Friday, October 25, 2013
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (Romans 1:17-23 KJV)
That's a very long selection, and I thank you for continuing to read. It is one that I've found not to be easily understood. I read a portion of it in another devotional and wanted to be certain I understood in context the excerpt used by the author, who used a different translation:
God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.” But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. (Romans 1:17-23 The Message)
Now, The Message (written by Eugene H. Peterson from 1993-2002) is the author's idiomatic use of words as figurative meaning, not the literal meaning as other translations, which is how:
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
... becomes ...
They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
Frankly, I can see the picture in The Message's idiom of a tourist trap - but it doesn't really carry for me Paul’s view of a first century shop selling household idols to be worshipped in homes. To me, the idiom trivializes how strongly those first century citizens felt spiritually. And, how strongly we need to be spiritually.
The differences make me think of “Darmok” where understanding idioms was a necessity. The more I study the Bible, the more I realize it must be studied, preferably in prayer, that we may understand the invisible things of him from the creation of the world. Just as true is the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is!