I was recently chatting with Maria Frey about our buddy Eugene. We were specifically talking about Eugene’s good pastoral work in leading us to personally wrestle with God’s Word by forcing ourselves to paraphrase what God has told us (putting it into our own words) not in order to change what God said to accommodate our own whims and preferences, but in order to personally and deeply grapple with WHAT GOD ACTUALLY SAYS! There is far far to much “automated amening” when we somnolently read the traditional translations of Scripture (we irreverently, lethargically, say “amen” to so many statements of Jesus – when it is actually His aim is to shock, startle, and offend us!). The main agenda of Eugene’s message is to invite all of us to EAT THE BIBLE, and truly taste it; and realize for ourselves (in the most intimate and personal kind of way) that it is more bitter and sour than we ever knew, and it is more sweet, savory, and merciful than we will ever fully fathom!

“Language is not primarily informational but revelatory. The Holy Scriptures give witness to a living voice sounding variously as Father, Son and Spirit, addressing us personally and involving us personally as participants. This text is not words to be studies in the quiet preserves of a library, but a voice to be believed and loved and adored in workplace and playground, on the streets and in the kitchen. Receptivity is required.”

― Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

I track with the “translation vs paraphrase” point. It makes sense that we should be paraphrasing for ourselves. We would describe a delicious meal to a friend differently than the chef might, but that doesn’t make it less true. In fact, it may make it more inviting to them to go taste and see for themselves.

– Maria Frey