Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2 (NIV)

I love the way Paul starts his letters. Most of my letters (e-mails, really, since I haven’t written a real letter in many years) start with “How are you?” I think I’m being friendly – asking about them before I launch into my own news is the polite thing to do.

Besides, how weird would people think I am if I started my letters “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”?

I’ve been wracking my brain for a similar phrase that might be appropriate today. I haven’t found one. I checked other translations. NLT and The Message are the most likely candidates, but they didn’t do it for me either:

May grace and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 1:2, New Living Translation

I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2, The Message

The problem is that all the translations properly translate the greeting, offering grace and peace to the reader from “God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” We live in a world in which it is no longer fashionable, or even acceptable in many venues, to offer such a greeting. We’ve become so much a part of that world that we no longer offer greetings that bless the hearer or reader with two of the greatest blessings God can give, outside of salvation: grace and peace. (See my blog “Grace, The Double-Powered Prayer; Peace, Restored to Oneness” for more on these words of blessing by Paul.)

There’s a fine line between acting in such a way that the world doesn’t dismiss us as a fool and living a life that blesses others and makes them thirsty for the One who makes you different. Well, maybe it’s not such a fine line. Maybe I’ve just convinced myself it is so that I don’t have to be so different in society.

I don’t know. I usually try to end blogs by embracing an action based on the content of the blog. But I don’t know what that action is in this case – because I haven’t figured it out yet. I do know, though, that I miss many, many, many opportunities to bless others and to praise God because my language reflects the culture of the world more than the culture of faith. I want to be willing to be different if that’s the right answer. I don’t want to be dismissed, for the sake of the Gospel, if there is an updated approach that carries the same message. I’m old school enough to believe the message must be carried in words, not just actions. Actions are greatly important because the words are meaningless without them; but words have power and I’m looking for a way to include the verbal blessing without losing my audience.

On the other hand, maybe I need to not be concerned about God’s reputation (and my own) and just make the blessing a natural part of my routine.

So this blog has gone around the block a few times, but here’s the deal:

Our challenge: To offer God’s blessings of grace and peace as we go through our daily lives.

The problem: Doing so in such a way that the message doesn’t alienate the hearer.

If you have any ideas, let me know. I welcome your input as I wrestle with this issue.

In the meantime…

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m considering beginning an online verse-by-verse Bible study of Ephesians that will begin next week. If you would like to participate, please e-mail me at or by leaving a comment to this blog.

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