Friday, December 3, 2010

Working through Romans 6

Recently here in the Mibu ministry we've been trying to get things rolling again with the translation. It's been a task that is picking up steam a little slower than we had anticipated.

Prior to our return home for furlough, I had worked through chapters 6 and 7 of Romans, and had done a fair bit of study in chapter 8. I had considered 6 and 7 pretty much done; just a few more small checks left to do before being ready.

Upon our return here in Mibu, I set about performing those checks on 6 and 7, only to find out that there are a couple larger areas that just don't seem to be communicating what Paul intended there. I'm not convinced that it's a faithful rendition of the original.

So it's back to the drawing board with those sections. Back almost to the beginning. There's a lot of work left and it's a bit frustrating. But I'm also very thankful that this problem has been brought into the light and is going to get fixed.

The biggest problem is in 6.2-5 where it's talking about how the believer has been 'baptized' into Christ and is thus identified with his death and resurrection; new life. All this is given as an argument for why it just doesn't make sense for us to continue living in sin.

Right now as it stands the argumentation that Paul uses just doesn't come across. It's just a bunch of confusing data about death and former slavery to sin and freedom from sin, but the underlying connections just aren't there. So I'm setting about the difficult task of asking why the connections aren't there and then doing what is necessary to fix them.

I believe that part of the problem has to do with the foreignness of talking about ourselves as if we're dead to something else. But also complicating matters may be insufficient terminology about our 'old self' and 'body of sin' and being 'united with him'. It's a lot of abstract concepts all coming together here to create in the reader's mind an understanding of the new reality that is given through God's grace. It's so important to get this right. So it's worth the time to hit it as many times as is needed to get it right; to make it truly mean what God intends to say through Paul here. Only then will this passage have the power that God's words are said to have. Only then will we see these words actually take the authoritative place in their hearts that changes people's lives and bends their desires and their hearts more toward their creator. And in this case, helps them see the power that is given them over sin!

Please be in prayer with us as we seek his wisdom and understanding with this hard biblical text and others like it.

Geoff, for the Husa clan

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