Yes, I realize the earlier version of Peterson's work has been around for nearly two decades, and even the parallel study version I just purchased (NIV/Message) was issued in 2008. As I say, I am late to the party.
But when I finally did obtain it, I dived right in. And it is worth the dive, let me tell you.
This purchase represents, for me, another learning curve slightly different from the scripture of my childhood. In those days, it always "meanteth what it saideth" - and much like the famous Henry Fonda line from On Golden Pond, ("Ethel Thayer, it sounds like I have a lisp when I say your name.") those of us who memorized and recited exclusively from the King James Version often sounded like we had a lithp.
In my youth we were often warned of the perils of reading the "other versions" and we were steeped in the differences between a transcription, a literal word-for-word version taken directly from the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, versus a translation, a more loosely handled interpretation. My own mother was more than a little askance when I bought my first copy of Good News and The Living Bible. Nevertheless, the J.B. Phillips translation of the New Testament gave me insights that "doeth as I sayeth" never had.
So here I sit, delighted with my new study tool; pleased as a kid in a candy store.
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The Bible, the living word, Peterson tells us is the only book that reads us as we read it. Isn't that the truth? The living Word alone is a discerner of the "thoughts and intents of the heart."
This morning I read in Philippians (warning: I am wont to spell this epistle with two "ls" and one "p" - just ignore it if I slip up) and the introduction to it blessed me almost as much as the passage itself.
"...mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a 'master',picking up a subtle but absolutely essential awareness of things such as timing and rhythm and 'touch.' (The Message - Introduction to Philippians)
"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." (Philippians 1:6/ The Message)
May it ever be so.
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Note: Thank you to all of you who are praying for my son and my sister. We are in a "holding pattern" right now on both fronts. Will know more in a week or so and will keep you posted, as several of you have requested.
Until then, my friends, you are also in my thoughts and prayers. Until next time ... Marsha