I have to say, the ESV does read smoothly in places, and where it seems different, I find myself wanting to delve into the Greek to see where differences might lie. For example, in reading Matthew 26, I found something that I’ve never noticed. The odd thing was, in researching, I discovered that I’ve read it the same way in the NAS for years– I just didn’t notice. I’m going to type it out because it has a similar effect in my mind that reading aloud or even handwriting does; it solidifies the words in my mind.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my father’s kingdom.”
What is so different about this passage? I mean, truly, haven’t most Christians read it or heard it read so often that it’s etched into the fabric of their faith? Well, see, I went to schools that used PACEs, and the publisher designed those “Packets of Accelerated Christian Education” to be used with the King James version of the Bible, so that is what I’m most familiar with. So, when I read, “Drink of it, all of you…” my mind stopped. You see, I’m accustomed to changing out the “ye” of the KJV automatically in my mind. Whenever I read this passage, I seem to read what my mind has already memorized. “Drink you all of it.” Since there isn’t a comma after the you/ye, I’ve always read that passage to say, “Drink the whole thing– take the whole cup and drink!” However, when read in nearly every other version, and if you put a comma after you/ye in KJV, it’s saying something completely different than how I’ve always seen it. It’s saying, “all of you, take a drink.” WOW. It’s not a huge life-changing thing. My world isn’t crashing down because I’ve been so wrong about something for so long. Frankly, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. However, it is fascinating.
How often do we do that with other scriptures? How often do we read things with an eye to what is familiar or of a pre-conceived thought process rather than with an eye to letting the Word speak for itself. I mean, let’s face it. It’s very easy to become so familiar with something as beloved and read as the Bible, that we fill in the blanks.
I bought this Bible at the beginning of January, 2010. My goal was to read several chapters a day and fly through it several times in the year. I didn’t. I have become so accustomed to using Internet sites like Biblegateway.com and bible.cc as my Bible, that I’ve gotten out of the habit of using a book in my hand. I think this is proof that I really need to use this Bible more. It’s going on my list of 101 things to do. By the end of the 1001 days, I intend to have made using a hard copy Bible a habit in my life again.
So, what did I learn from this reading? I learned how precious the Lord’s Supper really is to me. As I read the short account of the first supper, I found myself imagining what it would have been like to sit there with Him as He passed them the wine and the bread. I could see the love in His eyes as He instituted something so beloved to people all over the world. Can you wonder, when you consider the beauty of that night, that Peter was so adamant that he couldn’t deny his Lord? When you sit in close communion with the Lord during the Supper, doesn’t it always feel as though you could never fail as a Christian again? During those times, when my heart is so focused on the Lord and the beauty of His sacrifice for me, I never feel more unworthy and more confident in my faith. It’s a strange dichotomy, isn’t it? And yet, it is true. I do find it so very difficult to remember that I’ve failed all week, and without that blood covering my sins, I’d be truly wretched. Frankly, I always feel bold, confident, grateful. It seems as though, with the fruit of the vine pouring down my throat and the bread dissolving in my mouth, I could never betray my Lord in any way again. I feel as if I’ve been granted access to Jesus in a way that I often can’t imagine during the rest of the week. The beauty is, that is one of the rare times that feelings are wonderfully true. I am, thanks to the blood that that wine symbolizes, free to come boldly before the Throne. Because of that body that died for me, I can be confident that I am free from sin and death!
I’ve heard, so many times, how the Lord’s Supper is just a rote thing that people do so much that it’s lost its meaning. I cannot disagree more. I have a great need for that “feast.” It helps me keep my eyes fixed firmly on the Lord rather than my fallen self. I’m Saved! Saved by the blood of the Crucified One! Glory!
Soapbox over. Have a blessed Lord’s Day.