13 January 2007

I remember when I used to think that paraphrasing the Bible was akin to playing Chopin on a kazoo. But I'm over that way of thinking now and often find myself drawn to the intimate joy of putting God's Word into my words. I think God's ego can handle it. Just one more indication of how much God's love can tolerate, or even instigate.

So here's what I've done with my beloved PSALM 1. I wrote out David's six verses from six translations and one paraphrase (New American Standard, New Century Version, Today's New International Version, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, Revised English Bible, and The Message). Then I spread them all out on a table in front of me and read them through numerous times and then started writing out my own paraphrase. And here's where the bottle stopped spinning ...


(a paraphrase)

1. Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who don't follow the example of compulsive sinners, and who don't hitch their hearts and minds to those who have no use for God.

2. With a passion to know God intimately, and follow God closely, these folks love the Lord's teachings, and they make the choice to think about those teachings during the day, and during the night.

3. People who choose to live out their life and their faith this way are like a tree that is planted near a fresh-water stream … always bearing fruit at the right time, never dropping a leaf, and always in blossom. Everything these people who are yoked to God do, turns out well.

4. But wicked folks, that is men and women with no time for God or for God's ways … well, their lives are a whole 'nother story. They're more like straw that the wind blows around, than they are like sturdy, planted, fruit-bearing trees.

5. Sad to say, but in the end, these wicked folks will be condemned by God and kept apart from everyone who's been chosen by God … and apart from everyone who has chosen God.

6. The Lord watches over the comings and goings of those who choose to live righteous lives. But in the end, people who make the choice to live rebellious, God-separated lives, have chosen death, not life.

Good night friends. Whoever and wherever you are. Godspeed.




Wayne Leman said...

Greg, I chanced upon your post from a RSS feed which looks for some key words. I am impressed with what God did through you, but more importantly, to you, through your paraphrasing interaction with the text of Psalm 1. I have just blogged about it.

Gregg Lamm said...


Thanks for your kind words. God makes all this possible. Tell us a bit more about your work with Wycliffe and your calling to Bible translation? Godspeed.



Henry Neufeld said...

I found your blog through Wayne Leman's link, and I really like your method. I linked to it from by Participatory Bible Study blog.

Wayne Leman said...

Hello again, Greg.

My wife and I became members of Wycliffe in 1973. In the fall of 1975 we were called by elders of the church on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation to help them translate the Bible. We have done that ever since. On Jan. 28 there will be a dedication of the translation.

I'm thinking you may know one of our sons-in-law, Nick Petersen. He graduated from GFU about 5 years ago. He went with a group of student from GFU to Oakland to visit the Mission Year program there. The first night he heard our youngest daughter giving a spiritual report. Well, they are now married, parents of a lovely one year old daughter. Nick has gotten his M.A. in Biblical Languages at Hebrew Union College and is continuing on for his Ph.D in the same field.

I'm really glad I found your blog today. It's special to interact with people who have been involved with the Bible for many years and yet are finding new ways of interacting with its text so that it is better internalized for our spiritual benefit. I am passionate about people being able to understand the Bible well in English (or any other language) and to be able to apply its principles in a way that results in life changes.