June 01, 2016

It’s Hard

During a DVD video lesson the seasoned pastor took a passage of Scripture from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Before reading Ephesian 2:1 he apologetically prefaced the verse with, “The NASB is very literal. It’s hard to understand.” He explained that paraphrased versions, such as the Living Bible and the Message, are easier to understand. All too often I hear pastors and teachers say that elements associated with being a Christian are hard — a hard teaching, hard to obey, hard to understand, hard to accomplish, hard to walk the walk, etc. Jesus disagrees, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:29-30 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----Why would a paraphrased version of the Bible be easy? What does the word “hard” mean? What is meaning? Understanding the Bible would be easier if it just straight forwardly listed its basic points, defined and described them, then used them in making all its subtler points. But it does not do this. Its points must be extracted from endless stories, poetry, exhortations, admonishments, prophecies, and legal codes. Consequently, what number can we assign to all the different groups and sub-groups of interpretations and meanings built from both the use and abuse of this Book? A paraphrase version is easy because it is the result of other people’s laborious digestion of the Biblical text. It is harder because the Bible’s actual expressions are blurred by it. But the actual text of the Bible is harder because you must seek, recognize, sort, and match all of its concepts yourself. But this does not mean you get to assign whatever meaning you desire to its concepts, although that is precisely the deceit taught to us today. The Bible assigns meaning; we receive meaning. That’s quite the opposite of what is often preached. But you still must seek that meaning yourself; you can not slurp it up out of someone else’s head. And the only way we can receive the meaning the Bible assigns is by careful investigation. Although that takes hard work, the real meaning it produces dissolves the difficulties of life into the refreshing waters welling up from the humble heart. The Holy Spirit weaves its courses into understanding and wisdom. Mortal fear and grief melt in the face of joy from eternal hope. And the hard struggle understanding a faithful translation eases the burden to which the Lord has yoked us.

Love you all,
Steve Corey