I am several months into working through "The Message," Eugene Peterson's contemporary English translation of the Bible, in my morning devotional times. It hasn't been as good as the last time I did this six or seven years ago. The more modern tone of the chapters just hasn't grabbed me, and I've found myself looking over at a more traditional translation to get a sense of what I've just read. In Peterson's version, the drama and the wonder of the gospels, and the force and desperation of Paul's letters, are lost a little because of the more casual tone. Even though I know the Bible was originally written in this breezier style, I'm having trouble deriving substance out of my morning readings lately.
But the John letters have been different. John's fatherly concern yet forthright tone is captured nicely in Peterson's words. I find myself almost snuggling up to the chapters, warmed as they are with John's gentleness and firmness, and represented lovingly by Peterson. I'm not sure if this has more to do with where I am and what I need, but the shift in the mornings has been noticeable.
Within weeks, I'll be through the John letters, done with Jude and Revelation, and back to a more traditional version of the Bible. Six or seven years from now, when I do this all over again, I'll be interested to know whether it is the John letters, or something else, that grabs me.