November 27, 2014

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

I am no Greek scholar, but I have heard from multiple sources that 1 Peter is excellent Greek, while 2 Peter is several notches below that in literary quality. The reason is generally agreed to be found in 1 Peter 5:12, where he mentions that he was helped in writing by Silas (Silvanus), who evidently served as his scribe. Silas cleared up his pronouns and his prepositions and straightened out his misplaced modifiers to the point that 1 Peter is used as the text in many 1st year Biblical Greek classes. However, Peter evidently didn’t have such help when he wrote his second letter, and the distinctly unpolished Greek of a Galilean fisherman is on full display. The reason this is so interesting to me is that I minister mostly in Japanese, while all of my academic training has been in English. Even so, having been born and raised in Japan I have some major advantages over the majority of non-Japanese who try to minister here. Peter’s two letters are proof that whereas a top-level command of the language is desirable, a much lower level still can communicate divine truth. As Peter says here, knowing Christ personally is the important thing, because He will supply everything we need to live lives worthy of His Name. Many people won’t open their mouths to talk about Jesus because they don’t feel qualified for one reason or another. The only qualification necessary is to know Him! I have seen and heard beautiful truth expressed through mangled grammar, and it still communicated!

On the one hand I still make strange errors at times in my Japanese, but on the other hand I have had several people tell me just recently that I speak better than most Japanese. I’ll let God be the judge of that, but the point is that I am certainly an imperfect vessel, but the contents are glorious! (2 Corinthians 4:7) As Paul says, God uses our imperfections to remind us that it’s not about us, it’s about Him. This is a message I keep trying to get across to the believers, with varying success. They look at me, with seminary training and 40 years in ministry, and thinking they can never measure up, they don’t even try. That’s tragic! By the help of the Holy Spirit, I need to help them understand that God can and will use them just as they are right now, and in the process will grow and mature and polish them to be what He wants them to be, a shining instrument of His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the opportunity I’ve had in recent days to give a younger pastor on-the-job training in hospital visitation. Thank You for the fruit we have seen from that. Thank You that I will be baptizing a man today who probably doesn’t have many more days on this earth. Thank You for his clear commitment. I pray Your peace and joy for him and for his family in this time. At 88, he is aware that his time is up. May today be all that You want it to be, for him, for his family, and for all with whom he interacts for as long as You keep him here, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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2 Responses to November 27, 2014

  1. happy thanksgiving! how did you spend it?

  2. jgarrott says:

    Well, living in Japan as I do, the 4th Thursday of November is just another day. However, Japan has a “Thanks for Labor” day, originally pegged at November 23, but currently fluid because of a Monday Holiday bill, that fell on the 24th this year. Our church has a Thanksgiving service/meal Sunday evening before the holiday, My wife roasts a turkey (which is very unusual for most Japanese) and the rest of the meal is pot luck. We do very well at overeating, thank you! After the meal we take turns expressing thanks to God and to each other. We had 18 present for the meal this year.

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