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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Out of Your Soul

You know that our Bibles were first written in Hebrew, Greek, and some Aramaic.  If you have worked with any translation from other languages you know that it is impossible to do a word for word translation from one language to the other, the results make no sense.  The word order and syntax of languages differ greatly.
Out of Your Soul
In the translations we have the committees use differing philosophies in their approach to their task.  In the NASB, the version I use most frequently, the committee supplies words not in the original to make the flow of the sentence easier to read.  They put those words in italics so that the reader can identify the supplied words.

In some cases the literal translation of a word or phrase is difficult to render smoothly in English, the committee will often attempt to rectify this with an interpretation of what they consider the intent of the author.  In these cases there is often a footnote with the literal translation of the word or phrase.

This is the case with Colossians 3:23.

It is a passage that I memorized and have used as personal challenge and encouragement since the early days of my journey with Christ.  Jenny and I were reading in Colossians earlier this week and I read this passage out loud – by the way I have discovered that reading out loud seems to give me observations that I miss otherwise and this is a case in point.

I noticed in Colossians 3:23 there were two such literal footnotes.  I glanced at them as I read and the content stopped me.

I checked my Greek text and the literal rendering of the text would read, “Whatever you do out of your soul work as to the Lord and not to men.”  The NASB and most of the other versions render “out of your soul” as heartily.  That is good, but it does not seem to have the weight of working from your soul.

As I have considered that for the past few days, I am rebuked and challenged.  There is much that I do that if I am honest is not out of my soul.  I just get it done.  To work out of my soul seems to call for more.  It seems to suggest that I am doing all that I can with all of my being in that task “whatever” it is.  Further, it is not for my employer, my friend, my neighbor, I am doing “whatever” for Him.

That requires me to live in John 15:5.


  1. I think the depths of my soul are practically limitless, at lest in this life. Perhaps it reflects the majestic nature of its Creator. We start at birth with little understanding of "who" we are and gradually grow in understanding as we proceed on the path of life.

    Although I know basically nothing about the original languages of the Bible, my experience over six or so decades of modest attempts to know and live by the precepts of Scripture have led to deeper understanding of who I am and should become, and who my God is. When the beloved wife, the love of my life died it was as if my soul was blasted open, and the Bible suddenly became a new book. Words that I had read (and believed and even memorized and reviewed) for decades suddenly came alive as never before. That process continues unabated.

    If my soul is essentially bottomless, how much the words of our eternal, living God who spoke the words?

    To become complacent in the Scriptures, to stop wrestling, applying, challenging our lives is to cut the air-hose to our true life - live that continues for eternity. It's the prescription for a living death.

    1. Your phrase "It's the prescription for a living death," is particularly excellent.