By Kenneth O. Peterman
On Christmas day during a short after-dinner devotional I simply asked the family to give me their opinion about a portion of Scripture. I never thought it would turn into a rousing discussion with strong interaction.
I used for my text the simple and familiar verse of John 1:14 that states, And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us . . . mentioning that the Word was obviously Jesus who was made flesh. I touched on the subject that His incarnation at the stable in Bethlehem was not the first time He appeared on earth and gave a couple of the appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament. So far, so good. then I said, “now I would like your opinion of the rendering by one author of the next phrase . . . and dwelt among us. He worded the text like this . . . And the Word was made flesh and moved into our neighborhood!* What do you think of the phrase, . . . and moved into our neighborhood?”
I could see by their faces they had strong and differing opinions. Some felt the phrase was condescending for the Lord; others felt that it seems to reflect the exact condescension that Jesus took upon Himself when He came as a babe at Bethlehem; others felt it was justified because it seemed to represent a paraphrase (a rewording of the English) and not a translation of the original text.
I won’t tell you how our discussion concluded because I want you to think about it.
* I am not sure of the source of this phrase, but I think it is Eugene Peterson’s book, The Message.