“Peculiar People” | What does it mean for Christians to be “Peculiar”? | [iBelieveBible]

“Peculiar People” | What does it mean for Christians to be “Peculiar”? | [iBelieveBible]


Speaker 1: Christians are supposed to be a peculiar people, but does peculiar mean we have to be strange or out of touch with society? Well, not quite. This is a common misconception that comes from a phrase in the King James version of the Bible whose English meaning has been lost to us and the King James version. First Peter two nine reads like this, but ye are a chosen generation, a Royal priesthood, and a Holy nation, a peculiar people that you should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Okay, so we have the phrase peculiar people right there, but what does it actually mean? The word peculiar has two possible English meanings. Most commonly we use it to mean weird or strange as in that guy Bob, who always wears clown outfits. He is very peculiar, but it can also mean uniquely belonging to something or someone as in after it rains. The earth has a peculiar smell, meaning that there’s a unique smell that happens when the rain and the dirt meet. In fact, that usage is the more basic meaning of the word. In 1611 the King James translation was an accurate English translation. Since people would have understood peculiar to mean unique, not weird. Today we need new wordings to clearly communicate the meaning since English itself has changed. The Greek phrase in the Bible literally means a people for possession, meaning that God’s people are meant to belong to him uniquely. This is why most modern translations say something like you are Royal priesthood, a Holy nation, God’s very own possession. Interestingly Peter in this passage is actually paraphrasing Exodus 18 four through six where God says that Israel is his unique treasured possession being a unique people who are called to be Holy, to serve God and bring others to know God may in fact sometimes make Christians seem a little strange. Christians will often make counter-cultural choices, uphold specific ethics or take risks when others might be cautious or afraid, but being God’s people does not mean going out of our way to be weird or out of touch with the norms and expectations of our society. Some Christians will take a radical stance that makes them stand out from society while others whose faith is equally genuine may happen to be perceived as cool. Both types of people are accepted by Jesus. Following Jesus is what matters, not what people think of you one way or the other. The apostle Paul made it clear that the weirdest thing about Christians is the fact that we believe Jesus saved the world by loving his enemies and allowing them to murder him. To sum a crucified Messiah, his foolishness to others. It’s a stumbling block, but this strange and sometimes ghastly teaching is the truth that ultimately sets Christians apart. Believing in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and following him with our whole heart is what makes us who we are. A peculiar people.

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