05.2 Who is God, really? Learning to see God correctly.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
The person behind the words matters so much. Think of that dreaded text: “Hey. Can we talk?” When it’s from your passive aggressive boss while you’re taking a sick day, you can be about sure you’re losing your job. When it’s your childhood friend who checks in once in a while out of curiosity and just to love you, merely glancing at their name popping up on your phone is a relief.
It’s the same encountering God in his texts. If God is distant, if he thinks you’re yucky, if he gets tired of your neediness, you might read him saying that he doesn’t want you, even when he means the opposite. We can only hear him in the Word if we know him. And we can only grow in knowing him by reading the Word.
Just as we often meet God first in other people, we hear him first in the Bible. That’s why Biblical translation matters so much. It’s good for a translation to be grammatically accurate, with an eye on historical context, the nuance of imagery, idiom and simile. But nothing matters in a translation more than presenting the Lord the way he wants to present himself to us. The translator must help us hear him, to know him through his words and actions.
Let’s look at two examples - one New Testament and one Old Testament. I’m inviting you into an imaginative space here, where understanding who he is changes everything.