts hard? Can’t you see? Can’t you hear?”

Of course, we can be just as dense as Jesus’ disciples. There are so many things that happen around us that demonstrate God’s love and presence, and yet we too can focus on the petty needs of the moment, instead of the big picture of what God is doing. It is a part of our human condition. But we don’t have to stay there. We can remember what God has done for us in the past, and apply it to our present. That is, after all, what faith does. It lives up to its level of experience of God. If the Lord has moved on your behalf in the past, it is only common sense to expect him to do so in the future. If he has affirmed his love for you during trying circumstance, it is only faith to expect that he will continue to do so.

The disciples demonstrated little faith when they forgot to apply their past experiences to their present circumstance. One way we can avoid this trap is by making a list of times when we just know that God has intervened on our behalf. Then when we pray, we can thank God for those times, and ask him to do it again. I believe he is absolutely thrilled by such prayers since they are manifestations of faith, and we know it is by faith from first to last (see Romans 1:17).

On to our translation:

Mark 8:1-38
A Translation by Randal Cutter

8:1   At that time, a large crowd gathered around Jesus again. Since they did not have anything to eat, he called his disciples together and said to them,

8:2   “I have compassion for the crowd; they have already been with me three days, and they do not have anything to eat.”

8:3   “If I send them away to their homes without food, they will become faint along the way; some of them have even come from a long distance.

8:4   His disciples responded to him, “Where would anyone find bread to feed them here in this desolate place?”*

8:5   He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They told him, “Seven.”

8:6   So he commanded the crowd to sit down upon the ground. He took the seven loaves of bread, gave thanks, broke it into pieces, and gave it to his disciples for them to distribute. Then they distributed the bread to the crowd.

8:7   They also had a few small fish. He blessed them and told his disciples to also distribute the fish.*

8:8   The people ate and had as much as they wanted. The disciples picked up seven larger baskets* of leftover fragments,

8:9   even though there were about four thousand men. After this Jesus sent the people home.

8:10   He immediately embarked in a boat with his disciples, and traveled to the region of Dalmanutha.

8:11   Just then the Pharisees came out and began to badger him, testing him by seeking a sign from heaven from him.

8:12   He sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why is this generation seeking a sign? I am telling you the truth, no sign will be given to this generation.”

8:13   He left them, boarded the boat again, and crossed over to the other side.

8:14   However, the disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.

8:15   At that time Jesus gave them clear instructions telling them, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of the Herodians.”*

8:16   The disciples concluded among themselves that Jesus said this because they had no bread.

8:17   He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Why have you concluded that I said this because you did not bring bread? Don’t you yet know or understand? Are your hearts hard?”

8:18   “You have eyes, but do you not see? You have ears, but do you not hear? Don’t you remember”

8:19   “when I broke five loaves for the five thousand? How many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They said to him, “Twelve.”

8:20   “When I broke seven loaves for the four thousand, how many larger baskets full of fragments did you pick up?” They said to him, “Seven.”

8:21   He said to them, “You don’t yet understand?”

8:22   After this they arrived at Bethsaida. The people brought a blind man to Jesus, and urged him to touch the man.

8:23   Jesus took the hand of the blind man, and brought him outside of the village. He spit in the man’s eyes, laid his hands on him, and asked him, “What do you see?”

8:24   Then his sight returned, and he said, “I see men walking about, to be specific, I am seeing them like they are trees.”*

8:25   Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes again, and he saw clearly; his sight was fully restored, and he could see everything distinctly.

8:26   After that Jesus sent the man to his own house saying, “Do not go into the village.”

8:27   Some time later Jesus and his disciples went out to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. While they were on the road, he began to question his disciples asking them, “Who do men say that I am?”

8:28   They responded to him saying, “Some say John the Baptizer, others say Elijah, and others say that you are one of the prophets.”

8:29   He asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter answered and said to him, “You are the Christ.”

8:30   Then Jesus strongly warned them that they should say nothing to anyone about him.

8:31   He also began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things; to be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribal scholars; and to be killed and raised to life after three days.

8:32   He spoke this message openly to them, but Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

8:33   But Jesus turned his back on Peter, and when he saw his disciples, he rebuked him and said, “Quit haunting me, Satan! Peter, you are thinking from the perspective of men, not God.”*

8:34   After that he called the crowd together with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone desires to follow after me, he must deny his own will, take up his cross, and follow me.”

8:35   “For whoever desires to save his soul will lose it, but whoever loses his soul for my sake, and for the gospel, will save it.”

8:36   “For what benefit is there for a man to gain the whole world and suffer loss to his soul?”

8:37   “For what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”*

8:38   “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with his holy angels.”

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8:4  Desolate Place: There are two things we should realize. First, the disciples are clearly throwing the ball back into Jesus’ court in their response to him. They certainly didn’t forget the feeding of the five thousand. In essence, they were inviting him to do it again. The second thing that we can note, is that this miracle is taking place in the region of the Decapolis (the Ten Greek Cities). There can be no doubt that this was a mixed crowd. The feeding of the five thousand was done with a mostly Jewish crowd. The feeding of the four thousand was also an outreach to the Gentiles.

8:7  The fish: Mark makes it clear that the fish were almost an afterthought. It may be that while they were distributing the bread, someone in the crowd let the disciples know they also had some fish. In this way, the fish would have been provided so that they also could be multiplied and distributed.

8:8  Larger baskets: At the end of the feeding of the five thousand, the disciples picked up twelve personal baskets of leftovers. These were the personal baskets that most of the people of the time would take with them when they left their homes. However, in this instance, it is a much larger basket that is used, not the personal one. They may have had far more left over than they had from the first feeding.

8:15  The yeast of the Pharisees and Herodians: In spite of the fact that the Pharisees and Herodians had seen many miracles, they wanted a sign from heaven to validate the signs on earth. The yeast, then, is that thing which works in us so that we do not believe even when we see something obviously supernatural. This is not to say that we must believe everything that people call miracles, but it certainly reminds us that there is a point when you can no longer intellectually deny a miracle, and at that point it is dishonest to require even more proof than has been given.

8:24  I see people walking as trees: I believe that the reason that this is a two-part miracle, is that it is a message about our spiritual journey. When our eyes are first opened, we can see certain spiritual truths, but not others. However, as we grow in our connection to Jesus, our eyes are opened further, and we can see better. This growth in our ability to see helps us see people better (and appreciate who they are even more).

8:33  Jesus turned his back on Peter: I have translated this verse to capture a bit of the activity that is portrayed in the verse a bit more fully. I have often pictured Jesus looking into Peter’s eyes and saying, “Get behind me, Satan,” as if he were calling Peter by the name of Satan. However, it is clear that Jesus has already turned from Peter by the time he speaks, and although he is certainly rebuking Peter, I am no longer certain he is calling Peter by Satan’s name. I have indicated that Jesus may truly be addressing the Tempter first, and then addressing Peter in the second half of his statement.

8:37  Soul: I have deliberately translated the Greek word as soul instead of life as some other translations do, so that we understand Jesus’ point. He is speaking to our self-will. The soul is the location of our mind, emotions, and will. We can do things our way, and lose everything even while we live (happiness, satisfaction, contentment). The only path to a happy soul is by denying our own self-will, and doing it God’s way.

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Image credit: Randal Cutter/iPhone 6s/Photoshop Oil Paint Filter

A Translation of Mark Chapter 7

RomansText1“In addition, when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they baptize themselves. They also cling to many other traditions that they have inherited, such as the baptizing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and dining couches. ” (Mark 7:4)

Before I comment on this verse, I should mention that in my congregation we practice baptism through immersion. I grew up Lutheran, and as most of you know, Lutheran practice is not immersion, nor would it be appropriate, since they baptize babies. However, when I left the Lutheran Church I shifted to adult baptism by immersion both for theological and practical reasons.

Before we move on, perhaps I should point out that most Christians believe this key truth about baptism: Baptism is for infants. Let that sink in for a minute. Now let’s finish the thought: Some Christians believe that baptism is for physical infants, and some believe it is for spiritual infants (new believers). This means that we agree about a very basic truth about baptism, and that our only disagreement (from this perspective) is about whether the application is physical or spiritual. There, I’ve just solved a theological rift that has plagued the Christian Church for centuries. You are welcome.

More seriously, since I am about to write some potentially unpopular things, I thought I would state clearly what I currently practice so that you realize that I am not grinding a theological ax in what I write below. I am a truth-seeker. I also want you to be one. I know I can help with that by stating my position up front.

In order to be a truth-seeker, we need to allow the Scripture to form our theological opinions, our theological opinions cannot form Scripture. Since this is a translation article, I will put it this way: When we desire to determine the meaning of a word, we can approach the topic in one of two ways. We can determine the meaning of a word theologically, that is, we determine what our theology states that the word should mean, and we then make the word mean that. The other approach, which I believe is more appropriate, is to determine a word’s meaning linguistically. That means, among other things, that we look at the various contexts in which we find a word, and then determine its meaning based upon the obvious context.

Thus we turn our attention to the verse I have quoted above.

I know that most translations do not use the word “baptize” in their translation of this verse. However, the Greek word that the Holy Spirit moved Mark to use was baptizo. As I did a survey of other translations, I found that most translations, except Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), chose to translate baptizo by using the word “washing” instead of the more familiar “baptize.” I would not normally have a problem with that choice, except that it obscures something that we really need to see in order to undertand the meaning of the Greek word baptizo.

Of course, volumes have been written on the meaning of baptizo, and I do not intend to add another volume. I will only point out that the vast majority of manuscripts of Mark 7:4 include the Greek word that is translated “dining couches” (table in the KJV/NKJV). That means that the Pharisees baptized their dining couches, a significant trick if baptizo means “to immerse” in this instance.

Of course, many translations simply drop dining couch, or demote it to a footnote stating that the most important manuscripts do not have it included. Let us be clear; there are thousands and thousands of copies of the Greek New Testament that have been passed down to us through the millenia telling us that the Pharisees baptized their dining couches. Relatively speaking, there are only a handful that do not have the word for dining couches. Even though the NIV and other translations choose to drop “dining couches” from their translations, it is included in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts, and those who have compiled the Greek New Testament have always included it.

Actually, in one sense, it does not matter whether Mark himself actually used the word for dining couches or not. I believe he did, and that manuscript evidence supports that fact, but that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that thousands of ancient Greek-speaking and ancient Greek-writing copyists did include the word in their manuscripts, and had no difficulty with the idea that the Pharisees baptized their dining couches, which the Pharisees most certainly did not do by immersion.

If you believe that baptizo only ever means immersion, this is where you will find out if you approach Scripture from a theological perspective, or a linguistic perspective. If you approach this passage from a theological perspective, you will be offended at the idea that dining couches could be included in this passage. So even though it is included in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts, and even though the compilers of the Greek New Testament have consistently included it in all their versions and updates, you might be tempted to drop it so that you do not have to deal with the implications. If you approach this passage from a linguistic perspective, though you may be offended that the idea of dining couches being baptized, you will let the text speak to you. You will then be open to the conclusion that, at least in this one instance, baptizo might mean something other than immerse.

You now know into which category you fall.

On to our translation:

Mark 7:1-37
A Translation by Randal Cutter

7:1   At another time the Pharisees and some of the scribal scholars came from Jerusalem and gathered around him.

7:2   They saw some of Jesus’ disciples eating bread with ritually unclean hands, that is, with hands that had not been ritually washed.*

7:3   For the Pharisees and all the Jews did not eat unless they performed a ritual washing of their hands by making a fist,* clinging to the tradition of the elders.

7:4   In addition, when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they baptize themselves. They also cling to many other traditions that they have inherited, such as the baptizing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and dining couches.

7:5   The Pharisees and the scribal scholars questioned Jesus: “Why are your disciples not walking according to the tradition of the elders, but instead eat bread with ritually unclean hands?”

7:6   In response he said to them, “Isaiah prophesied accurately about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.’

7:7   ‘They worship me without accomplishing anything, because they are teaching the commandments of men for their doctrines.’

7:8   “You have abandoned God’s command, and are clinging to the traditions of men.”

7:9   He also said to them, “You are good at overruling the commands of God in order to keep your traditions.”

7:10   “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘The one mocking his father or mother spitefully should be put to death.’”

7:11   “But you say, ‘If a man says to father or mother, ‘Whatever financial support you might have received from me is Corban, that is, a gift for the temple treasury,’

7:12   “you no longer allow him to provide for his father or mother.”*

7:13   “You are invalidating the word of God by the traditions which you have handed down; you also do many other things just like this.”

7:14   When Jesus summoned the crowd again, he said to them, “Everyone, listen to me and understand!”

7:15   “There is nothing outside of a man that is able to defile him when it goes into him; but the things coming out of a man are able to defile him.”

7:16   “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”*

7:17   Later when they went into a house away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable.

7:18   He asked them, “Are you so without understanding? Do you not understand that everything that enters a man from the outside is not able to defile him?”

7:19   “It can’t defile him because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and then goes out of his body into the latrine.” Jesus said this, thus cleansing all foods.*

7:20   He also said, “The things that come out of a man defile the man.”

7:21   “For from within—from the heart of men—evil thoughts arise, also sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,”

7:22   “adulteries, lusts, wicked deeds, deceit, unrestrained sensuality, envy, slanders, arrogance, and willful ignorance.”*

7:23   “All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

7:24   Then Jesus left and went into the region of Tyre. He arrived at a house, but did not want anyone to know. However, he was not able to remain hidden;

7:25   in fact when a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him, she immediately came and fell at his feet.

7:26   But the woman was a Greek who was Syrophoenician by birth. She requested that he cast the demon out of her daughter.

7:27   He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not healthy to take the children’s food and feed it to the house dogs.”

7:28   But she responded and said to him, “Yes Lord, but the house dogs* eat the scraps of the children that fall under the table.”

7:29   He said to her, “On account of this answer, you may go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

7:30   Then she went to her house and found the child collapsed upon the bed,* but the demon had left her.

7:31   Jesus again went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon, and then traveled along the Sea of Galilee to the middle of the region called the Decapolis.

7:32   The residents of the region brought a man to him who could not hear, and had difficulty speaking; and they begged Jesus to lay hands on him.

7:33   Jesus took the man from the crowd for privacy, placed his fingers into his ears, spit in his hand, and held the man’s tongue.*

7:34   He looked up to heaven, groaned, and said to the infirmities, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Open up!”*

7:35   Immediately the man’s hearing was opened up, the restriction on his tongue was removed, and he began to speak clearly.

7:36   Jesus gave them explicit instructions that they tell no one. But the more he instructed them, the more they spread the news,

7:37   because they were overwhelmed with astonishment; they were reporting, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

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7:2  Ritually unclean hands/ritually washed: There is no doubt from the context that the issue is the ceremonial washing that the Pharisees legalistically observed. I have translated this verse in a way that makes this obvious.

7:3  By making a fist: Literally “with a fist.” This refers to the practice of how they held their hands as they washed. Some translations simply drop the word “fist” because they feel it is an obscure reference. I have included it because it is in the Greek text, and I don’t believe that it is appropriate to edit out things simply because I might not understand them.

7:12  Jesus may be referring to a celebrated case where a man rashly vowed to dedicate all his money to the temple rather than helping his parents with it. The issue would be about what is more important, honoring father and mother with financial support or keeping a vow to God. The rabbis chose the vow. Jesus chose the honor since to do otherwise was to mock the relationship with father and mother.

7:16  This verse is skipped in some translations because of a bias toward the Alexandrian family of Greek manuscripts. As in the case of dining couches, the vast majority of Greek manuscripts have the verse. My rule of thumb is, when a version states that “the earliest and most reliable manuscripts” don’t have something, it probably should be included in the translation. When a translation uses that wording, it is a sign that it is submitting to an inappropriate bias toward a very limited number of manuscripts that some have chosen to call “the most reliable.” That is an opinion, and a tenuous one at best. But the NIV and the ESV have succumbed to it.

7:19  Cleansing all foods: Legalists (including all those who want to yoke Christians under the law again) would prefer that this verse wasn’t here. Remember that Mark was writing to Roman Gentile readers. They put all sorts of things they called “food” in their mouths. Jesus is clearly saying that if you can digest it, it is clean. He is not making some obscure point that the item has to first qualify as food under the terms of the Mosaic Code. That is not what the Greek word for food means, but modern day Christian legalists will often say something like  that simply because they never stop trying. You may continue to enjoy your pork chops without guilt. They are clean for those who are not under the Law of Moses. Of course, the people around Jesus in this incident were still under the Law. They not only would not have understood that Jesus was cleansing all food for the new covenant, Jesus had not yet instituted that covenant.

7:22  Willful Ignorance: In this section of Mark, Jesus refers to thinking, or not thinking, four different times. It is important that he includes willful ignorance in his list of negative things that come from the heart. Those who choose not to use their minds when they approach topics of importance are not being spiritual, they are manifesting a very negative trait.

7:28  House dogs: The word Jesus uses does not refer to the wild dogs that traveled in packs, but rather to puppies, or to a house dog. One of the points of this story is that this woman, through faith, recognized that Gentiles were in the house—and standing on that revelation, she stepped into great faith.

7:30  Collapsed upon the bed: The Greek text indicates that she was thrown there, probably as the demon left. At the time her mother found her, she was resting quietly.

7:33  Held the man’s tongue: The Greek word indicates a firm touch or grasp. I chose to translate it as Jesus holding the tongue to emphasize the firm contact. However, he may simply have been pressing down firmly. In any case, I’m sure the man was quite startled by the whole thing.

7:34  Note three reasons why I believe that the best understanding is that Jesus was speaking directly to the infirmity rather than to the man (the Greek could go either way): First, the man was deaf, so Jesus clearly wasn’t speaking to him. Second, since Jesus was in the region of the Decapolis (the ten Greek cities), this man most likely did not speak Aramaic, and would not have understood Jesus even if he could hear. Third, Jesus commanded, and the infirmity obeyed the command, showing us to whom or what Jesus was speaking.

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A Translation of Mark Chapter 6

RomansText1Pay attention to this verse. It will give you some amazing keys for living: “Jesus could see his disciples being painfully tested as they rowed, because the wind was against them. Around the fourth watch of the night, he came near them walking upon the sea; he was intending to pass by them.” (Mark 6:48)

This verse contains so much raw understanding of how things really work, that we need to pay close attention. It will help you through difficult times.

After promising his disciples a quiet time away with him because they were so busy they could not even find time to eat, the disciples and Jesus head for parts unknown. However, the crowds see them, race along the shore, and actually get to the place of rest before Jesus and his disciples. Jesus and his team once again spends hours ministering to these crowds, and then Jesus has the disciples serve dinner to what probably amounted to about twenty thousand people. Then immediately, he compels them to get in their boat and head straight into a wind that makes their crossing of the lake the trip from hell. They had started before sunset. At 3:00 AM they were still rowing, and still had quite a distance to go. Can you imagine how tired and discouraged they were at this point? Yet when Jesus started for home walking on the water, he intended to walk right by them. We need to get our mind around this in order to understand how he works with us.

I translated the main verb in one of the sentences in verse 48, “Jesus could see his disciples being painfully tested.” I think that is a fair description. The Greek verb, baésanos, was originally used by inspectors of coins, then the word became a commercial term for checking calculations, later it was used figuratively for testing, and finally it came to signify putting to the test by torture (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). While most of the translations I have seen capture the torturous struggle, they miss the testing part. At Jesus’ time the word could refer to torture, or it could refer to testing afflictions. Obviously, torture is bad, but testing afflictions can purify us and grow us in ways that help us.

While Jesus will not give us more than we can bear (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), he knows we can bear a lot more than we think we can. He will not short circuit the growth process when it can only help us. The disciples were undergoing a test. Jesus intended on letting the test continue for their benefit. He only changed his course when the circumstances changed. The disciples caught sight of Jesus, misunderstood what was happening, and were overwhelmed with fear. At that point Jesus intervened on their behalf so that they would not be undone.

I believe this story can strengthen our resolve when trials come upon us. No matter the source of the trial, or the intensity, when we strenuously work through it, it can have a beneficial purpose. It might even feel so difficult it can feel like torture—I can imagine the disciples were in that frame of mind—and yet the Lord knows the difference. He will allow the testing to accomplish its purposes, but he will also intervene if we become undone.

We should also note, that although Mark doesn’t reference it, Peter instantly recovered from his fear, and asked Jesus to invite him on to the water. Apart from Jesus, Peter was filled with fear. When he fixed his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on water with Jesus. Though he eventually relapsed into fear, his quick recovery is an amazing testimony of how quickly the people of God can move from fear to faith when Jesus is in the picture.

These are important keys of understanding from this section of Mark.

For your information, I have now caught up to where my congregation and I are as we study through (and translate) the book of Mark. I will post chapter seven when I finish teaching through it in several weeks.

Mark 6:1-56
A Translation by Randal Cutter

6:1   Then Jesus left that area, and went to his hometown; his disciples also accompanied him.

6:2   When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many of those who listened were overwhelmed with amazement. They began to ask, “Where did this man get these teachings? Where did he receive this wisdom? How are such miracles being done through his hands?”

6:3   “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? His brothers are also here among us, aren’t they?” So they were shocked and angered by him.

6:4   Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not usually despised except in his hometown, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

6:5   As a result, he was not able to do any miracles there, except that he did place his hands on a few sick people and healed them.

6:6   He was amazed at their unbelief, so he went instead to the surrounding villages teaching them.

6:7   Later, he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. He also gave them authority over unclean spirits.

6:8   He also commanded them, “Take nothing on the road except a single staff. Do not take any bread, nor a bag for provisions, nor money folded into your belts.”

6:9   “Of course you may wear sandals, but do not wear two tunics.”

6:10   He also said to them, “Remain at the location where you have been welcomed into a home until you depart from that town.”

6:11   “But the place that does not welcome you, and the people that do not listen to you, as you leave that town, shake the dust from under your feet as a witness to them.”

6:12   Then they went out and preached so that the people might repent.

6:13   They also cast out many demons, and they anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

6:14   At that time, “King” Herod* heard about Jesus, for his name had become well known. Some were also saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead,* and for this reason miraculous powers are working in him.”

6:15   But others were saying, “It is Elijah.” Still others were saying, “He is a prophet like one of the Prophets.”

6:16   However, when Herod heard, he said, “It is John, whom I beheaded. He has risen from the dead.”

6:17   Herod himself had sent men and arrested John, and bound him in prison. It was all because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom Herod had married.

6:18   For John had been saying to Herod, “It is against the Law for you to marry your brother’s wife.”*

6:19   Herodias was furious with John, and wanted to kill him; but was not able to do so

6:20   because Herod was afraid of John and was protecting him. He knew John was a righteous and holy man. He listened to him often, but was perplexed by him. Yet he enjoyed listening to him.

6:21   The perfect time to make an attempt on John’s life arrived on Herod’s birthday, when he put on a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the chief men of Galilee.

6:22   When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she delighted Herod and those dining at the table with him. The “king” said to the teenage girl,* “Ask me whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.”

6:23   He swore emphatically to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give to you, even up to half my kingdom.”

6:24   She went out and asked her mother, “What shall I ask?” Her mother said, “Ask for the head of John the baptizer.”

6:25   She went to the “king” quickly and asked urgently, “I want you, without delay, to give me the head of John the baptizer on a serving tray.”

6:26   The “king” was filled with profound sorrow, but on account of the oaths and those dining at the table, he did not want to reject her request.

6:27   The “king” immediately sent a messenger and commanded the executioner to bring John’s head. Then the executioner went and beheaded John in the prison,

6:28   and brought his head upon a serving tray. He then gave it to the teenage girl, and the little girl gave it to her mother.

6:29   When John’s disciples heard, they came and carried his body away, and placed it in a tomb.

6:30   After their mission, the apostles gathered around Jesus and reported everything they had done and taught to him.

6:31   At that time he said to them, “Come by yourselves to an uninhabited place and rest alone for a little while.” He said this because so many were coming and going that they could not even find time to eat.

6:32   Then they went in the boat to an uninhabited place by themselves.

6:33   But the crowds saw them as they left, and many recognized them. People from all the cities ran together on foot to the uninhabited area, and they arrived before Jesus and the disciples.

6:34   When they arrived, Jesus saw the large crowd and felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep who did not have a shepherd; so he began to teach them many things.

6:35   When many hours had gone by, Jesus’ disciples came to him and said, “The place is remote, and many hours have already passed.”

6:36   “Send the people away so that they can go to the countryside and the surrounding villages, and buy something to eat for themselves.”

6:37   But he responded to them, “You give them something to eat.” They asked him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii* worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”

6:38   He questioned them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”

6:39   Then he commanded them all to sit as if arranged for a banquet in rows upon the green grass.*

6:40   They sat down in orderly groups of hundreds and fifties.

6:41   At that point, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven he pronounced a blessing and broke the bread into pieces. Then he gave it to his disciples in order that they might serve it to the people, and he shared the two fish with everyone

6:42   so that they all ate as much as they wanted.

6:43   They also carried away twelve baskets of leftover pieces of bread, along with the fish.

6:44   Those who ate the bread numbered about five thousand men.

6:45   As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus forced his disciples to get in the boat and journey across the sea to Bethsaida, while he personally sent the crowd away.

6:46   After he sent everyone away, he went up a mountain to pray.

6:47   By the time the sun had set, the boat was in the middle of the sea while Jesus was alone on the land.

6:48   Jesus could see his disciples being painfully tested as they rowed,* because the wind was against them. Around the fourth watch of the night, he came near them walking upon the sea; he was intending to pass by them.

6:49   When they saw him walking upon the sea, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a phantom;

6:50   they all saw him and were trembling with fear. But he quickly responded and said to them, “Take courage, it is I; stop being afraid.”

6:51   He went to them in the boat, and the wind stopped. They were utterly overwhelmed with amazement,

6:52   for they did not understand about the loaves; their hearts had become insensitive.

6:53   They crossed over and came to shore near Gennesaret, and they anchored the boat.

6:54   When they disembarked from the boat, the people of the region immediately recognized him,

6:55   and they rushed throughout that entire region spreading the news. Then they began to carry the afflicted around on stretchers wherever they heard that he was.

6:56   Wherever he went, whether it was in a village, a city, or in the countryside, the residents would place those who were sick in the marketplace, and beg him to let them touch the hem of his garment. All those who were sick, who touched him, were healed of their illness.*

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6:14  “King” Herod: Herod never attained the rank of king; he was only a tetrarch. In fact, when he attempted to get the title of king in 39 A.D., Caligula banished him. This was a well-known story in Rome. Since Mark wrote to the Romans, he knew he could call Herod king, and the Romans would get the message about the self-important and pompous ambitions of this man.

6:14   John the Baptizer: The word translated “Baptizer” is a participle, which is verbal in nature. Rather than making the word into the static noun “Baptist,” I have chosen, for variety’s sake, to maintain some connection to the verbal action. However, the word “Baptist” is also a quite acceptable translation of the Greek participle.

6:18   For John had been saying: The Greek verb form used has the idea of repeated or continuous action. John hadn’t said this only once. It was a repeat message he probably delivered every time he had the opportunity.

6:18   It is against the Law: Note that I capitalized Law. John was concerned with the Law of Moses, which Herod should have honored by following.

6:22   The king said to the teenage girl: The Greek word, used repeatedly throughout this section, is the same word Jesus used when he said, “Little girl, I say to you, rise up.” This is a very young teenager, at best, who is exciting Herod’s lusts. The same word is used twice in verse 28 (for emphasis I translate it once as teenager, and once as little girl), again to emphasize how young she was as she carried out her horrific role in this grisly drama.

6:37   Two hundred denarii: A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer or soldier. Since the average work year is three hundred days, the NIV’s translation of “eight month’s wages” is as good as any. However, I chose to retain the name of the Roman coinage for consistency as I translate.

6:39   Arranged for a banquet: The word used in this verse reflects getting into position to eat. In the next verse the word used to describe the order of the people doesn’t have anything to do with food, but rather describes the appearance of a neatly arranged garden bed.

6:48   Being painfully tested: The Greek word that I translate “painfully tested” often means torture. However, it can also refer to a strenuous test. The disciples were in the midst of a spiritual test. This helps explain why Jesus intended to pass by them. They were supposed to pass this test on their own, and only their terror over his presence changed his course.

6:56   Touch the hem of his garment: Obviously, the story of the woman healed of the flow of blood had spread far and wide.

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A Translation of Mark Chapter 4

RomansText1

“An exceptional storm developed, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the water began to swamp the boat. But Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat with his head upon a cushion. His disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, doesn’t it bother you that we are about to founder and die?'” (Mark 4:37-38)

When I first translated these verses, I laughed because I could see this scene in my imagination. I can easily imagine the growing frustration and fear of the disciples. They were experienced fishermen who had seen fishing comrades disappear in storms just like the one that was upon them. They had probably also been there to help with the grim task of recovering bodies that had washed ashore after such storms. Now they believed that they were going to that same watery grave as those many who had been lost before. In the midst of their frantic actions to save the boat, in the very final moments of their desperate fear, someone happened to glance toward the back of the boat and noticed that Jesus not only wasn’t helping them in their wild attempts to save the boat, but he was sleeping soundly through it all. Their question captures all of their frustration and fear perfectly: “Doesn’t it bother you that we are about to meet a watery grave?” You can imagine that the disciple that spoke these words was ready to shake Jesus out of sheer frustration at his perceived indifference to their plight.

“Doesn’t it bother you?” That is a very rude question, but it can certainly be understood in the midst of the stress they were experiencing. But I believe that is the point. They didn’t need to experience that stress. Jesus was in the boat.

There is another verse that makes me laugh in Mark 4. It is when the disciples see what Jesus did to the storm. The storm frightened them, but when they realized who they had in the boat, we are told this: “They were overwhelmed with fear, and said to each other, “Who can this man possibly be, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The storm outside the boat made them afraid, but Jesus in the boat terrified them. What to choose? As I think about that question, I think that it is still a good idea to keep him in my boat.

Mark 4:1-41
A Translation by Randal Cutter

4:1   At another time, Jesus again began to teach beside the sea, and a rather large crowd surrounded him. So he boarded a boat* and sat in it out on the sea, but the entire crowd stayed on the land next to the sea.

4:2   At that time he began to teach them many things in parables. He conveyed his teaching like this:

4:3   “Listen closely and consider this: A planter went out to plant seed.”

4:4   “But while he was broadcasting the seed,* some fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate the seed.”

4:5   “Then other seed fell upon an area of shallow soil over buried rocks.* As a result, the seed sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep enough.”

4:6   “When the sun rose, the heat dried the plant, but because its roots could not reach deep enough, it withered.”

4:7   “Yet other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew up and crowded out the seedling, and it produced no fruit.”

4:8   “Finally, other seeds fell into rich soil. While they were growing and increasing in size, they kept producing fruit. One yielded thirty times what was sown, one sixty times, and one a hundred times.”

4:9   At that time he began to use the expression, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

4:10   When he happened to be away from the crowds, those around him—including the twelve—were asking him about the parable.

4:11   He said to them, “The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those who are outside everything is given in parables.”

4:12   “In order that, ‘Seeing they might see and not perceive, and hearing they might hear and not understand, otherwise they might turn back and I might forgive them.’”

4:13   Then he said to them, “You do not understand this parable, do you? How then will you truly understand any parable?”

4:14   “The planter plants the word.”

4:15   “But this is what happens to those beside the road where the word is broadcast: whenever these people hear, Satan comes instantly and takes the word that was broadcast into them.”

4:16   “And this is what happens to the ones broadcast upon the rocky soil: whenever these people hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy,”

4:17   “but they have no root in themselves and are only temporary. Later, when trouble or persecution occurs because of the word, they promptly fall away.”

4:18   “This is what happens to the seed broadcast into the thorny plants: these people are the ones who have heard the word,”

4:19   “but the concerns of this age and the deceitful pleasures of wealth, as well as lusts for everything else, enter in and crowd out the word. As a result, it becomes unfruitful.”

4:20   “Finally, the last ones are the seeds broadcast upon the rich soil: These people are the ones who hear the word and receive it as true. As a result, they yield fruit, one thirty times what was sown, one sixty times, and one a hundred times.”

4:21   At that time he said to them, “You don’t bring a lamp into a room in order to place it under a small basket or under your couch, do you? Don’t you bring it in order to place it on a lamp stand?

4:22   “For the Kingdom is only hidden in order that it might be revealed; and it is only concealed in order that it might be plainly seen.”*

4:23   “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

4:24   Later he said to them, “Pay attention to what you are hearing. It will be measured out to you with the same standard of measurement you use; but even more will be added.”

4:25   “For the one who has, even more will be given to him. The one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

4:26   He also said, “The Kingdom of God is very much like a man who broadcasts seed upon the ground.”

4:27   “Then he may sleep at night, or rise up during the day, but the seed sprouts and grows though the farmer does not understand how.”

4:28   “The ground yields fruit without further help from the man: first the initial green stalk makes an appearance, then the head of the grain forms, then the mature kernels develop at the top.”

4:29   “When the grain has ripened, the man immediately wields his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

4:30   He also said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we illustrate it?”

4:31   “We shall compare it to a seed of a mustard plant. When it is planted in the ground, it is smaller than all the other agricultural seeds.”

4:32   “Yet when it is planted, it grows and becomes larger than all the other garden plants. It has such large branches that the birds of the sky are able to nest in its shadow.”

4:33   In the same way, he spoke the word to them with many such parables, not going beyond their ability to understand.*

4:34   He did not speak to them apart from parables; however, he explained everything privately with his own disciples.

4:35   Later on that day, when evening had come, he said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.”

4:36   Since Jesus was already in the boat, the disciples were able to take him across once they disengaged from the crowd. Other boats also came along with them.

4:37   Just then an exceptional windstorm developed, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the water began to swamp the boat.

4:38   As for Jesus, he was in the back of the boat with his head upon a cushion, sleeping. His disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, doesn’t it bother you that we are about to founder and die?”*

4:39   When he woke up, he rebuked the wind, “Be silent!” He also said to the sea, “Restrain yourself!” So the wind ceased, and an exceptional calm descended on the sea.

4:40   Then he asked them, “Why are you acting like cowards? Do you still not have faith?”

4:41   But they were overwhelmed with fear, and said to each other, “Who can this man possibly be, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

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4:1   Boarded a boat: This is probably the same boat that Jesus told the disciples to keep prepared in case he had this type of need (Mark 3:9).

4:4   Broadcasting the seed: I love the play on English words here. Broadcasting is a method of sowing seed, but obviously, it is also describes what we do with the word when we broadcast it far and wide.

4:5   Over buried rocks: Don’t picture ground with obvious stones in it. This was more about shelf rock below the surface which stopped the plants from driving their roots deeper, and allowed the shallow soil to heat up faster.

4:22   The Kingdom is hidden: The verse reads, “It is only hidden.” The third person singular pronoun points us to something. The entire context is about the Kingdom, and since these are parables about the secrets of the Kingdom (verse 11), it most naturally becomes the subject. When some translations attempt to make this into a generic statement about “nothing being hidden,” I believe they miss the point, especially since the purpose clause (see below) makes little sense if this is not about the Kingdom.

4:22   In order that it might be revealed . . . in order that it might be plainly seen: This is the mystery of the Kingdom, it often stays out of the spotlight, but manifests to those with eyes to see and ears to hear even while remaining hidden to the world.

4:33   Not going beyond their ability to understand: I phrased this in a negative fashion because I believe it is a bit easier to understand this way. However, a closer translation is, “Just as they were able to understand,” or “In keeping with their ability to understand.”

4:38   Founder and die: The word “founder” means to “fill with water and sink.” It is not a well-known English word beyond coastal communities, but fits this context perfectly.

4:40  Why are you acting like cowards: Translations normally soften this question, probably because the translators can’t imagine Jesus being so descriptive and blunt. The Greek word does mean cowardly. It was used to describe the overly fearful. The only other time it is used in the New Testament—apart from this story—is in Revelation 21:8. There it is translated “cowardly” by most of the translations that Evangelicals commonly use.

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Romans Chapter Eight

RomansText1Many of you know that, among the other things that I do, I also teach biblical Greek when needed at MorningStar University College of Theology. Since my normal focus for this blog doesn’t require a lot of Greek, I rarely reference it. But recently I was reminded of something that I often take for granted. I was at a pastors’ meeting, and was using a Bible program on my iPhone to check Greek and Hebrew references. Whenever the person who was speaking referenced a nuance of the original languages, I would check it. I usually check references to the original language because, on occasion, I will find that the person who is speaking has overstated the case for the meaning of a particular Greek or Hebrew word. Like a good Berean, I always have my iPhone at the ready.

What I didn’t realize while I was at the pastors’ meeting, is that the person to my right could clearly see me reading Greek and Hebrew scriptures from my iPhone as the speaker referenced them. At the conclusion of the message, that person told me what an amazing thing it was that I could work with the original languages. It was clear that the person saw it as a great blessing. I agree with that assessment, but rather than feeling a sense of pride, I am simply grateful that the Lord took me through an education system that had required me to learn the biblical languages. I do not suffer from any illusion that I would have sought those skills on my own.

As a result of the interaction at the pastors’ meeting, the Lord was able to remind me about Romans 8. He reminded me that he wanted me to use the skill set that he has given me to work on a translation of Romans 8 that is more accurate and meaningful than those that are available. That, actually, is not as difficult as it sounds. Most translations are done by a committee. Each committee member has theological prejudices and understandings that may actually close some areas of the Scripture to his or her understanding. Since it is a committee, there is no guarantee that the most appropriate or meaningful translation will be the one chosen.

The other problem translators have is the one of tradition. The King James Version has left its mark. Unless a new Bible is clearly labeled a paraphrase, it will not do well if it strays too far from the King James Version. Since so many of the newer translations have stayed fairly close to the King James Version’s choices in many areas, it has made it very difficult to break from the crowd with any sense of legitimacy.

Do not get me wrong, most modern translations are amazing tools for our growth in Christ, and the scholarship has advanced in profound ways from the days of Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, and those scholars who labored over the KJV. Our translations are special gifts from God, and the fact that we have so many good translations at our disposal is an incredible blessing. However, for the reasons mentioned above, every translation has strengths and weaknesses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: At this point, some of you may simply want to scroll down to the translation of Romans 8 below. I’m about to get into a bit of grammar. Some of you will find it very interesting. It may put some of you to sleep. You know who you are. Scroll down now if you need to do so.

For those who are still with me in this paragraph, I will give an example of how the King James Version often sets the direction a translation can or will take. In Romans 8:28, the KJV translates the Greek in this fashion: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This is a well known translation of the Greek, but it has theological difficulties in the English translation, and grammatical difficulties from the Greek. However, it is such a well known passage of Scripture, that newer versions are almost forced to stay somewhat close to it. I’ll give several examples from newer translations:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

The NIV breaks the furthest from the KJV by making God the subject of the sentence. Instead of the rather nebulous concept of “all things” somehow working themselves out for good, the NIV clearly shows that God is the one who works all thing for good. That is significantly different than the other translations, and I certainly agree with that choice of the NIV translators to make God the subject.

There is still a puzzling problem with the verb. The verb most naturally means to “work with someone,” not to “make things work together.” None of the translations above incorporate this rather awkward fact into their framework. However, the verb clearly indicates that God is working with someone. So if God works with someone, it would be nice to know who that someone is. Actually, there is only one option: those who love him. The Greek phrase translated “those who love God” is in the dative case. The verb “works with” almost requires that it be followed by the dative case. These two phrases are like magnets being drawn together. “God works with” must irresistibly attract “those who love him.” Thus, this becomes the most grammatically and theologically appropriate translation of the verse:

And we know that God works all things for good with those who love Him; with those who are called according to his purpose.

This is a very natural reading of the Greek language of Romans 8:28. I polish it a bit in my translation below, but in my view, it is the only reading that makes the most sense grammatically and theologically. I am certainly not the only Greek scholar who translates it this way, however, the versions have stayed away from it (although the NIV did place this option in a footnote). My suspicion is that they stay away because it is too radical of a departure from the tradition.

Please note that the theological implications of this sentence are staggering, and far different than the traditional understanding. In our normal understanding of this verse, God is working behind the scenes so that all of the things that happen to us, whether good or bad, work out for our good. What it actually states is that God is working with us, and we are actively engaged in working with God so that all things result in good. In the traditional translations, we are recipients of the actions of God. As corrected, we are participants in making all things result in good. In the corrected translation we become agents of God working to bring positive change in a world where negative things happen. All things are most certainly not good, but we actively partner with God to release as much good as we can into even the most awful situations.

I trust that the translation of Romans 8:28 whets your appetite so that you are eager to read the entire chapter of Romans. Translations by one translator certainly can also have their issues. However, one translator works without a committee, and thus can make choices that more clearly indicate what he believes is Paul’s intent. You will be able to see if I have achieved that objective.

I present my translation of Romans 8 here to fulfill an assignment that the Lord gave me, and to provide a clear and workable translation of the chapter:

Romans 8:1-39

  1. Now then, there is no sentence of death for anyone who is in Christ Jesus.
  2. For the power of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you free from the power of sin and death.
  3. For what the power of law was unable to do, in that it was weak on account of the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and He punished sin in the flesh of his Son for the sake of those who sinned.
  4. He did this in order that the legal requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who are not walking according to flesh, but according to spirit.
  5. For those who live only in flesh think of fleshly things, but those who live according to spirit think of spiritual things.
  6. For the thoughts of the flesh release death in all of its manifestations, but the thoughts of the spirit release unmistakable life and peace.
  7. For the thoughts of the flesh are hostile to God because the flesh is not submitted to the principles of God; it is unable to do so.
  8. And those who are living according to their flesh are not able to please God.
  9. But you Romans are not living according to flesh, on the contrary, you are living according to spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in your midst. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
  10. But if Christ is in your midst, the body has death working in it on account of sin, but the spirit has life working in it on account of righteousness.
  11. And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead lives in your midst, the One who raised Christ from the dead will also release life to your physical bodies through His Spirit dwelling in your midst.
  12. Now therefore, brothers, we are in debt, not to the flesh to live according to fleshly principles,
  13. for if you live according to fleshly principles, you will most certainly die a premature death. But if instead you put to death the fleshly deeds of the body with the Spirit, you not only will not die prematurely, you will have life in you,
  14. because as many as are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
  15. For you did not receive a spirit that is in bondage to the fear of death, but you received a spirit of divine adoption by which we cry, “Abba Father!”
  16. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
  17. Now if we are children of God, then we are also heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together with Him in order that also we might share in glory together with Him.
  18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.
  19. For the creation is filled with confident expectation as it eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God.
  20. For the creation has been subjected to futility, not willingly, but because the One who subjected it to futility has absolute confidence
  21. that the creation will be released from slavery to decay, and will be brought into the freedom and the splendor of the children of God.
  22. For we know that the whole creation together groans and suffers even until the present time.
  23. But creation isn’t the only one, we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan in ourselves awaiting divine adoption, the freeing of the entire body of believers.
  24. For this hope we have been rescued, but it is no longer hope when you can see it. For who hopes for what he sees?
  25. But if we hope for what we do not see, we are patiently waiting.
  26. And likewise also the Spirit helps with our weakness. For we do not fully understand the absolute necessity of prayer, but the Spirit himself appeals on our behalf with inexpressible groans.
  27. And the One who examines hearts knows what the thoughts of the Spirit mean, because it is by the will of God that the Spirit approaches the throne on behalf of the saints.
  28. And we know that God works with those who love Him so that all things result in good; He works with those who are called according to His purpose.
  29. Because those He foreknew, He also set on a path to conform to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
  30. And those He set on that path, He also called. And those He called, He also pronounced righteous. And those He pronounced righteous, He has also given honor.
  31. Therefore, what shall we say to these things? If God is our champion, who can oppose us?
  32. Indeed, He did not spare his own Son, but delivered Him up on behalf of us all. Since that is true, how will He not also, working with His Son, freely give all things to us?
  33. Who would dare bring an accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the one who has declared them righteous!
  34. Who would dare bring a guilty verdict? Christ Jesus, the One who died, and more than that, was raised to life, He is also on the right hand of God and He is always pleading before the throne on our behalf.
  35. Who can divorce us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, dire straits, harassment, famine, nakedness, peril or threat of sword be able to do it?
  36. Just as it is written: “For your sake we are put to death the entire day; we are counted as sheep for slaughter.”
  37. But in all these things we are completely and overwhelmingly victorious through the One who loved us.
  38. For I am fully persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither current events nor future events, neither earthly powers,
  39. nor powers in the heavens above or in the depths below, and nothing else in all of creation is able to divorce us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

I trust that you are edified and encouraged. If you have any questions about the translation, I am more than willing to discuss the nuances of the translation with anyone who desires. I know that one question many readers might have is, “Why, in verse 9, do you translate Paul’s words as ‘You Romans,’ when the Greek word for Romans is nowhere to be found?” Ahh, that is a great question. I am glad you asked. The answer is that Paul used the plural form of “you” in several places in that section. It is obvious at those points that he was not addressing a hypothetical person (using “you” in the singular), he was addressing a group of people to whom he was writing. That group of people was the Romans. Whenever the “you” is plural, I have attempted to show that he was addressing the Roman congregation as a whole, rather than only the individual.

I trust you will be blessed by this translation. If you share it with others, you might want to link back to this blog so that they can see the reason for some of my choices, and ask questions if they are so inclined.
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Image credit: Randal Cutter/iPhone 6s (Berean Version)/Photoshop Oil Paint Filter