of the Spirit, he cannot enter into thekingdom of God.'wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisiblemoving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom.Such 'homiletic' elements of the version are sprinkled here and there on a translation which is for themost part extremely colloquial. Long and formal-sounding sentences in the original are often simplyreplaced with punchy phrases: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" is replaced with a jovial "Enjoy the best of Jesus!" Many renderings can only be described as facetious: John 1:14 "TheWord became flesh, and dwelt among us" becomes "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved intothe neighborhood." The language is spiced up with slangy and amusing idioms: 2 Corinthians 4:17"These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times." In Acts 13:6 "crooked as acorkscrew" is used instead of the simple adjective "false."Often the version portrays things in a more colorful way than the original, and it sometimes takes on acartoonish quality. For example, in James 4:7 instead of "resist the Devil and he will flee from you" wehave "Yell a loud
to the Devil and watch him scamper." This is intended to make us chuckle. In Acts12:16 according to
the disciples were not only "amazed" when they saw Peter, they "wentwild," which suggests an amusing scene of commotion that is not indicated in the original text. (Atleast they didn't
) Many renderings inject the same kind of breezy slang that provokedAlexander Tytler to ask, "What must we think of the translator, who makes the solemn and sententiousTacitus express himself in the low cant of the streets, or in the dialect of the waiters of a tavern?"
A psychologizing tendency is evident in several places. In Luke 2:34-35 Simeon prophesies that Christwill be "spoken against" or opposed, and that by this opposition "the thoughts of many hearts will berevealed." Peterson analyzes these thoughts, and says that Christ will be a "misunderstood" figure,whose rejection will "force honesty" upon the opposers. Yet the Bible's own "psychology"—asreflected in its use of the word
(soul)—is muted in the version. For example, in Acts 14:22instead of "strengthening the souls of the disciples" Peterson gives a bodily metaphor: "putting muscleand sinew in the lives of the disciples." In John 12:27 he eliminates Jesus' reference to his own soul.Instead of "Now is my soul troubled" we read "Right now I am storm-tossed." In a similar manner heavoids using the word "spirit" (
), as in John 13:21, where the Greek says that Jesus was"troubled in his spirit (
)" but Peterson says "visibly upset." In Luke 23:46 he writes "Father, I place my life in your hands" instead of "into your hands I commit my spirit." When Stephen ismartyred in Acts 7:59 Peterson makes him cry "Master Jesus, take my life" instead of "Lord Jesus,receive my spirit." The avoidance of the words "soul" and "spirit" in the version appears to bedeliberate and systematic.
The same thing is done with the Hebrew word
"spirit" in the OldTestament. In Psalm 51:10 where it says "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit(
) within me" Peterson gives a very fanciful rendering—"God, make a fresh start in me, shape aGenesis week from the chaos of my life." Here Peterson plays with a concept suggested by the word
"create" in the verse (same word as in Genesis 1:1), and his rendering may be appreciated as aninteresting homiletic development, but it cannot be taken seriously as a translation of the Hebrew.Sometimes Peterson obscures the main point of a passage by distracting attention from it with ahomiletic flourish, as in Romans 9:27-28. Here the apostle Paul is dealing with the question of why theChurch has so few Jews in it, and so he quotes Isaiah's prophecy concerning the relatively small
that will remain after God has dealt with them in judgment.