I read the English Standard Version of the Bible. Virtually every time I quote Scripture on this blog, it will be from the ESV. But sometimes as I read and study, I’m reminded of other Bible translations.
You might know how it is. You might come across a verse and remember how you first heard it in another translation, or how you memorized it in that translation as a child in Sunday School. Words have meaning, and some words capture our imaginations better than others. And it’s hard to shake words and sentences from God’s Word that have gripped our hearts.
The King James Version of 1 Peter 2:9 reads like this: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
The first thing to say about this verse is how powerful it is. A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. We are a people who shout about the glory of God. He pulled us out of the darkness of our sins and certain death and ushered us into the light – a marvelous light.
Some of these ideas come from Exodus 19:3-6. We are part of the long lineage of God’s people that dates back to the Israelites, rescued from slavery in Egypt. Peter was very familiar with the Old Testament.
I guess the word here from the King James Version that captures me the most is the word “peculiar.” I’ve always thought that this was a very peculiar way to describe Christians and the church!
How peculiar do you feel? Like it or not, as a Christian, that’s what you are!
We’re peculiar because we belong to God. It makes us unique and special in the world. It makes us, in many ways, powerful. And I suppose to the world, it simply makes us a bit strange.
Everything here in Peter’s description of the church is about the distinctive quality of the church in the great sea of people on earth. We’re peculiar. We’re maybe a little bit eccentric – worshiping Jesus Christ, who died on a Roman cross. We gather every week and sing and bow our heads, and we eat bread and drink grape juice together!
Something about us, to the world, ought to seem just a little bit different.
The temptation, of course, is to blend in with the world – to look an awful lot like the world.
Maybe that’s the question for today: What peculiar things are you going to do today?