This Sunday’s Epistle lesson turned into another opportunity for me to revisit a couple of troublesome words. There are a lot of troublesome words in Scripture, and there is nothing wrong with finding such things. Some are troubling because we don’t fully understand them, the word we translate as “flesh” or “sinful nature,” depending on the translation, is a Greek word that means all of that and more. Some are troubling because they don’t translate, for example “Raca” is a word used to express contempt but doesn’t really mean much to us. The two words I found troubling and ended up talking about today are “boast” and “suffering.”
These words are troubling for several reasons but primarily because of the connotations I bring to them. The word “boast” is the more difficult for me. I am glad that the NIV uses “rejoice” rather than “boast” which is the choice of the NRSV; it gives me some better insight. Nevertheless, I still bring a very negative feeling to the word and I still have a long way to go to get past that.
I am doing better with “suffering” but it still a temptation for me to regard suffering as something that is always wrong and always needs to be avoided. Paul gives us another way to think about suffering in Romans 5 that is well worth some reflection.
I hope you find something of value in one or both of these sermons.
Knox Presbyterian Suffering and boasting? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Suffering and boasting? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)