Lets state the obvious.... there are about as many translations of the bible as there are people on the earth. So we must always be diligent in making sure that the translator stays true to the original text. Of course very few of us are able to read Hebrew or Greek which makes it even more important to stay true to the heart of Jesus. Times change, but the word of God like God himself stays constant amidst all the changes. No matter the changes in our dialect or culture God's word will remain true throughout eternity, because wisdom is wisdom. No matter the language it takes on to describe it.
That being said I will often use different translations, but at the heart of it is the obvious. God's word is living and sharper than any two edged sword, able to separate bone from marrow. Just in case you don't understand that let me put it simply..... It's sharp!! The word of God will ignite passion in you and it will convict you. It will hurt at times, but like anyone who has had surgery knows a sharp blade is able to heal as well. No one, no matter holy or righteous escapes its discerning nature. It is the only book written that is able to take any person no matter their class or profession and make something new of them. It doesn't care who you are or what you've done it will change you. So the standard I look to when discerning a translation is its ability to transform. If its telling me what I want to hear I typically take that as my cue to look elsewhere.
Call it poetic license, but there are times when I will use a different translation simply because of the flow of the words. The way it falls off the tongue or the way it uses a word that we might better understand its meaning. This is one those cases.....
"with whom there is no fickleness or shadow of turning."
These are words we understand. We understand the fickle nature of people, of nature, of ourselves. We understand the idea that basically we change our minds at a moments notice. We understand the conditional ways in which love. We can give freely of our love and loyalty only to be caught off guard by a word or deed and then withdraw both as quickly as we gave it. We understand, metaphorically and physically, the shadow that forms from someone that has turned away from us. The darkness that is cast on our lives.
Basically we, through this verse and so many others, are being told that God is not like us. God doesn't change his mind. If he decided, through his son, to offer us forgiveness and redemption well then that offer still stands. He doesn't make mistakes when choosing the best gifts for us. He doesn't give you the horrible Christmas sweater like grandma did. When he chose to give Jesus it was the perfect fit for everyone. There was no need for anything else. This was a one size fits all type of gift. Of course that doesn't make sense to us because were not a one size fits all type of people. We cant imagine a gift that would satisfy everyone completely. We cant imagine a gift that doesn't need to be exchanged although we try to do it all the time, because we are fickle.
You see Jesus was the good and perfect gift that came down from the Father of lights. He was the one thing that could satisfy all of us if we would let him. That doesn't mean he will be all things to all people.We can not translate Jesus. He wasn't made to fit us and all our crapt. We were made to fit him and sometimes that means we have to lose something of ourselves that was never meant to be there to begin with. We have to accept the gift before we can wear it and not the other way around. Heck lots of people try to wear it without ever accepting it. We wear a cross. We wear a verse that says what we need to hear. We wear a life (our faith) that seems to fit our needs, but we never accept "His" life and what that means for our life.
This is one of those instances where there is no need for taking poetic license. Jesus is enough. He is the word of truth by which we were given birth from sin. His life is the gospel by which we live. His sacrifice gave new meaning to the law which came before him. He is the word of God that is able to ignite passion in you, convict you, and heal you. He is what gives life to the scriptures and to us .
Take it deeper.....
- Read all of James 1.
- How has God's gift of Jesus changed you and in what ways have you not allowed it to?