1 Peter 1:3–5 (SBLGNT)
Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν διʼ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον, τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ.
What in the world is this, you ask? 🙂 It’s the New Testament in its original language, Koine Greek. It’s one of the things I’ve been learning in seminary the last year! I translated these verses below.
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his great mercy, caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, into an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled and unfading, being kept in heaven for us who, by the power of God, are being guarded through faith into a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Someone needed to teach the Apostle Peter about writing run-on sentences! One of the things I like about trying to read and translate from ancient Greek into modern English is that I find myself spending more time studying each sentence. How do the parts of the sentence fit together? How does this sentence fit with the sentences around it? How does this paragraph fit with the paragraphs around it? Suddenly, I find myself thinking very deeply about a single sentence of God’s Word!
Here’s a suggested experiment that may put a little spice in your own interaction with God’s Word. Often modern English translations have broken the books into chunks with headings at the beginning of each section. Read through a section (or two sections, if you think the heading is in the middle of a flow of thought). Write down what you think the “big idea” of the whole section is (hint: it’s probably closely related to the heading).
Now go back and pick one sentence (or maybe two – English sentences tend to be shorter than Greek ones and most English translations will break a long Greek sentence like the one above into 2-3 shorter English sentences). Focus on that one sentence. Memorize it. What is the idea behind the words (remember it has to fit in with the big idea of the whole section)? Can you break the sentence down into smaller pieces? How do those pieces fit together and interact with one another? What happens if you try to change the order of the words and still have it make sense? Can you rewrite the sentence in your own words?
Meditate on this sentence. What is God the Holy Spirit prompting you to think in response to this sentence? What is he prompting you to feel? What is he prompting you to do? Take a brief moment to say (or write, as I prefer) a short prayer to God about this sentence.
Here’s the prayer I wrote to God about the sentence above.
Blessed God, Father who adopted me as your son and gave me an inheritance with my Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me when I hold to a dead hope – which is anything other than you – and fill me with the living hope that comes from your Son. Reveal in me the salvation that comes through faith, and guard my heart so that I may ever live to bless your name.
The picture at the top of this post came from http://restlesspilgrim.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/greek-text.png