You may or may not remember but the first summer after I arrived here, I decided to try using the more contemporary version of the Lord’s Prayer. It didn’t go well. I had several people comment that they didn’t like it. One person said, “The Lord’s prayer should be said in its original language!”, meaning the King James Version we currently use each Sunday. Truth be told, if we said it in its original language, it would be Aramaic which was the language Jesus and the disciple spoke. Or even Greek, which was the language the New Testament was written in. Although there were a few earlier attempts at translating the Bible into English, the King James Version is the most notable. When translating from the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) it is important to convey not just the meaning of the words, but to put them in common language. The KJV was commission in 1610 to be the “official” version of the bible for the Church of England. It was indeed in the common language of thy, thee, thou etc. because that’s how people spoke in the 17th century. With each newer translation of the bible in English the Lord’s prayer has been a work in progress as it conforms to the common language.
About 25 years ago a man named Eugene Peterson translated the bible into The Message. In my humble opinion, it is very good and in the common language. Here’s how he translated the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Put’s that prayer in a whole new light, doesn’t it?! So, does that mean we need to throw out the KJV of the Lord’s Prayer? Of course not! It’s the one we’ve had memorized since we were children. It brings comfort and familiarity. But, if you’re like me, the words just kind of fall out and sometimes I’m not even listening to what I’m saying. It becomes rote. Sometimes we need to get a fresh view of things to really notice them. So, we’re going to try this again. Beginning next Sunday, August 22nd, we will be using the New Revised Standard Version of the Lord’s Prayer for 6 weeks.
During that time, take note of the similarities and differences. I pray we will be surprised by new insights into the prayer Jesus taught us.
See you Sunday!