When I was young, I knew the meaning of the word from the context of the parable; I knew that prodigal meant wasteful, like the younger son in Luke 15:11-32. To be prodigal means to act in a lavishly extravagant manner, with no care for the cost. Most English translations of the Bible do not use the word “prodigal” in the parable. Here is Luke 15:13 in some other translations:
ESV: Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living
NASB: And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
NIV: Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living
CEB: Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.
ASV: And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living.
If you don’t see your favorite version above look it up on Biblegateway.com; there you can find the word used to communicate “prodigal” in that version (see multiple translations here Luke 13:15). I just discovered a feature on Bible Gateway that I love! When you look up a Bible verse in one translation, you can click a link to find all the other versions and compare them side by side.
So now we see pretty clearly that “prodigal” has a negative connotation, but this year I want to be “prodigal” in a totally different way. Why not? God seems to specialize in turning everything upside down:
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:20-25, ESV).
Stay tuned for more details on the blessing of Prodigal Living!
Image Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo #bgbg2 #Bible #StudyScripture