Free to Paraphrase Himself

Have I mentioned that my husband is brilliant? I respect and admire him in so many ways. His latest thought I have to share, although I daresay entire dissertations could be written about this thesis and its consequences: The Holy Spirit is free to paraphrase Himself as He sees fit.

Think about it. It’s still sinking in for me.

It blows my mind a little bit to think about God’s Word—you know, which is the Spirit’s Word, too—”paraphrased.” My instinct screams, “Warning! Warning!  Too much human intervention!” Except, if it’s the Holy Spirit, the Author Himself, it takes on an entirely new perspective.

I don’t know about you, but I have very informal connotations with the term paraphrase. In practice, though, we all do it. We sum up. Clarify. Reword. Dance back to the point, make a poetic point, and restate.

Professors paraphrase all the time! And, don’t pastors, too?

Sure enough, the apostolic word paraphrases parts of the Old Testament, sometimes slicing gems together to get God’s point across. Even referring to “the prophets” demonstrates a certain . . . flexibility and yet not about the authority behind the text, right?

It makes so much sense to me now. What previously could have been an atheists’, “See?! Scripture isn’t always accurate!” is really an affirmation that the Holy Spirit works His Word. Whether in quotations or not. Yet He does it His way, according to His Wisdom, His Will, His Providence, etc.

Does that mean we should paraphrase everything and do away with God’s Word? NEVER! Never, never, never. I retain the right to feel absolutely uncomfortable with the many phrased-down paraphrases of Scripture! But the Holy Spirit can do it. Fair enough.

Relating this to another common practice: the Holy Spirit is free to paraphrase Himself also in sermons! Right?!?!

Now, I haven’t researched the Spoken Word, but I daresay there is such a capitalized expression that may very well pertain to entire areas of study and pastoral care. Maybe you know better what I’m talking about. This thesis must be a big part of it, right?!

Wow. Of course the Spirit is free. Of course the Spirit is well-versed using words/human speech/etc. It’s still striking me in a big way that, like any earthly writer, teacher, et. al., God can paraphrase Himself.

Does that make a bad paraphrase the Spirit’s fault? Nope.

Right now I just want to focus on the concepts that God would be the first paraphraser, the first “through-phraser,” the first “in other word-er,” the first modifier of speech, the first to modify by speech—whether the speech is modified or otherwise. 🙂

Mind blown.

Any thoughts to share on it? Lol, am I over-enjoying this? 🙂

A blessed weekend to you!

PS. Another reminder about the Bo Giertz Giveaway. Just leave a comment on the giveaway post and, if you have a stateside address, you’re entered.

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Filed under Theological reflection, Thoughts to remember later

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