By H. Leung
Every now and then…some Bible verses simply don’t make sense. I flip to a different version or even a different language. I literally had to flip through 7 different versions for Phil 4:12 until I found something that made sense to me. And really… the Bible is my own. I’m reading it for myself and God’s revelation of Himself to me through His Word.
Such is the case the other day when I came across “consuming fire” translated to 烈火 or “Raging Fire.” Something didn’t feel right about that translation. Falling back into my analytical, dissecting self… I mediated on the word CONSUME.
I broke that word up into CON-SUME.
CON – translates to “with.” Café CON leche. Chile CON carne. A preposition that joins two subjects. “With”…God wants to be “with” us.
SUME. Suffix that can be found with ASSUME or PRESUME. It has to do with the mind, the need “to know.” “To know” – words used in multiple places in the Bible denoting a sexual, intimate relation. In God’s revelation, that’s an analogy of the Bride and Groom in describing our relationship with Him.
CON + SUME – CONSUME. Where else is it used? You spend an entire day THINKING of something where your thoughts are CONSUMED. You sit in front of your favorite meal, whether it’s a juicy burger on a chilly fall evening or a refreshing margarita on a toasty summer afternoon…you would CONSUME it. You want that plate of heavenly to be a part of you.. to be one with you and you with it.
How then… can we use the word 烈火 or “Raging Fire”? God, Himself, wants to consume me. Where is the overpowering, forcing, raging nature? To me…God is romantic (浪漫). He’s gentle (溫柔). There comes a time to cook with high heat (猛火). But for a perfect pot of Cantonese soup, you spend hours after hours of using 文火. His relentless pursuit is the greatest love story of all. To know me. To be with me. To love me. I could be completely wrong with the translation… but in the end, that is MY Bible and the Bible is MINE!!!