Just as all religions aren’t the same, modern Bible translations are also different. How can we tell which one’s best? Why does it matter?
Well, if we’re not committed to obeying our bible then it really doesn’t matter; we’ll go with whatever happens to make us feel good … hardly noticing when it encourages men to abuse their families, as most of our English translations actually do.
But if we’re hiding our bible in our heart, meditating on it daily and conforming our lives to every word of it, then the version we choose makes all the difference: we should trust it as God’s inspired Word. Is any translation worthy of our trust? How can we know?
As it turns out, I don’t think we need a seminary degree to nail this one; no need to master ancient biblical languages. The history of where our bibles came from sheds some invaluable light: most of our English translations are based on blatant absurdity: The Syrian Recension.
Of the few that remain, the King James Version (KJV) empowered two Great Awakenings, was the backbone of the English speaking world for nearly 300 years, and is the only English bible to have ever been generally accepted as inspired by God’s people. In my humble opinion, this one’s a no-brainer.
The Bible isn’t just any old book; it’s alive and powerful. (He 4:12) God’s Word is food for our soul (Je 15:16), a light to our way (Ps 119:105), a map for our journey(1Ti 3:16-17), and the Spirit’s sword, our weapon of war. (Ep 6:17) Let’s choose our bible wisely; pick one we trust, and obey it as the very Word of God to us. Our spiritual health depends on it.
Most evangelical Christians seem to believe the end of the age is upon us, that Christ’s second coming is just around the corner. I’ve found this common in bible-believing circles since the late 70’s … I’ve seldom met an earnest believer that felt otherwise. Evidently, Christians have been feeling this way ever since Christ departed, nearly two millennia ago.
Yet Paul begs us not to expect Messiah’s return prematurely. (2Th 2:1-2) Have we been overlooking something basic? Perhaps a little gullible in our exuberance?
God’s told us there’ll be a vast change in humanity prior to His return, a wickedness like nothing we’ve ever seen … what He describes as “a falling away.” (2Th 2:3) A city He calls Babylon the Great will rise to supreme dominance in world affairs, the cornerstone of global economic and political power, as well as the epicenter of a new global occult religion. These kinds of things don’t generally happen overnight; as of now, she’s nowhere in sight.
Yes, the world’s wicked (1Jn 5:19) and bad things happen: economies grow and collapse, global powers rise and fall, deadly new diseases appear, social norms drift and natural disasters disrupt it all … and it’s always been this way. (Mk 13:7-8)
Two millennia ago, a Roman governor asked the Prince of Life a profound question: What is truth?(Jn 18:38) We’re still wrestling with the same kind of questions today. How do we identify truth? What does it mean? Why does it matter?
Truth is anything that is true … that aligns with reality. It’s good to be aligned with reality … the alternative, being at war with reality itself, can’t be good.
So when this Prince of Life (Ac 3:14-15) says “I am the truth,” (Jn 14:6) what’s He saying?
Christ is always perfectly aligned with all of reality … which makes Him the definition of truth itself; all truth is always perfectly aligned with Him. As we are aligned with Christ we are of the truth, in harmony with reality in all its shades and forms. (Jn 18:37) So as we cherish any lie we separate ourselves from Christ, misaligning our minds and hearts with reality.
Let’s value truth supremely, seeking it wherever we can find it. Buy the truth and never sell it, not for any price. (Pr 23:23) I alone will die with my beliefs — no one else; it makes me who I am. It’s the love of truth that parts children of light from darkness (1Th 5:5); everyone else will perish. (2Th 2:10-12)
To fellowship with God we walk in the light. (1Jn 1:7-8) What does this mean, to walk in the light?
Light enables us to see; we discern our environment as light reflects off of it. Similarly, God’s revelation in Creation (1Ti 6:20), in Scripture (Ps 119:105), and in Christ (Jn 8:12) enables us to see our spiritual world; as we meditate on Him in every circumstance of life, evaluating and discerning in light of God’s ways and laws, His truth reflects off all about us and enables us to see.
To walk in spiritual light then is to be aware of, inclined toward and aligned with truth, with God’s revelation in all its forms. It’s being honest and open with God, with facts, with science, with history, and with His Word — both Scripture and His Son — with all of reality, aligning ourselves with Him as best we can through truth … all truth.
It’s looking at all sides of every question without fear or bias, refusing to accept inconsistency and contradiction in our faith, prayerfully and humbly exploring every mystery, welcoming healthy debate and constructive criticism. It’s seeking Him as He is; not as we wish for Him to be.
Every lie we cherish becomes a stronghold of darkness; in neglecting truth we stumble away from God. He is light; in Him there’s no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5) He invites us to come, to walk with Him in spirit and in truth, enjoying every moment with Him as a perfect gift. (Is 2:5)
As we ask God to reveal Himself in truth, He does; as we seek, we find; as we knock, the doors will open. (Mt 7:7-8)Buy the truth; let every place in our hearts and minds rejoice in His light. (Lk 11:36)
When we’re aligned with God, walking in the light with Him (1Jn 1:7), as others react to us they remind Him of His Son. (2Co 2:15) Just as Yeshua Messiah walked among men, we so remind His enemies of their deathly end that they can almost taste it, and in the elect we’re the fragrance of life itself. (2Co 2:16) God sees a delightful reflection of His Son in all of it, and is consistently glorified in us.
Who in themselves is worthy or able in this? What a privilege to be chosen out of this world, adopted and transformed by God! (1Jn 3:1)
Fearing to be ourselves in Messiah is to hide His glory; we can only reflect Him by being authentic as He works in us. (Php 2:13) We’re His workmanship, created in Messiah to glorify Him in words and deeds, works chosen for us according to His sovereign purpose before the dawn of time. (Ep 2:10, 2Ti 1:9)
Let’s unashamedly joyin our God, each in our own holy calling, priceless and unique, every moment a perfect gift to glorify His name, walking worthy of our God as a sweet savor of Christ.
Thank you Father, for always causing us to overcome in and through Your Son, and for spreading the sweet aroma of knowing Him everywhere through us. (2Co 2:14)
There’s only one safe place in the universe: the place of humility, of lowliness. All who abide elsewhere are abominable to God and subject to punishment. (Pr 16:5) Certainly, there are degrees of pride … and so degrees of being loathsome to God. Where then do we dwell?
Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought; being smug, conceited, overly pleased in ourselves; lifted up in our own sight; better than some other. (Php 2:3) If we can look down on another with disdain (1Pe 2:17), with contempt(Ps 123:4), thinking we’d never do what they’ve done, we don’t know ourselves. Blind to our own sin we don’t grieve over it, we grow lukewarm, losing our joy and taking God’s love for granted.
Let’s be plain: if left to ourselves there’s no one better or worse than any other. Any good in us is the free gift of God. (1Co 4:7) In our free will, apart from God’s restraining and enabling grace, we’re all totally depraved(Je 17:9); abominable, filthy, drinking iniquity like water (Job 15:6); we’re all as an unclean thing; all of our apparent goodness is disgusting to God. (Is 64:6)
When saints see themselves as they are in the presence of the absolute purity and holiness of God, we abhor ourselves(Job 42:6, Is 6:5); we cry out with the Psalmist, “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins! Let them not have dominion over me.” (Ps 19:13)
If we’re not behaving as badly as another, this is the undeserved grace of God (1Co 15:10); we’ve nothing to glory in but Jesus Christ. (1Co 1:29-31) Forgetting this, taking any credit for ourselves, is pride.