From Jim McGuiggan... Bible versions and ministers

Bible versions and ministers

It was in The Expository Times (1993, 105.1), in a book review, that J. R Watson said, "In earlier generations, the Bible was a living book, known and loved, familiar and treasured. I ascribe its loss not only to the secularization of our society but to other things: most obviously to the seemingly endless series of piddling new translations—New English, Jerusalem, Revised Standard, Good News, New International, Revised English—which come out of the presses year by year. Their very proliferation is self-defeating: now, instead of one text, which not everyone could understand but which everyone was able to remember, we have a polytext, which everyone can understand and no one can remember. Ichabod, as Ukridge said, Ichabod." [It took me a while to find the above but it was worth the trouble. That simply demands to be quoted.]

I think the fuss over versions is worth making and it's to our benefit that specialists, who have a genuine concern that "the word of the Lord" gets to people, speak up in critical assessment. I do get a bit exercised at those whose criticism amounts to nothing more than that the version under scrutiny doesn't support the theological views of the reviewer. There's little point in pretending that we don't know that Taylor's Living Bible and Peterson's The Message aren't much more than commentaries; but then that criticism can be levelled at all versions to some degree and some major versions to a great degree.

I would have thought that a new translation should be significantly different in certain ways from previous translations or there's little point in publishing it. If the boast of a new translation is accuracy then there's the implication that all the other versions are sufficiently wide of the mark in areas that really matter that the publishers felt compelled to bring out a new version. If the claim is that the English is "more up to date" then we have to ask ourselves if English speech has changed so radically over the past two decades that another full scale translation is required. Does anyone really believe that?

I have no special literary expertise so I'm not able to do much by way of criticism or praise of elegance or smoothness or flow or such things. I know the difference between sustained slang and chattiness and I know I prefer to read authors who know how to write recognisably good prose. But I think we can quickly make too much of a version's "majestic prose" and the aesthetic effect it can have on us. I'm not sure that the quality of expression [beyond avoiding a stiff woodenness on one end and chatty slang on the other)—I'm not sure that the quality of expression should be a major concern. Should we not want it to flow nicely, have an appealing rhythm and cadence? Yes, I would suppose we should aim for that but I think it's a secondary issue. I'm certain we'd all agree that first and foremost what we want, is to hear what Paul or Peter or Jesus or John said so we can wrestle with them and if we can get that in pleasing English, so much the better. Fine English literary qualities must surely matter but they must not be allowed to matter too much.
Still, no matter what version the people have in their hands, after that comes the matter of interpretation, proclamation and embodiment. It's possible for preachers to go on and on about the shortcomings of this or that translation after which they climb into the pulpit and paraphrase the life out of Jesus and his followers. Haven't I seen it countless times in my life? God forgive me, haven't I done it? Here's a preacher with his preferred version ("the only one worth having, one that renders the original perfectly in majestic English prose") reading the text and then "explaining" it without ever having really worked with it before he mounted the pulpit!   If a translation fell down out of heaven from God's printing press into everyone's lap we'd still be short-changed by teachers who are too lazy to develop the prophet's point or Matthew's point before enlisting them in support of his/her agenda.

I don't deny that there are hosts of us that are fervent Bible readers but I think we'd be fools not to recognise that the most of us depend on ministers of the Word for our understanding of what our preferred versions say. If scholars are depending on we the rank and file to know which version is best then their education hasn't given them a full quota of common sense. Between the word of the Lord and the rank and file stand those that minister the Word. God gave us a Bible but he also gave us teachers.

I think the quarrel over versions is a good quarrel when it's done by qualified and committed people but they can only do so much to save us from being deprived of the word of the Lord. After the preacher/teacher has given his judgement about the right version or "the best version" let him see to it that he gives the correct and faithful rendering a thorough listening to and a faithful delivery. If versions should be held accountable for delivering the word of the Lord to the people so should ministers.

I confess I have more fear of ministers than I have of versions.

The "Not" in the Devil's Tale by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The "Not" in the Devil's Tale

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Someone coined the title of this article many years ago. They were referring, of course, to the incident recorded in Genesis chapter three where Satan coaxed Eve into eating the forbidden fruit by assuring her that if she were to do so, she would become like God (3:5). Though God had previously informed her through her husband that “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (2:17), Satan boldly disputed such a directive by inserting the word “not” in the very same statement: “You will not surely die” (3:4, emp. added). He took precisely the same sentence that God Himself had uttered, and simply inserted the three-letter word “not.”
Contemplate the gall of Satan. Ponder the absolute audacity of the devil in his willingness to pervert the Word of God by the simple insertion of such a small, seemingly insignificant word. Yet that simple three-letter insertion into the sentence articulated by God completely reversed the truth of the matter. It made it appear as if the truth was the exact opposite of what God had actually said. It countermanded God’s Word on the matter and set in its place a falsehood that was in diametric opposition to God’s will.
Besides the devil, who would dare to do such a dastardly deed? Surely not those who claim to be Christians! Surely not preachers and teachers of the Bible! Surely, only those who deny the Bible, who reject it as uninspired and a mere concoction of humans, would so tamper with God’s Word as to negate a positive, unambiguous declaration of Scripture. Yet God did warn that even from among Christians would arise those who would distort, deny, and push aside His instructions. Jesus Himself warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Peter agreed: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” (2 Peter 2:1). John added his voice of caution: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Paul claimed that even from among church officials, some would rise up and speak misleading things (Acts 20:30).
In view of these forthright words of warning and anticipation, one cannot help but be utterly amazed, even shocked, that so many who claim to be Christian have rejected the God-ordained role of water baptism in His redemptive scheme. The “faith only” perspective that was expounded during the Protestant Reformation, and has since permeated Christendom, displaced water baptism from its divinely assigned position. Rather than being the line of demarcation between the sinner and the saint, as the New Testament everywhere affirms, baptism has been relegated to an after-the-fact symbol—a post-conversion “outward expression” of the forgiveness previously achieved at the point of faith.
Though many New Testament verses expound the proper role of water immersion as intended by God, thereby weaving a consistent and harmonious picture throughout inspired Writ (e.g., Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12,13,16,36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:5; 5:26; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22), one is sufficient to demonstrate the absurd lengths to which so many theologians have gone to discount the biblical treatment of baptism: 1 Peter 3:21. In this verse, Peter announced very simply: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us” (KJV, emp. added). The ASV words it: “which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism.” The NKJV has it: “There is also now an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism.” The NASB words it: “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.”
What have the majority of commentators, theologians, and church authorities done with this verse? They have danced, twisted, and turned in every direction to evade the unambiguous import of the verse. Since they previously embraced a false theory of salvation—i.e., salvation by “faith alone” without any further acts of obedience on the part of the believer—they have had to engage in hermeneutical gymnastics and exegetical hocus-pocus to avoid the force of these verses that pinpoint the place of water baptism. In short, they have been pressured into doing precisely what Satan did in his discourse with Eve. They have had to take a very straightforward, unmistakable statement by the apostle Peter and insert the same three-letter word that Satan himself inserted: “not.” “Baptism doth also now not save us;” “There is also now an antitype which now does not save us, namely baptism;” “And corresponding to that, baptism now does not save you.” The gall and unmitigated audacity that accompanies such tampering with Scripture will surely be shown in eternity to be no different from the ploy of Satan himself.

From Mark Copeland... The Insufficiency Of The Scriptures (John 5:37-40)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

             The Insufficiency Of The Scriptures (5:37-40)


1. The all-sufficiency of the Scriptures is an important doctrine...
   a. For the Scriptures are completely adequate - 2Ti 3:16-17
   b. God has provided all that we need for life and godliness - 2 Pe 1:3
   c. We do not need further revelation, we have the faith delivered
      "once for all" to the saints - Jude 3
   -- Thus we have that which is able to build us up and give us our
      inheritance - Ac 20:32

2. Yet there can come a time... when the Scriptures are insufficient...
   a. When despite its power, the Word of God is unable to save
   b. When despite diligent study, it does not benefit those who search
      through it
   -- There can be a time when the Scriptures are insufficient!

3. We find such an occasion in the gospel of John...
   a. When Jesus was confronted by unbelieving Jews - cf. Jn 5:16-18
   b. Who had rejected various sources bearing witness to Jesus - cf. Jn 5:33-36

[In what serves as our text (Jn 5:37-40), we learn when and how the
Scriptures can be insufficient, as it proved to be in the case of the


      1. As indicated in our text - Jn 5:39
         a. The KJV has Jesus commanding them to search the Scriptures
         b. The ASV, NKJV, NASB has Jesus acknowledging their study of
            the Scriptures
         c. "The form here can be either present active indicative
            second person plural or the present active imperative second
            person plural. Only the context can decide. Either makes
            sense here, but the reason given 'because ye think' (clearly
            indicative), supports the indicative rather than the
            imperative." - Robertson's Word Pictures
      2. The Jews were diligent students of the Scriptures
         a. Moses was read in the synagogues every Sabbath - cf. Ac 15:
         b. "Hillel used to say, 'More law, more life...He who has
            gotten himself words of law has gotten himself the life of
            the world to come' (Talmud). In their zeal for the
            Scriptures the Jews had counted every letter of them,
            expecting to find life in the laws and precepts..."
            - McGarvey's Fourfold Gospel
      -- One could hardly be a more diligent student of the Scriptures
         than the Jews!

      1. They were unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures
         testified - Jn 5:39-40
      2. Failing to believe in Jesus led to the Father's Word not
         abiding in them - cf. Jn 5:38
      -- Unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures testified,
         the Scriptures proved insufficient to be the Word of life for

[How sad that many Jews who had the benefit of receiving "the oracles of
God" (Ro 3:1-2) and studied them so diligently fell short of receiving
their true benefit.  Yet the same occurs often today...]


      1. Indeed we should be diligent students of the Word!
         a. The gospel is God's power to save - Ro 1:16
         b. The Word of God is living and powerful - He 4:12
         c. The Word is able to save our souls - Jm 1:21
         d. The Word is able to make one born again - 1Pe 1:22
         e. The Word is able to help us grow - 1Pe 2:2
         f. The Word is able to give us that inheritance among those
            sanctified - Ac 20:32
      2. Many people are diligent students of the Word!
         a. Every denomination has its scholars, people well-versed in
            the Word
         b. People read the Bible daily, study it in church frequently
         c. Some can even quote entire sections from memory
      -- Many are like the Berean Jews in their study of the Scriptures
         - Ac 17:11

      1. If we do not have faith - He 4:1-2
         a. We may come short of our promised rest
         b. Like the Israelites who fell in the wilderness
      2. If we are not doers of the Word
         a. If we are only hearers, we deceive ourselves - Jm 1:21-25
         b. If we are only hearers, we will not stand in times of trial
            - Mt 7:24-27
      -- Unless we believe and obey the Word of God , it remains
         insufficient to save us!


1. The Word of God is truly all-sufficient..
   a. To do the work God designed it do - Isa 55:10-11
   b. To bear fruit in the noble and good heart - Lk 8:11,15

2. Yet "people of the Book" (as the Koran calls Jews and Christians)
   should take heed...
   a. The Word cannot bear fruit in some hearts - Lk 8:12-14
   b. We must let the Word lead us to Him Who is the giver of life - cf.
      Jn 5:40

Indeed, "the all-sufficiency of the Word" must be understood in its
context, for the Word alone does not save.  To be saved we also need
faith (Jn 8:24), we need blood (Ep 1:7), we even need water (Ep 5:26),
the last being an allusion to baptism where the Word, God's grace,
Christ's blood and our faith comes together to provide remission of
sins! - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading September 29

Bible Reading  

September 29

The World English Bible

Sept. 29
Psalms 115-117

Psa 115:1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give glory, for your loving kindness, and for your truth's sake.
Psa 115:2 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God, now?"
Psa 115:3 But our God is in the heavens. He does whatever he pleases.
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but they don't speak. They have eyes, but they don't see.
Psa 115:6 They have ears, but they don't hear. They have noses, but they don't smell.
Psa 115:7 They have hands, but they don't feel. They have feet, but they don't walk, neither do they speak through their throat.
Psa 115:8 Those who make them will be like them; yes, everyone who trusts in them.
Psa 115:9 Israel, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:10 House of Aaron, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:11 You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:12 Yahweh remembers us. He will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel. He will bless the house of Aaron.
Psa 115:13 He will bless those who fear Yahweh, both small and great.
Psa 115:14 May Yahweh increase you more and more, you and your children.
Psa 115:15 Blessed are you by Yahweh, who made heaven and earth.
Psa 115:16 The heavens are the heavens of Yahweh; but the earth has he given to the children of men.
Psa 115:17 The dead don't praise Yah, neither any who go down into silence;
Psa 115:18 But we will bless Yah, from this time forth and forevermore. Praise Yah!
Psa 116:1 I love Yahweh, because he listens to my voice, and my cries for mercy.
Psa 116:2 Because he has turned his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Psa 116:3 The cords of death surrounded me, the pains of Sheol got a hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow.
Psa 116:4 Then I called on the name of Yahweh: "Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul."
Psa 116:5 Yahweh is Gracious and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful.
Psa 116:6 Yahweh preserves the simple. I was brought low, and he saved me.
Psa 116:7 Return to your rest, my soul, for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you.
Psa 116:8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
Psa 116:9 I will walk before Yahweh in the land of the living.
Psa 116:10 I believed, therefore I said, "I was greatly afflicted."
Psa 116:11 I said in my haste, "All men are liars."
Psa 116:12 What will I give to Yahweh for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of Yahweh.
Psa 116:14 I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people.
Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of Yahweh is the death of his saints.
Psa 116:16 Yahweh, truly I am your servant. I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have freed me from my chains.
Psa 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on the name of Yahweh.
Psa 116:18 I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people,
Psa 116:19 in the courts of Yahweh's house, in the midst of you, Jerusalem. Praise Yah!

Psa 117:1 Praise Yahweh, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples!
Psa 117:2 For his loving kindness is great toward us. Yahweh's faithfulness endures forever. Praise Yah!

Sept. 29
2 Corinthians 9

2Co 9:1 It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints,
2Co 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for a year past. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them.
2Co 9:3 But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared,
2Co 9:4 so that I won't by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting.
2Co 9:5 I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness.
2Co 9:6 Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2Co 9:7 Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work.
2Co 9:9 As it is written, "He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever."
2Co 9:10 Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;
2Co 9:11 you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which works through us thanksgiving to God.
2Co 9:12 For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God;
2Co 9:13 seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all;
2Co 9:14 while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you.
2Co 9:15 Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!

From Gary... Blessings

While Linda and I sat drinking coffee this morning, our dogs came up to us looking for a treat.  While this is nothing new- still it made me think of something. Since they came to our home, both Linda and I laugh more; our home is a better place to live. And today I am filled with happiness; God has blessed me in so many ways, not just the physical ones, either.  You can't put a price tag on feeling positive towards the day before you, being in good health, smiling or laughing.  Life is more than the physical. And then there is the appreciation of what God has done and will do...

Matthew 6:25-34 NASB
(25)  "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
(26)  "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
(27)  "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
(28)  "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
(29)  yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
(30)  "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
(31)  "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'
(32)  "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(33)  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(34)  "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I thank God that for that little episode at the table this morning, and for the message of the graphic above.  More than these things, verse 33 has become even more meaningful for me along with the following verse from Ephesians...

Ephesians 1:3 NASB
(3)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
I intend to spend some extra time in prayer today; thanking God for what HE HAS DONE IN MY LIFE.  I encourage you to do the same. Enough said!!!