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Preface

With so many Bible translations and paraphrases already available, some will invariably ask, "Why another paraphrase?" I ask your indulgence in order to lay out why this paraphrase is not only unique, but worthy of your consideration.

As all Bible students know, Scripture tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), but what many have not considered, and what this volume acknowledges, is that when God built His universe He built it to operate in harmony with His own nature of love. The construction protocol on which God built His universe is known as God's law and this law is the law of love, an expression of His nature and character. Thus, the Bible writers expressed it like this:
  • Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
  • The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14)
  • If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself... " (James 2:8)
Functionally, Paul describes this law as "love seeks not its own," or "love is not self-seeking" (1 Corinthians 13:5). This means that love is selfless rather than selfish. Love is giving rather than taking and life is actually built, by God, to operate on this principle of giving.

A simple example of this law in action is respiration. With every breath we breathe we give away carbon dioxide (CO2) to the plants and the plants give back oxygen to us (the law of respiration). This is God's design for life, a perpetual circle of free giving. It is an expression of God's character of love, and life is built to operate on it. If you break this law, this circle of giving, by tying a plastic bag over your head and selfishly hoarding your body's CO2, you break the design protocol for life and the result is death. "The wages [result] of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This circle of giving is the law that God constructed life to operate on.

The church, after Christ's ascension, taught a theology that focused on the principles of love and therefore taught Christ's mission was to reveal truth (John 14:6), defeat Satan (Hebrews 2:14), destroy death (2 Timothy 1:10), and restore the law of love into humankind (1 John 3:8). This is known as the recapitulation theory of atonement.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 103-165) taught that Christ came to do three things: (1) to overthrow death, (2) to destroy Satan, and (3) to restore humanity back to God's design, thus providing eternal life to fallen humanity:

"[Christ] having been made flesh submitted to be born of the Virgin, in order that through this dispensation (1) the Serpent, who at the first had done evil, and the angels assimilated to him might be put down and (2) death might be despised." 1

Robert Franks describes Justin's theology:

"In fact we find in Justin clear indications of the presence to his mind of the recapitulation theory, afterwards more fully developed by Irenaeus, according to which (3) Christ becomes a new head of humanity, undoes the sin of Adam by reversing the acts and circumstances of his disobedience, and finally communicates to men immortal life." 2

Franks also describes the theology of Irenaeus (second century A.D.-202):

"We come here to the famous Irenaean doctrine of Recapitulation. The conception is that of Christ as the Second Adam, or second head of humanity, who not only undoes the consequences of Adam's fall, but also takes up the development of humanity broken off in him, and carries it to completion, i.e. to union with God and consequent immortality.

'It was God recapitulating the ancient creation of man in Himself, that He might slay sin, and annul death, and give life to man... The Son of God, when He was incarnate and was made man, recapitulated in Himself the long line of men, giving us salvation compendiously (in compendio), so that what we had lost in Adam, viz. that we should be after in the image and similitude of God, this we should receive in Jesus Christ.' " 3

Amazingly, the early church understood that Christ's mission was to rebuild humanity back into God's original design. They realized that God's law of love was the template on which He built His universe and rightly realized that in order to save humankind the law on which life is constructed to operate had to be restored into humanity. Christ's mission was to restore humankind back into harmony with God!

But this truth was lost and another concept of law replaced it: Romanism. Imperial Rome's concept of government and law infected Christian thought after the emperor Constantine converted. Prior to Constantine's conversion, Christianity understood God's law as the law of love: Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10, emphasis mine; see also Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 12:28; 21:21; Matthew 12:37-40; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).

After Constantine's conversion, the Christian church accepted Rome's change to God's Law, and what was that change? That God's Law is an imposed law with no inherent consequence, thus requiring the lawgiver to police breaches in the law and inflict punishment, rather than the truth that God's Law is the natural law of love, the design protocol on which God created life to operate.

Eusebius (263-339), the first church historian, documented clearly how Christianity exchanged God's law of love for an imposed Roman construct:

"There are no reserves in the stilted encomium [praise] with which Eusebius closes his history, no wistful regret for the blessings of persecution, no prophetic fear of imperial control of the Church. His heart is full of gratitude to God and Constantine. And it is not only his feelings that are stirred. He is ready, with a theory, indeed a theology, of the Christian Emperor. He finds a correspondence between religion and politics. ... With the Roman Empire monarchy had come on earth as the image of the monarchy in heaven." 4

Thomas Lindsay, in his book A History of the Reformation, describes this infection of Christian thought this way:

"The great men who built up the Western Church were almost all trained Roman lawyers. Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, Gregory the Great (whose writings form the bridge between the Latin Fathers and the Schoolmen) were all men whose early training had been that of a Roman lawyer, a training which moulded and shaped all their thinking, whether theological or ecclesiastical. They instinctively regarded all questions as a great Roman lawyer would. They had the lawyer's craving for exact definitions. They had the lawyer's idea that the primary duty laid upon them was to enforce obedience to authority, whether that authority expressed itself in external institutions or in the precise definitions of the correct ways of thinking about spiritual truths. No Branch of western Christendom has been able to free itself from the spell cast upon it by these Roman lawyers of the early centuries of the Christian church." 5

Christians lost sight of God's law of love and instead accepted an imposed law system modeled after human governments. After all, if they still believed God's law was the design law of love, like the law of respiration, then would they ever have thought a church committee could vote to change such a law (something the church did vote in committee to do)? But they could only vote to change God's law after they first accepted the concept that His law is imposed, not natural. 6

This idea of an imposed law altered the view of God held by Christians and changed how Christianity functioned. Thus, Christians went from a body of believers who lived communally, shared their possessions to help each other, and died as martyrs, to an organization of Crusades, Inquisition, burning dissenters at the stake, and active participation in genocide (Nazis in Germany and Christians in Rwanda).

Sadly, by the time the Bible was eventually translated into the language of the people, the imposed law construct was deeply engrained orthodoxy. Essentially, all Bible translations have been done by people operating through the lens of imposed law. What this means is that Bible translations artificially introduce imposed law with fear-inducing ideas about God.

This Bible paraphrase offers an alternative. My bias is that God is the Creator, Builder, and Designer and, when He constructed His universe, He built it to operate in harmony with His own nature of love. Thus, God's law is not a set of imposed rules, but the design parameters on which He built life to exist. The Remedy is an expanded Bible paraphrase in which interpretation is filtered through the lens of God's design law of love, the template on which life is built. This paraphrase is intentional in its focus to reorient the Christian mind to God's character of love and His mission to heal and restore humankind, as taught by the early church.

I hope you find this paraphrase an aid in developing your trust-relationship with God, culminating in becoming a partaker of God's eternal Remedy!

1. Robert S. Franks, A History of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ in Its Ecclesiastical Development, vol. 1 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1918), p. 21.
2 Ibid., p. 22.
3 Ibid., pp. 37-38.
4 S. L. Greenslade, Church and State from Constantine to Theodosius (London: SCM Press, 1954); emphasis mine.
5 Thomas Lindsay, A History of the Reformation (Bibliolife, 2009), p. 168; emphasis mine.
6 Compare the Catholic versus the Protestant Ten Commandments. The Catholic version removes number two (graven images), splits number ten into two commandments, changes the language of the Sabbath commandment (number four in Protestant versions; due to eliminating number two, the Sabbath commandment is number three in the Catholic version). They also, in their catechism, claim to have changed the holiness of Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. I do not argue any of these points. I only use this to illustrate the acceptance of a change in God's Law from a natural law to an imposed law. If theologians viewed God's Law as a principle on which life is built, like the law of gravity, thermodynamics and respiration, then they would not have voted in committee to make changes to it. The fact they have changed it reveals the acceptance of imperial Rome's concept of law.

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