Popular translations of the Bible are too generic for anyone to reach a definitive interpretation and often perpetuate old concepts. Tim Seid takes a bold approach to Christian origins and offers fresh translations of the earliest of the New Testament authors.
In the first section of Rewriting Paul, Seid explains the foundation for a new understanding of Paul who remains a committed Jew but announces to the gentile peoples the good news that God has overlooked their sins because of the death of Jesus and has included them among the people of God. Paul writes letters of moral exhortation to household assemblies to encourage them to maintain their progress through philosophical practices to reach their greatest potential in a flourishing life.
Seid provides an overview of his interpretation of 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, and Romans based on his translations in appendix one. The paraphrase style of the translations helps the reader to see how to read Paul within this new interpretation.
Excerpts of Translations
2:1 You, siblings, are aware first-hand that our visit to you was not without great impact. 2:2 Despite the fact that my companions and I had just undergone brutality and disparagement in Philippi, we were emboldened by our God to broadcast frankly to you the good news with great intensity. 2:3 For our protreptic speech was not misleading, wrongly-motivated, or deceitful like sophists. 2:4 Instead, as divinely ordained messengers entrusted with the good news, we speak, not as sycophants, but out of duty to God who tests our motives. 2:5 You know we never used flattering speech nor made pretense for the sake of patronage, 2:6 as God is our witness. Neither did we seek fame either from you or others. 2:7 Rather than rightfully throwing our weight around as Christ’s envoys, we chose to be gentle with you, in the same way a nurse cares for children in her charge. 2:8 Such is our dedication for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the good news of the one God but also our own selves because you became dear friends to us. 2:9 You remember, siblings, our hard work. While we toiled incessantly so that we might not burden any of you, we heralded to you the good news of the one God.
4:9 Now concerning sibling friendship, you don’t need anyone to write to you, for you have within yourselves the divine knowledge to love each other. 4:10 For you practice this with all the siblings in the whole of Macedonia. We urge you, siblings, to exceed beyond this. 4:11 And we urge you to endeavor to live tranquilly, to be attentive to your dealings, and to employ your craft in the manner we directed you, 4:12 in order that you might conduct yourselves with propriety within society and be self-sufficient.
5:12 Now we entreat you, siblings, to show deference to the philosophical guidesstriving among you, who are your directors in the Lord, and who admonish you 5:13 and to regard them with the utmost respect in loving friendship because of their work. Maintain concord among yourselves.
5:14 Now we exhort you, siblings, admonish the disorderly, encourage those without a fully developed moral capacity, assist the weak-willed, be patient with everyone. 5:15 Be aware that no one pays back bad behavior with bad behavior to anyone but acts with good behavior to one another and to everyone.5:16 Always be joyful. 5:17 Pray ceaselessly. 5:18 Be grateful in every circumstance; this is God’s desire by means of Christ Jesus to you. 5:19 Do not repress your pneuma. 5:20 Do not contemptuously ignore prophecies. 5:21 Examine every attitude and action; keep what is virtuous. 5:22 Abstain from every form of vice.
6:1 Siblings, if someone should be anticipated to be hurt by some failure in judgment, you, the spiritually mature, need to apply a moral curative to such a person with gentleness, paying attention to your own impulses lest you too should be affected. 6:2 Evaluate the gravity of each other’s situation and in that way completely enact the moral code of Christ. 6:3 For if someone regards themselves as a superior when they are an inferior, they are misguided. 6:4 Each person should examine their own effort and then they will only have their own reason for feeling satisfied and not focus on the advancement of the other person. 6:5 For each person will evaluate their own outcome.6:6 The person who receives instruction in our message should share with the instructor whatever goods are available.
1:9 This is what I hope for you: for your love to steadily increase intellectually and insightfully 1:10 for the purpose of you being able to make moral judgments about what is important for proper living so that you might be judged unpretentious and impeccable when Christ returns. 1:11 May you be overflowing with the expressions of the moral life to be found in Jesus Christ that brings honor and praise to God.
1:28 Do not be intimidated in any way by those who are antithetical to your moral life. Their conduct is indicative of their moral regress. Your conduct proves your moral progress. This is God’s way. 1:29 You have been given the responsibility for the sake of Christ, not only to give your allegiance to him, but also to deal with hardships for his sake. 1:30 You are experiencing the same struggle which you perceived me having and now hear me describe.
2:12 So then, my dear friends, in the same way as you’ve always listened to me—not only when I’m present with you but even more now in my absence—generate your own moral health with all due diligence. 2:13 For God is the one who energizes you to have the will and way to be what God wants. 2:14 Practice all these principles without bickering and quarreling, 2:15 so that you might be honest and decent people, God’s innocent children living in a time of perversity and decadence. Within it you shine like the stars in the universe.
4:6 Don’t fret about anything. Instead, in every situation tell God your needs in prayer and petition with gratefulness. 4:7 When you do this, God’s serenity, which overpowers every mental state, will protect your feelings and thoughts as those who participate in the divine life of Christ Jesus. 4:8 Consequently, dear friends, make it a practice to contemplate these moral qualities: whatever is true, decent, just, sacred, pleasant, auspicious; if something has moral excellence and if it is deserving of praise. 4:9 Make a spiritual practice of those things you learned, accepted, heard, and observed in my life. If you do this, the God of serenity will be with you.
4:11 Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I don’t have all I need. Personally, I have schooled myself to be self-sufficient in my present circumstances. 4:12 I am experienced in living in abject poverty and abundant wealth. Into each and every circumstance I have been initiated: feasting and fasting; sufficiency and deficiency. 4:13 I can handle all these circumstances because God empowers me.
2:7 On the one side, to those seeking with endurance of good action a respectable, honorable, and incorruptible character, their reward is unending life. 2:8 On the other side, to those whose lives are based on self-aggrandizement, who are dissuaded by truth, and who are persuaded by injustice, their reward is wrath and fury. 2:9 There will be affliction and distress on every human soul who produces a life of vice—whether the soul of a Jew or a Greek. 2:10 Conversely, there will be respect, honor, and bliss allotted to each one who produces a life of goodness—whether to a Jew or a Greek. 2:11 For God shows no partiality.
12:1 Therefore, I exhort you, siblings, by the opportunity given to you by God’s compassion, to present a living, sacred, and God-pleasing sacrifice of your bodily desires and appetites. It would be a ritual made to enhance your rationality. 12:2 Stop modeling yourself based on the current social standards but be transformed by a new way of thinking in order that you might examine what actions God wants you to perform that are morally good, right actions, and the best to be done.