reflections of mine others might find useful

Review of Romans 9:1-10:13 (Sat)

Not sure what these daily Reflections are about? Go to: Join Me For Breakfast.
Also, check out Pastor Bob’s blog.

The Message‘s rendering of today’s text.

We’ve been strolling along at ground level all week, so today I’m going to take the elevator to the top floor of a sky scraper and look back at our passages from 1000 feet. To do so, I’ll be reading from The Message, which is what we call “a paraphrase,” meaning the way it was translated is from thought to thought, rather than word for word. Paraphrases aren’t useful when we want to know what God actually wrote, but they can help give us new insight as the thoughts are presented using modern, creative language and metaphors.

I’ll read it now and then add a few reflections. [dramatic pause]

To be honest, I struggled in reading this today. I think that through this discipline of studying the text in such detail (including analyzing shades of meaning in the Greek) I’ve come to value the actual words of God so much more than I used to. Reading The Message I wondered at times if I was reading the right passage at all! So much is glossed over and lost. For example in The Message God tells Pharoah “I have made you a bit player in this drama of salvation power.” That changes the point completely from that of God “hardening Pharoah’s heart.”

Yet there were some good points too: I like his wording in 9:30ish– “They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them.” That’s something I can relate to as a pastor for sure!

However, I found the metaphor that Eugene Peterson (the author of The Message) uses for the idea of being zealous for God to be distracting to me. He says, somewhere around 10:2:

“They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares.”

But yet, I liked the summary in 10:12ish, “It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” That’s very understandable and clear.

So those are my reflections today. Overall, I’m finding The Message more distracting than illuminating–perhaps because I’ve invested so much these past weeks in digging for God’s message. That made this version seem sloppy to me.

Some of you have been strolling with me on ground level through this series–I’d be curious what you think of all this. Am I being too nit-picky?

Those are my thoughts for today. If you have time, share yours as well!

Off to read my “Seek The City” Prayer guide now!


  1. I wouldn’t call it “nit-picky” when all you want to do is understand God’s word better. Thx for sharing your thought old friend.

  2. I agree with the earlier comment except you are a young friend!

  3. haha! I guess whether I’m a young friend or an old friend is relative! I’m just glad to be a friend!

  4. Today at the women’s retreat, Cindy Howard read from the Phillips translation of the Bible at one point. If you are not familiar with it, it was translated by J.B. Phillips in 1958. He updated it after that time,but he was the only translator. I found that it can be read online at You might like it better than The Message.

  5. Strolling…that’s really funny, Mark. I would say you/we have been excavating. Digging in Romans. We are grateful for your labor that sheds light on these verses. Does anyone read Dr. Constable’s notes? His notes
    on Romans 10:9 pp. 114-115 have had me “stuck” for a little bit. I read his notes and I read 1 Cor. 15 and left a little unsure about his comments.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks–Diane T.

  6. Should have added in my above note that my questions are on p.115 of his notes “Jesus’ resurrection was not part of His saving work” and the rest
    of the paragraph. In light of 1 Cor. 15 it seems somewhat incongruous.
    Diane T.

  7. Yea, I guess you’re right, Diane. Excavating is the better word! Haha.

    I read Dr. Constable’s notes on that passage too and it wasn’t clicking with me there either. Usually his thoughts illuminate the passage, but here it seemed to muddy it.

    He seemed to make imply that confession was a “work” that the early church practiced–on a parallel with baptism. That didn’t seem to coincide with Bob’s message on Sunday.

    And then his thoughts on the technical unimportance of a belief in the resurrection for salvation seemed a little off-base to me too. Maybe others can weigh in.

  8. The saving work of Christ involves His death on the cross. In order for a person to be rescued from the death penalty of sin, someone without sin needs to die in that person’s place. This is the work that needs to be done. This is the work that Jesus did on the cross. The resurrection of Christ verifies or proves that He is truly God and His death on the cross did pay the penalty of the sins for the whole world. Romans 1:4 states that Jesus, “was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:4 NET) 1 Corinthians 15:17 declares, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17 NET)

    Romans 4:25 puts both Christ’s death and His resurrection together, “He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.” (Romans 4:25 NET)

    The Bible Knowledge Commentary states on Romans 4:25, “Christ’s death as God’s sacrificial Lamb (cf. John 1:29) was to pay the redemptive price for the sins of all people (Rom. 3:24) so that God might be free to forgive those who respond by faith to that provision. Christ’s resurrection was the proof (or demonstration and vindication) of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice (cf. 1:4). Thus because He lives, God can credit His provided righteousness to the account of every person who responds by faith to that offer.” (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:455). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

    I hope this helps!

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