God’s Word for You
1 Peter 1:24-25 Translations
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 4, 2022
All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory is like a flower of the field.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.
And this is the word that was preached to you.
Peter is quoting Isaiah 40:6-8 almost word-for-for word from the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. This detail is important because it shows us that while Jesus and the Apostles were comfortable translating the Hebrew original of the Old Testament, they were equally comfortable falling back on a familiar translation such as the Septuagint. The Bible is the inspired word of God; translations themselves are not inspired. The content of the Word of God is the message for God’s people and for the world.
You and I might prefer a certain translation. Perhaps we’ve all encountered someone who holds the King James Version so dearly that they regard it as the only true Bible, and it was a fine translation in its time. Luther’s German, which is about seventy-five years older than the King James, was as important to and for the German language as the King James was for English. In our generation, most of us are frustrated by the sale of the NIV from Zondervan to Biblica which led to the production of the inferior but still usable NIV-2011. There are voices within our fellowship that strongly support the ESV (English Standard Version), the CSB (Christian Standard Bible), and the EHV (Evangelical Heritage Version), all good translations in English.
Professor Koehler said it well eighty years ago:
“Copies and translations of the Scriptures are not inspired. Strictly speaking, only the original manuscripts were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The original documents are no longer in existence. We possess copies only, in fact only copies of the long series of prior copies. Nevertheless, a correct copy or version of the original text is as truly the Word of God as the original text. A sermon or treatise explaining a Bible truth is not inspired; but inasmuch as it really presents the Bible truth, it is truly the Word of God. An error by the copyist, the translator, or the commentator is not invested with divine authority.” (A Summary of Christian Doctrine p. 10).
While the original languages are important and we should notice the importance of grammar, phrasing, syntax, form, and such things, we can also rely on translations for the Word of God. In this case, the translation from Isaiah shows us that the word of the Lord that was preached to us is the word that gave us rebirth, conversion, new life, and quickening.
“All flesh is like grass,” which is to say, human flesh is perishable, no matter how glorious it may be. It was not so in the beginning. Adam and Eve were not created to be mortal; death came to them as a result of sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).
“All its glory is like a flower of the field.” Beautiful, powerful, influential, brilliant, faithful, seemingly irreplaceable: None of these things can spare us from the grave. The thief, the murderer, the foul-mouthed boor, and the whore all meet the same end as the dear mother, the great leader of the church, the schoolteacher, and the sickly infant. The grass withers and the flower falls. Everything will come to an end. Even Bible translations. But God’s word endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.
Pastor Timothy Smith