bibliology / study of the Bible itself

Autocorrect

Thursday, April 27, 2017

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59 KJV).

When we approach Scripture, may we be willing to let it automatically correct us!

In this age of computers, especially smartphones and other personal electronic devices, we have become more associated, for better or worse, with a feature called “autocorrect.” If you have typed a word or letter by mistake, special software automatically corrects your error. This is very handy—especially if you are a poor speller. However, the downside is that the computer may misinterpret you. Perhaps you wish to spell someone’s name, a location, or a specialized term—something probably not found in the average dictionary. Or, maybe you are quoting words that were originally misspelled. Perhaps you are using a foreign word. Whatever the case, the automatic “correction” is damaging rather than helpful. “Autocorrect” would be incorrect!

Sadly, people, even professing Christians, function just like autocorrect software and “correct” the Bible. They mean well—hopefully—but they are better off not commenting about matters in which they are unskilled. They have an overestimation of their Bible understanding: they believe they are qualified to change Scripture at will. Just as the software would “think” a unique word is misspelled, so people assume they can adjust God’s words to make them fit human reasoning. This flawed approach to Scripture drives textual criticism—the “scholarly” science of “reconstructing” the Bible text that was supposedly “lost” in the centuries since the Apostles. These “restorations” are a series of critical works surviving even to this present hour—namely, Greek New Testaments (about 30 different ones) and their resulting English translations (100-plus different ones)!

It is silly to point out, but it must be said. Computer software, since it is not living, cannot approach the Bible in faith. We, however, can and should use spiritual understanding to see why the King James Bible text says what it does, before we mindlessly change what it says. Whenever we alter the Bible, we cannot fathom the depths of ignorance in which we have just placed ourselves. Friends, we do not correct the Bible; it is perfect (Proverbs 30:5,6). Brethren, we let the Bible correct us; we are imperfect (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Start in Romans #1

Monday, April 10, 2017

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Why should people new to the Bible begin in the Book of Romans? Today’s Scripture tells us.

Second Timothy chapter 3 contains the most well-known Bible verses: “[15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). “Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” actually defines “given by inspiration of God.” God the Holy Spirit spoke words, and He wrote them down and preserved them for us in our language. In English, that is the King James Bible (or, “Authorized Version”). Other languages have their own version, but they do not concern us here.

Second Timothy 3:16 affirms three primary purposes of Scripture—“doctrine” (tell us what we should believe), “reproof” (show us what we are doing wrong), and “correction” (remedy our bad thinking). These three elements will “instruct [teach] us in righteousness.” They will show us how God wants us to live, “that [purpose or intent] the man of God may be perfect, [not sinless but] throughly furnished unto all good works” (verse 17). The Holy Bible alone teaches us everything God wants us to believe, and it equips us to do everything He wants us to accomplish. Authority is not in church councils, preachers, priests, popes, doctrinal statements, hunches, impressions, creeds, et cetera. The authority is in the written Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

In light of God’s present-day dealings with mankind, there is a special way to use the Bible text. Failure to approach Holy Writ, God’s way, will cause us more damage than had we never read the Bible. Friends, we must remember today’s Scripture if we are to make sense of all Scripture….

Believe the Translation!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

…And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, (Acts 21:40b KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript translations?

One charge frequently leveled against the King James Bible is that it is a “mere translation.” We all know the complaint—“Language limitations prevent perfect translations from one tongue to another.” Friend, you talk about being a King James Bible believer long enough, and you will find yourself in a strange predicament. You will discover that Christians—even preachers and teachers—will denounce you for being a “translation fanatic.” Yes, as dumb as it sounds, professing Christians will criticize you for believing the Bible you can read in your own language and understand! Why?

They contend that you must appeal to the original Bible languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek—to get the Bible’s “full” meaning. (This is carried over from Roman Catholicism: you must come to the priest and his “Latin” if you want to hear from God. The “Latin” is also a translation, by the way!) Ironically, the same “scholarly” people who fault you for using a Bible translation actually advertise their own pet translation. The “LXX” (“70”), commonly called the Septuagint, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Scholars often quote, not the Hebrew Old Testament, but rather the Greek Old Testament. They resort to the receptor language (Greek), when they, according to their rule, should be using the source language (Hebrew)! (After all, they tell us not to use the English Bible but rather the original Greek New Testament and the original Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament!)

Friend, let me tell you something that you will almost never hear in any church or other Bible institution. Never, ever forget it! The Holy Bible, even in the original languages and original manuscripts, had translations within it. (Horrors!) Just look at today’s Scripture. The Bible says Paul spoke the next 21 verses in Hebrew; scholars know that Luke wrote Acts in Greek. There is no manuscript of Paul speaking in Hebrew. Evidently, God the Holy Spirit thought that that Greek translation of Paul’s sermon in Hebrew was sufficient for us to believe! Do we?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘If God peradventure will give them repentance…?’

Resolute to Speak in Christ!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV).

Despite all the corrupters, we will keep God’s Word pure!

I periodically receive emails from discouraged grace believers, people “beaten up” by denominationalists. Whether in-person or on social media, they have encountered much opposition. (I know!) Individuals constantly attack the King James Bible as “faulty” and “a mere translation.” Jesus Christ’s crosswork means nothing to them because their religious works mean everything to them. There is much anti-grace rhetoric (legalism). Individuals viciously ridicule the Apostle Paul. Dispensational Bible study is questioned and denigrated as “nutty” and “cultic.”

This should neither surprise nor discourage us. Whether today, or throughout Bible history, very few follow Father God. Never forget, my dear brethren, Noah preached for 120 years, and all he converted was seven precious souls (2 Peter 2:5)! Untold millions mocked and refused to hear him, thus perishing in the Great Deluge. Pride kept them from entering that Ark, eternally damning them. Even today, pride keeps billions of lost people from being saved by trusting Christ as personal Saviour (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, pride prevents millions of Christians from “coming to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Some 2,000 years ago, people were “wresting” (perverting) the Scriptures—especially Paul’s epistles—to their spiritual destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16). When we learn of so many people today vilifying Jesus Christ, the King James Bible, Paul, and dispensational Bible study, we recall today’s Scripture: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

A disheartened grace believer recently wrote to me concerning the hostility: “After it’s done beating me up a bit I tend to try to redouble my resolve to know the word of grace.” In other words, the opposition motivates him to endeavor to learn about God’s grace even more! (It took me years to gain that same attitude, but I agree 1000 percent!!) The more they question God’s truth; the more we reinforce it in our minds, over and over and over again. Daily, constantly, eternally! 🙂

Large Print #3

Monday, January 30, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Paul’s physical vision was greatly hindered. Consequently, he wrote in large, block letters (especially with Galatians). What caused his vision issues? Various explanations have been offered. Perhaps it was permanent damage caused by the bright glory of Jesus Christ that he saw in Acts 9:1-9. After all, he had spent the next three days blind! While God through believing Ananias miraculously restored Paul’s vision, there could have been lasting effects. Another idea was that Paul suffered chronic “conjunctivitis” (commonly called “pink eye,” “ophthalmia,” or eye inflammation). Yet another possibility is that his poor eyesight was the result of abuse, physical violence inflicted by ruthless unbelievers. While conducting his “Acts” ministry, performing miraculous demonstrations, Paul himself battled physical infirmities (Galatians 4:13-15; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Regardless of why Paul had poor eyesight, the text of Galatians, likely his first epistle, was quite LARGE (today’s Scripture). It was not without benefit to the Galatians, saints caught in Satan’s snare (2 Timothy 2:26) and needing the Holy Spirit to send them a clear, attention-grabbing correction. Galatians’ GIANT letters screamed of Paul’s unique apostleship (1:1,11,12,16,17,19,22; 2:8; et cetera) and screamed of his special Gospel message (2:2,7,9,16,20,21; et cetera). “You are to follow Paul, not Moses!” “You are under Grace, not Law!” “Paul is not an extension of the 12 Apostles!” “Paul’s Gospel is your Gospel message!” “You are Gentiles in the Body of Christ, not members of the nation Israel!”

Saints, while neither time nor space permits us to discuss it in-depth, read the conclusion of Galatians (today’s Scripture to the end—only eight verses). You can see the Holy Spirit through Paul urging the Galatians one final time to leave the stipulations of the Mosaic Law, works-religion, and enjoy God’s grace, peace, and victory. Paul had limited physical sight, but this epistle to Galatia is a real “eye-opener,” giving great insight to us today, that we may have the same stunningly clear spiritual sight he had! (In one last twist of irony, people in religion today often enjoy physical sight, but are blind to the blatant teachings of Galatians.)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is the ‘child’ of Revelation 12:1-5?

Large Print #2

Sunday, January 29, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Paul usually employed a secretary to physically write his epistles; he would sign his name at the end as a sign of authority (see Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). However, Galatians was unique. Its autograph—or original manuscript—was physically written entirely by Paul. The Apostle was in such a hurry to “sound the alarm” for the Galatians to beware of the doctrinal error besieging them. He had no time to wait for a secretary to come and assist! Since Paul penned Galatians entirely by himself, that original manuscript was exceptionally striking. It easily grabbed the attention of its readers.

In Galatians chapter 4, verses 13-15, we see the following: “[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. [15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” These few verses actually allow us to learn about Paul the man. Doubtless, our beloved brother suffered severe vision problems. We can imagine his eyes straining to see to write. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit superintended, so that not a word or letter was lost as Galatians was literally drafted on papyrus.

Dear friends, had we seen the original manuscript of Galatians, the first thing to grab our attention would be its text. It would have been very large Greek letters. It would be no different from today’s large-print Bibles—whose fonts are designed for easy readability. However, in the case of Galatians, the words were not written large for the sake of visually-impaired readers. No, those large letters were for the benefit of the visually-impaired writer, so he could see exactly what he was penning. Then again, there is a strong indication that those large letters were written for the readers’ benefit as well….

Large Print #1

Saturday, January 28, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Over half of the Book of Acts (chapters 13-28) documents the efforts the Holy Spirit wrought through Paul the Apostle. Paul’s ministry during that time abounded with various and sundry miracles. We read of his first miracle in chapter 13—the temporary blinding of a satanically-inspired Jew (picturing sinful Israel’s temporary blindness during our current Dispensation of Grace). Chapters 14, 16, 19, 20, and 28 highlight some of his other major miracles—bodily healings, exorcisms, at least one man being raised from the dead, Paul surviving a venomous snake bite, and so on. The Epistle to the Galatians, including today’s Scripture, was likely Paul’s earliest Book. It not only vehemently defends his unique apostleship (separate and distinct from the 12 Apostles), but also underscores his unique message (grace as opposed to law/legalism).

In the opening 10 verses of Galatians, we grasp the epistle’s purpose and urgency. (Please read them in your own Bible.) False teachers have surreptitiously entered the grace churches of Galatia (central Turkey); they are using the Bible (Law of Moses), but not rightly dividing it. They are mixing Law and Grace, and thereby deceiving the Galatian saints. Hence, instead of employing a secretary (or amanuensis—see Romans 16:22), Paul himself is hurriedly penning Galatians. He must warn the brethren to immediately cease from fellowshipping with doctrinal perverts!

The Apostle writes in today’s Scripture that he has composed “how large a letter.” Yet, when we examine Galatians, in English, it only has 3,098 words and six chapters and 149 verses (King James Bible). Ephesians is approximately the same length, yet it is never called “large.” In fact, the Book of 2 Corinthians is nearly double that, yet never referred to as “large.” The Books of Romans and 1 Corinthians, each weighing in at nearly 9,500 English words, are enormous, but Scripture never calls them “large” either. What made Galatians such a “large” letter? An additional question we pose is—could the Holy Spirit have had a secret reason for it being “large” in that sense?

Please take some moments to think about it!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are ‘the princes of this world’ of 1 Corinthians 2:6-8?