My Lenten Project: Reading Luke In Greek

In 2007, I announced that I was going to try to translate all of the book of Jude from Greek into English as a Lenten project. It did not go well. I realized pretty quickly that my skills were not at a point where I could do the work, and so I quietly stopped working on it after a few days, and never mentioned it again.

Now it’s three years later, my translation skills have improved, and I have more confidence. I heard about this Yahoo group called LentenGreekReading a couple of weeks ago and their announced plans to tackle the book of Luke for Lent. I joined the group and on Ash Wednesday, I began my reading.

Lent, as you may recall, lasts 40 days. Well, we say it lasts 40 days, but the actual time varies by denomination. Basically, you just don’t count the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). If you do that, you get 40 days, even though it’s really 46. Anyway, Lent is observed by the Catholic church, and some Protestant denominations, like mine, the United Methodist Church. While Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and self-denial, more recently, some Protestants have used it as a time of devotion to a special purpose or project. Hence, the reading plan.

So on Ash Wednesday, I read Luke 1:1 – 38, which took me about 2.5 hours. Yes, 2.5 hours to read 38 verses. Those verses covered Luke explaining to Theophilus why he wrote the book and the foretelling of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus,

The next day, I read Luke 1:39 – 66, and that only took about an hour. Yes, there were fewer verses, but I could tell I was moving at a better pace. Those verses included Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat, and the birth of John.

Today’s reading was Luke 1:67 – 2:20. I finished it in about an hour, but I had a bit of a head start, since I had already translated all of Luke 2:1 – 20 for Christmas. This reading included Zechariah’s prophesy about John, and the birth of Jesus.

I am pleased with my progress so far, and I feel good about my changes of actually finishing the project before Easter. I will post occasional updates if I find something interesting in the translation. Wish me luck; I’m sure I’m going to hit some rocky spots along the way.

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