An apprentice & A climbing companion


In the Message Paraphrase, Matthew 5:1-2 goes like this…

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

This morning I intended to read the entire Sermon on the Mount, instead I got stuck with the language of these two verses. My thoughts went like this:

1. I resonate with the term he (Eugene Petterson) uses for the followers of Jesus: “Apprentices.” It sparks new imagery for me that some were an apprentice to the Master (Jesus). An apprentice is someone who is concerned for learning more than simply knowledge–he/she also wants to acquire the skills connected to the Master’s knowledge. It’s not just “what” the Master knows, it’s also “how” the Master goes about his skill. It’s a more complete picture of what is modern-day discipleship. Typically, “discipleship” is reduced to knowledge (what one knows), but the image of an apprentice is so much bigger–what he knows, how he does it, what he thinks, how he perceives reality, etc….

2. I also love the phrase “climbing companions.” The apprentice is up-close, personal, willing to climb–committed. A companion connected to the Master. Following Jesus requires effort–His way is not easy, but the companionship is good. The word “companion” carries with it a relational-side that is attractive to me. Following Jesus may require some “climbing” (difficulty) but I don’t have to go at it alone–that’s the beauty of a companion.

Question: is there anything in the way Eugene Peterson translates these verses that inspires you, intrigues you, or challenges you? If so, what?



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  • Vivett

    “Those who were apprenticed to Him THE COMMITTED, climbed with Him…” I read this and can not help but question my own commitment to my relationship with Christ. He’s in it for the long haul…I waiver…desiring to climb with Him no matter what the terrain of life’s hillside.

    • dougfields

      I like that: “no matter what the terrain of life’s hillside.” That’s good! Thanks.

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  • http://www.smarterym.com/ Aaron Helman

    Doug, as a climber, I LOVE this translation. Climbing is terribly difficult, it tests you, and it can be very scary.

    At the same time, I’ve found few things more rewarding than the experience of climbing.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • dougfields

      you’re welcome… I like your add-on of difficult/testing/scary. Thanks.