Sunday, November 23, 2014

Knox vs. The Message: Christ the King (Matthew 25:31-46)

I am going to do a comparison of one of the Sunday readings from the lectionary, using the Knox Bible and The Message.  If you think this might be of some interest (or at least amusing) let me know.  While done in different ways, I think both Knox and Peterson desired to make the Bible more accessible to the average reader.  Let's see if they were successful.  

Knox:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit down upon the throne of his glory,  and all nations will be gathered in his presence, where he will divide men one from the other, as the shepherd divides the sheep from the goats;  he will set the sheep on his right, and the goats on his left.  Then the King will say to those who are on his right hand, Come, you that have received a blessing from my Father, take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you brought me home,  naked, and you clothed me, sick, and you cared for me, a prisoner, and you came to me.  Whereupon the just will answer, Lord, when was it that we saw thee hungry, and fed thee, or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When was it that we saw thee a stranger, and brought thee home, or naked, and clothed thee?  When was it that we saw thee sick or in prison and came to thee?  And the King will answer them, Believe me, when you did it to one of the least of my brethren here, you did it to me.  Then he will say to those who are on his left hand, in their turn, Go far from me, you that are accursed, into that eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry, and you never gave me food, I was thirsty, and you never gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you did not bring me home, I was naked, and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not care for me.  Whereupon they, in their turn, will answer, Lord, when was it that we saw thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?  And he will answer them, Believe me, when you refused it to one of the least of my brethren here, you refused it to me.  And these shall pass on to eternal punishment, and the just to eternal life.


The Message:
“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

“Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

6 comments:

Ed Rio said...

I think they're both saying basically the same thing, but the Knox translation is understandable while still reading like a Bible. Wish I could word it better, but that's as good as it gets today. The coffee isn't clearing the cobwebs as fast as usual.
Thanks for providing this comparison!

Timothy said...

I am with you Ed on this one. Of course, I am partial to the good Monsignor. :)

rolf said...

The Message was pretty conservative today (for the Message), but I agree with both of you; Knox nails it!

Gerald de Belen said...

Reading the Knox version, I can somehow feel the majesty set in passage, while still it talks to me personally. A good balance, Msgr. Knox!

Anonymous said...

I recently read Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell (sp?). She mentions the different thresholds that people have to cross to become disciples...almost like the different stages one goes through. I think that translations like The Message or even the Common English Bible do in fact reach those people in the early threshold of the faith. These people need an accessible and straight forward translation. I understand the inherent problems that might exist, but if we can foster a curiosity in scripture with these translations, then we can move these folks to better translations.
Keith

Timothy said...

Keith,

You bring up an important point. I do think that particular translations can be of help to those who are in the early stages of faith. They can also be helpful to those who want to have a fresh rendering that is different from the standards.