Paraphrase: A Restatement of a Text

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God 
and fit him fully for all branches of his work.
(2 Timothy 3:16,17 J.B. Phillips translation)

Monotony gives birth to boredom. This is my paraphrase of the familiar quote: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” To have contempt towards someone is to say that someone is not worthy or to lack respect towards him. God is totally worthy of my respect and adoration, but I must admit that sometimes I gloss over a familiar Scripture. I repeat it with little heart and not much mental engagement. 

One of the most comforting prayers for me is the Lord’s Prayer. Yet at times, I just recite it without much thought. Several years ago, I translated the words based on a study of the prayer in the original Aramaic. And today, I decided to paraphrase the prayer into a colorful collage! (See above.)

Here’s my translation:

Our Father of heaven–
Only so very holy is your name.
Come your kingdom, Your will to be (accomplished) in what manner, means and process of our heaven; also (likewise, in the like manner) on our earth.
Give us the bread of our need (relief or supply, necessity) today, this very day, on this present day of the week, twenty four hours, from daybreak to sunset.
Leave (take away, without interference) our sins in the same manner, that we likewise leave (let go) these sins done to us.
Protect us by not letting us enter, pass into or cause temptation (the act of tempting, or enticing to evil, seduction; that which tempts nor an inducement or allurement to evil.)
But cut through, cleave us from, separate and deliver us from evil (Satan, as well as wickedness, worthlessness and unfortunate and sinful tendencies.)

Try your own paraphrase of a familiar passage of Scripture to see how it changes your perspective.

In 30 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time, Pam Farrel relates a time when she was struggling with depression after a major move and life transition. She called a friend, who listened to her, then asked her this question: “Pam, what character trait, what attribute of God are you forgetting?” Pam said, “Well, pretty much all of them!” This conversation led Pam to go to her Bible to paraphrase favorite Scriptures into affirmations of God’s character.

Here is her strategy for personalizing Scripture during your quiet time:

Simply brainstorm key words that might lead you to verses that would help [you or a friend]. You might need to take the key words and find biblical words that are similar. For example, stress is a very common feeling, but the word stress is not in the Bible. The words perseverance, endure, endurance, long-suffering are. Sometimes it is helpful to look for opposites. For example, if you are struggling with worry, look up peace.

What struggles are hitting your life or the lives of the ones you love? Brainstorm a list of words you can look up to find verses of comfort and hope.

©Pam Farrel from 30 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time (IVP). For more devotional books by Pam

To find Scriptures by topic, check out the topical index tab at

If you are just joining us for 31 Days of Quiet, click here to see the whole list of ideas to spice up your quiet times with God.
To check out all nine categories of 31 Days Of…click over to the nesting place to see the multitude of topics! Surely one will pique your interest.

2 thoughts on “Paraphrase: A Restatement of a Text

  1. Wow! Such an awesome collage. And I love your paraphrase Kel. How powerful and thought-provoking to spend time in this way to really break down the scripture, or in the case the very prayer taught to us by Jesus. This gives me cause to pause. Thank you girlfriend.Hugs,Kelly

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