21 February 2008

Thoughts from Ephesians

I spent some time reading Ephesians in my French Bible several weeks ago and was greatly blessed by a couple of interesting translations.

In the first chapter, Paul repeats a phrase, with a minor variation, three times. In English: 'to the praise of his glorious grace' (v. 6) and 'to the praise of his glory' (vs. 12 and 14). That's a great sentiment, but I never really understood what it actually meant. A literal translation of the French cleared things up: 'in order to celebrate the glory of his grace' (v. 6); 'to celebrate his glory' (v. 12 and 14). Now, I get it!

3:8, from the ESV:

…to me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

The phrase, 'unsearachable riches of Christ', reads in French, 'richesse insondable du Christ'.

The word insondable translates to English as 'unsoundable'. The depths of Christ's riches are so great that no one can sound them, or determine how deep they actually go, where they end. I love the picture this painted in my mind of a small dinghy, bobbing on the waves with no land in sight, its anchor drifting through the vastness of the ocean. This is a small, yet clear picture of the vastness of the grace found in Christ by those who believe in him.

5:19, from the ESV:

…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

The French translates literally as:

…address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and celebrate the Lord with all your heart.

The French here is so much more exuberant than the English. I just love it.


1 comment:

  1. The was very encouraging. I remember 25 yrs ago when I was trying to learn Russian and someone kindly gave me a Russian Bible. I remember some of those translations I was able to eek out were very lovely and inspiring.