From Steve Singleton... Which Bible translation is best?

Which Bible translation is best?

By Steve Singleton

The short answer would be, it depends on what you are trying to do. Are you wanting to read rapidly to get an overview of the Bible? Then a modern-speech translation would be a must. Are you wanting to make a careful study of a difficult passage? Then you should choose one of the more literal versions. Are you seeking to be inspired by the poetic beauty and refined literary style of Scripture? The King James Version would suit you best for that purpose.

Readers of Bible translations in English are blessed beyond reckoning with the multitude of Bible translations available to us. Seasoned Bible students know the value of consulting several translations when studying a passage. Nevertheless, one of the main purposes of a Bible translation ought to be to help the reader shift the focus from the translation itself to 
the message”and an undistorted message at that”you need a translation that strikes a balance between accuracy and readability.

Another blessing of our times is that the wording of several of the most recent translations is converging: they are virtually identical in verse after verse! This is because they have general agreement on both the underlying Hebrew and Greek text to translate and on the translation principles they apply to that text. This is true with regard to the New International Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and the newly revised New American Standard Version. Check out the many Bible translations in DeeperStudy Bookstore.
Want to go deeper? The following are useful resources for pursuing your study of Bible translations and translation principles:

Recommended for purchase:

Check out the Bible translations section in our DeeperStudy Bookstore. We have discussions of many of the translations available and have worked hard to provide the best edition at the best value for each.

Online resources: DeeperStudy’s Study-links section provides links to the on-line editions of many Bible translations in English and in other languages.

The Bible Translator, a journal for translators around the world and for the rest of us interested in the principles of translation.

Many thanks to brother Steve Singleton for allowing me to post from his website, deeperstudy.com.

From Ben Fronczek... The Precious Word of God

The Precious Word of God

By Ben Fronczek

In our society it so easy to take what we have for granted. I see kids getting so many toys, piles of toys for Christmas when they already have boxes and shelves if not a room full of toys. One more toy is just one more. I saw kids at XMAS opening their presents so fast, looking at what they got for a couple of seconds then throwing it aside so that they could open another.. As adults in America we aren’t much different. Look at the choices of food we have in the grocery store, the abundance of clothes and things that we have available to us. Some of us have so much ‘stuff’ we can’t even fit it in our homes and some have to rent storage units just to store all their stuff. We even have a smorgasbord of Christian churches we can choose from. If you don’t like one, you can pick another. In many ways we are very blessed but also very spoiled

I recently finished a book written by Wayne Cordeiro called, THE DIVINE MENTOR.  Within it he tells a true story which I would like to share with you. It goes as follows:

A few years ago I made a teaching trip to China. Twenty leaders of the house church movement from a nearby province came together for leadership training. I was told to be ready to stand up at 8:00 A.M. and teach until 6:00 P.M. – thankfully, with a short break for lunch.  We’d repeat the regiment for three days. It was fatiguing, demanding, and one of the most moving experiences of my life.                    
They endured a 13 hour train ride. Meeting at a predetermined location, they arrived alone or in twos so as not to arouse suspicion. Gathering together in a small, stifling room, they sat cross-legged on a wooden floor. Most were humble farmers. Every face was weathered with deep lines that held stories of profound trial and supernatural perseverance.
Sometimes when you speak to a large group, you hope that 20 to 25 percent (on a good day) will actually absorb what you’re saying. In this group, it was every person in the room!
The huge smiles on all the faces brightened their simple clothing. They were hungry and eager to hear from the narrators of the Bible. Their eagerness would extract the best from me. They were soaking in everything as though they would never be in such a meeting again…. Which was certainly a possibility. When they raised their hands to worship, I saw at least one man with scars from the shackles that had been his companions in prison.
Shortly after we began, to get us more acquainted, I asked them to say a little about who they were. One reported with joy that he’d just been released from serving his fifth 3 year term in jail.
His crime?  Faith in an unseen Messiah. “How many others of you have spent time in prison for your faith?” I asked. 18 of the 20 raised their hands.  “If government authorities discovered this non-registered religious meeting, what would happen?”
They answered, “Each would be given a 3 year prison sentence, and I would be deported within 24 hours.”   “Aren’t you afraid?” I inquired.   “No.” they said with a quiet confidence. “We are not afraid, and if you teach us for another day, we will stay.”
I commended them for their faith, all the while wondering why they weren’t teaching me instead of the other way around.
Since I knew that each of these veteran saints oversaw large numbers of house churches, I continued my ‘let’s–get–acquainted’ session by asking, “How many people do you oversee in all the house churches, combined?”
After a moment of quiet calculation, one spoke up.. “22 million.”            I couldn’t believe I’d heard what I just heard. “22 million?” I stammered.      “Yes,” he nodded. “22 million.”
After a few moments, I caught my breath and launched into teaching. We brought 16 Bibles to pass out, leaving a few of the leaders to share with one another. I had them turn to 2 Peter 1. As we were about to read it out loud, one elderly woman handed her Bible to another leader. I thought that a bit strange, since Bibles were so scarce, but I didn’t call attention to the matter.
After we began to read, I understood why she had willingly given up her Bible. She quoted the whole chapter from memory!  During a short break, I asked her how she memorized so much scripture.  ”I have much more memorized,” she replied through one of the interpreters.   
“But how did you memorize so much,” I asked, “when there are so few Bibles available?”      “In prison,”  she said.
Pushing back, I went on, “But if you had a Bible, wouldn’t they confiscate it right away?”   “Yes,” she answered.  “So people brought me scriptures written on pieces of paper.”
“And what if the guard found you with those?” I pressed.  “Wouldn’t they take those away as well?”   “Yes. That’s why I memorized the scriptures as quickly as I could. You see, they can take away the paper, but they cannot take away what I have already hidden in my heart.”
By the end of the two days, I had fallen in love with this part of God’s family. Realizing my own inadequacy to help them in their daunting task of reaching China, I asked them in our final session together; “How can I pray for you?”
“Pray that we may become like you,” was their immediate request.    One of my new found friends continued: “We do not have freedom of religion. We have only a few registered churches, and when the pews are filled, they turn the others away. But in your country, you can gather whenever you like.”  He concluded by saying again, “Pray that we can one day be like you.”
I shook my head sadly. “I can’t do that. I can’t pray for you in that way.”  “But why?” they asked incredulously.
With a sigh, I explained. “You came here after riding 13 hours on a train . In America, if church is more than thirty minutes away, people won’t go. It’s too far.   You have been sitting on a wooden floor without air conditioning for three day. Where I come from, if people can’t sit on cushioned chairs and be in comfort of air conditioning, they find better things to do.   You don’t have adequate Bibles, so you memorize Scriptures from pieces of paper.  In America Christian homes have multiple Bibles per family, but we don’t always read them.  No,”   I said. “I will not pray that you become like us. But I will pray …  that we become like you!”
After telling this story in his book, the author goes on to share some observation and insights. He goes on to write,
‘Why did these Chinese leaders take such a huge risk, gathering as a group to study God’s word? Why did they value the Bible’s wisdom so much that they placed their very lives in jeopardy in order to listen to the Lord’s voice? Because they know by experience the Word’s power and truth….. The leaders understand that the Bible is like no other book in the world. They recognize its matchless authority as well as its supernatural ability through the Spirit to speak truth directly into our hearts so that we are enabled, literally, to become more like Christ. No other book compares with the Word of God!’ (The Divine Mentor pages 165-168)

Today I cannot over emphasize the importance of what is in this book. But unfortunately too often we take what we have readily available to us for granted.

As we begin this new year I want to encourage you to pick up your Bible and look at it, and treat it like it’s your most precious possession; like a great treasure, more important than any other material possession that you own…Why? Because quite frankly that’s what it is. That’s how those Chinese people treat the word of God… as something precious, and beyond value.

This book has been given to us by God. It has been divinely protected through the ages like no other book. God has protected it and it has come down to you & me for a reason; not just to put it on a shelf, or set out on a stand like some kind of decoration, but rather I believe He wants us to read it.

Even though there are many, I want to at least share with you a few reasons why you should make a practice to pick this book up and read it every day.

#1) It is where you can get to know your God, our Father

It’s one to know about someone, its quite another to really know someone.  Within the pages of the Bible you can get a good idea of who He is, what He likes, what He dislikes, even what He wants and expects of you. Within the pages of the Bible you hear God’s voice, Him speaking to you. His words cut right through the religious confusion of this world and lays the truth right out.

You can come to know the difference between what truly is, and what isn’t as far as God is concerned by reading this book.  In the past Bank tellers were trained to detect counterfeit $100 bills by putting them in a room where they were shown the real thing. They went to classes where they were taught the almost indistinguishable, almost imperceptible patterns in the real article. The tellers would smell the genuine bills, run their fingers across the fibers and ink. Then when the trainers thought the tellers were ready they tested them. They’d put the tellers in front of a conveyor belt loaded with genuine bills. The supervisor would periodically insert a counterfeit bill on the belt to test them. The tellers would immediately recognize that something was wrong with those particular bills.   How did they recognize the counterfeit bills so quickly? Was it because they studied the fakes? No, rather it was because they took a lot of time studying and examining the real thing.

There is a lot of spiritual and religious confusion in the world today. You will not have to worry about it if you spend enough time in God’s divinely preserved word. You will recognize the counterfeit teaching if you spend enough time with the real article.

#2) You are influenced by those you spend time with.

Proverb 13:20 says,  

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

God has provided a host of divine mentor for you and me to spend time with. You can learn from their victories as well as from their failing. People like Joseph, Daniel, Abigail, Mary, Ruth, Joshua, Ester, David, Elijah, Solomon, Peter, John … especially from Jesus Himself.  You can save yourself from all kinds of trouble and heart ache if you learn from these people. You can even find short cuts to success and happiness if you learn from them as well.
God wants to mentor us through these people.

This will in-turn help us to make better decisions in our life.

#3)  The words within are divine and are alive and will lead to an abundant and fruitful life.

They not only show the way to salvation, they also help complete us.

Jeremiah wrote,  

“Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart…”

In Psalm 1 David wrote,  

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (NLT)

God’s word will refresh you when you feel weak. His word will encourage you when you feel down or when trails come your way. God’s word will also reprimand you when you start getting off track and start doing things that are bad for you. God’s word will also teach you how to live and be happy and find peace in your life.  Jesus said that God will also prune you so that you will be even more productive than you already are. God will do that as you read His word and you become convicted about certain things. God’s word will prepare you for all kinds of situations and temptations.

In Closing:

I challenge you to pick a special time each day and begin reading God’s word. Do it with something else you like to do. I enjoy reading God’s word with a good cup of coffee in a quiet place in the morning, so that’s when I read. Also start writing your thought down; make a journal entry about what you read and how you can apply it. If you are like me I forget a lot of good thoughts I have after I read something good. Keeping a journal of these thoughts are a good way to help you remember them.

God’s word will change your life to the better, I promise! So read your Bible everyday!

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... Baptism: The company it keeps

Baptism: The company it keeps

1. It's too easy to dismiss baptism as something unimportant or optional-- something you can take or leave. We hear that kind of talk and see that practice in some modern churches and from modern believers. But they didn't learn this from reading the New Testament scriptures.

2. Just see for yourself how often the word and the subject is raised in the NT and you may be astonished rather than surprised. Setting aside texts which deal with baptism in the Holy Spirit or with Jewish washings the word occurs about 90 times. It's used a number of times to stand for Christ's redemptive sufferings (Luke 12:50 is an example of this: “I have a baptism to be baptized with” the Master will say.) Most of the occurrences relate to baptism as practiced by John the Baptist. Thirty one of them relate to “Christian baptism”. There are numerous other texts where the subject is raised without the word being mentioned (see John 3:5 and Titus 3:5 as two examples of this).

3. But the frequency with which the word occurs is less important than the company it keeps. We need to note what the New Testament writers and speakers link it with.

* Forgiveness of sins:Acts 2:38

* Washing away of sins:Acts 22:16

* Salvation: Mark 16:16;Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21

* Entering Christ:Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3

* Being born again:John 3:3-5

* Being clothed with Christ:Galatians 3:27

* Union with Christ's death:Romans 6:3

* Sharing his resurrection:Romans 4-5

* Receiving the Holy Spirit:Acts 2:38-39

* Entering Christ's Body:1 Corinthians 12:13

* An appeal for (or a pledge to keep) a good conscience before God:
       1 Peter 3:21

* Entering into the security of the name of the Father, Son and Holy
      Spirit: Matthew 28:19

4. We'll say something more about a number of these texts but this much must surely be clear: since baptism is linked with these foundational blessings and truths, it cannot be unimportant and we won't lightly dismiss it. (No matter what “we've always believed,” in our better moments we want the Scriptures to shape our understanding.)
                                 BAPTISM AND FAITH IN THE NT

5. Central in our response to God is faith (trust). Since we can't depend on our own goodness we must depend on his. It's that confession of need, that sense of utter dependence on God that is at the heart of faith. And faith is the heart of our response to God's gracious work in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that trusting submission has always been the right response of sinners to God.

6. When Israel marched around Jericho because God said so, faith wasn't absent, it was present-marching (Hebrews 11:30 ). When Noah built his ark as God had commanded, it was built by faith (Hebrews 11:7 ). When Abraham left his home in Ur and later in Haran the Bible says that was faith wandering (Hebrews 11:8-9 ). Modern people might distinguish between faith itself and faith in action, Bible writers wouldn't. In Genesis 15 Abraham simply believes God's promise and is 'justified by faith'. In Genesis 22 he offers his son and is 'justified by faith'. Both Paul and James quote the same scripture (Genesis 15:6 ) about two distinct events (see Romans 4:3 and James 2:21-23). True faith and the 'obedience of faith' are not separable. The word 'faith' like the word 'love' includes the appropriate response called for. It cannot and should not be confined to an internal attitude.

7. Acceptable baptism is always linked to faith in the NT writings. (The rise and history of 'infant baptism' is an interesting and challenging subject but you can't find it in the New Testament writings.) Those who did not trust would not be baptized (see Luke 7:29-30 with Matthew 3:7-8; 21:25). We are told repeatedly that those who believed were baptized; see Acts 8:12 , 38-41; 16:14-15 and 30-33; 18:8 as examples. Not only were these believers baptized, they were eager and joyful when they did so. See Acts 2:38-41; 8:8-12; 8:34-39; and 16:33-34.

8. This strong link between faith and baptism in the Christian faith makes perfect sense since baptism proclaims the central events of the Christian faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see piece 1). It is the truth about God's gracious work in Christ that convicts us of our own helplessness and compels us to trust in God. Faith's confession is made visible in baptism; faith's content is shown in baptism. While baptism is a distinct act the New Testament doesn't treat it apart from faith. When believers are baptized they are trusting God (see this especially clearly in Colossians 2:12 ). Baptism points away from the person being baptized to the one who died and rose to save the world-Jesus Christ. The very act of baptism is a confession of trust in someone other than ourselves. It doesn't point to us—it points to him! It denies self-trust and proclaims trust in the God who raised Christ from the dead. To separate baptism from trusting submission is to violate its character and the New Testament teaching.

9. Look at this from another angle. In the New Testament writings, the blessings that are offered to faith are offered in baptism. Paul insists that union with Christ is by grace through faith apart from human merit. But what is offered to faith is received in baptism for he says in Galatians 3:26-27: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ." In being baptized into Christ these people became sons of God "through faith," says the text.

10. Paul insists that receiving the Spirit is by faith (Galatians 3:2,14 ). No one merits this precious gift; there is no 'work' we can do that puts God in our debt so that he must give the Spirit to us as a seal, an anointing and a guarantee (see 2 Cor 1:22; Galatians 4:6 ). But what God promises to faith is received in baptism (Acts 2:38-39; Gal 3:26-27 with 4:6 ). See Acts 5:32; Titus 3:5 and compare Acts 19:1-7 with Ephesians 1:13-14.

11. Every New Testament writer insists that salvation is by faith apart from human merit. We hear that from Peter (Acts 15:10-11) and we read it throughout Paul's writings (Ephesians 2:6-8 and Romans 11:6 are especially clear). So it's clear that our goodness or our good works have no saving power but listen to what 1 Peter 3:21: "And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

12. Peter preached salvation by pure grace and insisted that salvation by our own goodness was a yoke none of us could bear (compare Acts 15:10-11 ). Just the same, here he tells us at least three things:

1. What baptism does.

2. What baptism is and is not.

3. How baptism saves us.

13. Peter simply says 'baptism saves you'. He will just as bluntly say 'faith saves you'. Salvation is given to faith in baptism as a free gift of God. There is no conflict between Christ's place as the only Saviour and our humbly submitting to him on his terms. Trusting sinners don't instruct the Lord or tell him what he can or cannot say, they joyfully and humbly submit to him (Acts 2:37-41 ). They will bring their creed into line with his Word when that Word is understood. His Word will shape their creed, not the reverse.

14. Baptism, according to Peter, is not a Jewish rite of purification of the body; it is not a removal of some physical defilement. No, baptism saves us as an 'appeal' for or a 'pledge' of a good conscience. It isn't clear how the Greek word eperotema should be translated. If 'pledge' as many scholars think, baptism is a formal pledge to keep a good conscience before God. If 'appeal' as other scholars insist, baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience. Baptism, says Peter, saves you—not as a physical or national purification but as an appeal for a good conscience before God. (See Hebrews 9:13-14.)

15. And where lies its saving power? Not in baptism or the faith which acts in baptism but in the redemptive deeds of God in Christ. "Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," says Peter. Because faith-baptism links us with the resurrection of Jesus Christ it is said to save us. Being baptized "into his death" and being "united with him in his resurrection"  (Romans 6:3-5 ) is how salvation comes to us in baptism (see Colossians 2:11-12 ).

16. The blessings which come from union with God in Christ are offered to faith in baptism. It is in baptism that faith expresses its helpless trust in God. Baptism is faith's confession of the Messiah who died and rose to save us because we couldn't save ourselves. It is in baptism our trusting hearts appeal to God for a good conscience. It is neither right nor wise to deny to God's ordinance of baptism the place his grace and wisdom have given it. Separating baptism from faith or dismissing it as optional—that we don't learn from God's Word.

From Mark Copeland... Sound Doctrine For Older Men ( Titus 2:1-2)

                         "THE EPISTLE TO TITUS"

                  Sound Doctrine For Older Men (2:1-2)


1. The task given to Titus was to "set in order the things that are
   a. Which involved appointing elders to shepherd the local churches
      - Tit 1:5-16
   b. It also including speaking things which are proper for sound
      doctrine - Tit 2:1-10

2. The word "sound" (hugiaino) means...
   a. Literally to be well, to be in good health - Thayer
   b. Sound doctrine is therefore that which is spiritually healthy,

3. Sound doctrine includes many things...
   a. Spiritual truths related to the gospel, the church, etc.
   b. But also exhortations related to godly conduct

[Such is certainly the case in our text, where "things which are proper
for sound doctrine" include how Christians are to be and act.  In this
study, we shall focus our attention on...]


      1. Sober (nephalios)
         a. Sober, temperate, self-controlled, especially in respect to
         b. Used metaphorically, meaning sober-minded, watchful,
         c. It is that state of mind which is free from the excessive
            influence of passion, lust or emotion - The Complete
            WordStudy Dictionary
      2. Reverent (semnos)
         a. Venerable, reverend, reputable, dignified
         b. It represents not only earthly dignity (kosmios), but that
            which is derived from a higher citizenship, a heavenly one,
            which is the possession of all believers
         c. There lies something of majestic and awe-inspiring qualities
            in semnos which does not repel but rather invites and
            attracts - ibid.
      3. Temperate (sophron)
         a. Discreet, sober, temperate, of a sound mind
         b. Self-disciplined in one's freedom, self-restrained in all
            passions and desires - ibid.
      -- Older men are to set the tone of a congregation by their
         sobriety, reverence and temperate nature

      1. Faith (pistis)
         a. Subjectively meaning firm persuasion, conviction, belief in
            the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (though rare)
         b. Objectively meaning that which is believed, doctrine, the
            received articles of faith - The Complete WordStudy
      2. Love (agape)
         a. Love, affectionate regard, goodwill, benevolence
         b. Spoken more especially of good will toward others, the love
            of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord Jesus
            commands and inspires - ibid.
      3. Patience (hupomone)
         a. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or
         b. This is in contrast to makrothumia, long-suffering or
            endurance toward people
         c. Associated with hope (1Th 1:3) and refers to that quality
            of character which does not allow one to surrender to
            circumstances or succumb under trial - ibid.
      -- Aged men may be unhealthy in body due to physical infirmities,
         but they are to be spiritually sound through an ever-increasing
         faith, love, and patience

[Older men often think their age is an excuse to let younger ones take
over in regards to the service of Christ and His church.  Yet God's Word
reveals otherwise.  Consider some...]


      1. They were chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage
      2. At the ages of 80 and 83 - cf. Exo 7:7
      3. When they were already past the normal life span - cf. Psa 90:10 (written by Moses)
      -- Who did God chose to lead His people?  Men past their prime!

      1. Joshua was given the charge of leading the conquest of Canaan,
         during the last thirty years of his life (he lived until he was
         110) - cf. Josh 24:29
      2. Caleb was also very much involved, and he was in his eighties
         - cf. Josh 14:6-11
      -- Who did God use to fight His battles?  Aged men willing to take
         a stand!

   C. DANIEL...
      1. Served God from the days of his youth, for over 70 years! - cf.
         Dan 1:21
      2. Was well over eighty when he...
         a. Served as one of three governors over the kingdom of Babylon
            - Dan 6:1-3
         b. Was thrown into the lions' den - Dan 6:4-27
         c. Prospered in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus the Persian
            - Dan 6:28
      -- Who did God use to stand as a beacon to the world?  A man who
         could have said, "Haven't I done enough?"

      1. As he refers to himself in Phm 1:9
      2. Yet we know at this time in his life, he was busy
         a. Writing letters (Ep, Co, Ph, Phe), while under house arrest
         b. Traveling, visiting, encouraging churches, after he was
      -- Who did God use to reveal half the New Testament?  A man who
         refused to retire!

      1. Evangelists, elders, missionaries, ministering into their
         eighties and beyond
      2. Other dedicated Christian men I have known, active in local
         church work
      3. Men who would rather wear out than rust out
      -- Who does God use today?  Aged men who refuse to stop working
         for the Lord!


1. It is not enough to be considered "sound" (healthy) just because...
   a. We stood for the truth in the past
   b. We served in the church for many years in the past

2. An aged man who is spiritually sound continues to be...
   a. Sober, reverent, and temperate
   b. Healthy in faith, love, and patience
   c. Willing to serve whenever and wherever His Lord gives him the

Yes, sound doctrine calls for aged men to "bear fruit in old age", as
David described in his psalm....

   The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow
   like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house
   of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They
   shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and
   flourishing, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my
   rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. - Ps 92:12-15

And as Paul wrote in his epistle...

   Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man
   is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
                                                    - 2Co 4:16

Do not let our age excuse us from continuing to grow and serve...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 11

Bible Reading  

February 11

The World English Bible

Feb. 11
Genesis 42

Gen 42:1 Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?"
Gen 42:2 He said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy for us from there, so that we may live, and not die."
Gen 42:3 Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
Gen 42:4 But Jacob didn't send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers; for he said, "Lest perhaps harm happen to him."
Gen 42:5 The sons of Israel came to buy among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
Gen 42:6 Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth.
Gen 42:7 Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but acted like a stranger to them, and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, "Where did you come from?" They said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food."
Gen 42:8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn't recognize him.
Gen 42:9 Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them, and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land."
Gen 42:10 They said to him, "No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food.
Gen 42:11 We are all one man's sons; we are honest men. Your servants are not spies."
Gen 42:12 He said to them, "No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land."
Gen 42:13 They said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more."
Gen 42:14 Joseph said to them, "It is like I told you, saying, 'You are spies.'
Gen 42:15 By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go forth from here, unless your youngest brother comes here.
Gen 42:16 Send one of you, and let him get your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies."
Gen 42:17 He put them all together into custody for three days.
Gen 42:18 Joseph said to them the third day, "Do this, and live, for I fear God.
Gen 42:19 If you are honest men, then let one of your brothers be bound in your prison; but you go, carry grain for the famine of your houses.
Gen 42:20 Bring your youngest brother to me; so will your words be verified, and you won't die." They did so.
Gen 42:21 They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn't listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us."
Gen 42:22 Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Don't sin against the child,' and you wouldn't listen? Therefore also, behold, his blood is required."
Gen 42:23 They didn't know that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them.
Gen 42:24 He turned himself away from them, and wept. Then he returned to them, and spoke to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes.
Gen 42:25 Then Joseph gave a command to fill their bags with grain, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them food for the way. So it was done to them.
Gen 42:26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed from there.
Gen 42:27 As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey food in the lodging place, he saw his money. Behold, it was in the mouth of his sack.
Gen 42:28 He said to his brothers, "My money is restored! Behold, it is in my sack!" Their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling one to another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"
Gen 42:29 They came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan, and told him all that had happened to them, saying,
Gen 42:30 "The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country.
Gen 42:31 We said to him, 'We are honest men. We are no spies.
Gen 42:32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.'
Gen 42:33 The man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your houses, and go your way.
Gen 42:34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. So I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.' "
Gen 42:35 It happened as they emptied their sacks, that behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.
Gen 42:36 Jacob, their father, said to them, "You have bereaved me of my children! Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me."
Gen 42:37 Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "Kill my two sons, if I don't bring him to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him to you again."
Gen 42:38 He said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he only is left. If harm happens to him along the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

From Gary... And then there is "Stinky"

 From Wikipedia....

A porcupine is any of 29 species of rodent belonging to the families Erethizontidae (genera: Coendou, Sphiggurus, Erethizon, Echinoprocta, and Chaetomys) or Hystricidae (genera: Atherurus, Hystrix, and Trichys).....

The two subfamilies of New World porcupines are mostly smaller (although the North American Porcupine reaches about 85 cm or 33 in in length and 18 kg or 40 lb), have their quills attached singly rather than grouped in clusters, and are excellent climbers, spending much of their time in trees.....  Porcupines have a relatively high longevity and had held the record for being the longest-living rodent,[11] until it was recently broken by the naked mole rat.[12]....


Porcupines: I really didn't intend to put anything on the blog about them; and then along came the above video.  This video was a surprise to me, for the only experience I have ever had with these little guys was a second-hand one.  When I was about eight or nine, I remember my father shooting one of dogs because they had thousands upon thousands of porcupine quills embedded in them.  I remember this happening, but not all the details- just that the dog was in intense agony and shooting it was an act of mercy.  So, to see a porcupine acting like a puppy, well, I don't really have a word beyond surprise- if I did, it would apply (absolutely)!!!  This little "puppy" reminded me of something in the Scriptures, something wonderful- a serendipity, in point of fact....

Acts, Chapter 9
26 When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.  27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

Saul had become a Christian by God's grace, but he had been such an ardent persecutor of the church, it is no wonder that the disciples were afraid of him!!!  His reputation preceded him!!!  But, if porcupines can do the unexpected, then people can really change as well!!!  But, be careful in what you think and what you do- Notice, the handler in the video was wear very, very thick GLOVES!!!!

and then there is that thing about the word "surprise". Nothing seems to really fit.  However, there are candidates- Revelation, amaze, astonish, stupefy, flabbergast and dumbfound are the best candidates.  Somehow, the word "WOW" just keeps coming to my mind...  If you think of a better one, let me know....