Simple Faith–God so loved

God so loved.

Look at a passage most people are familiar with, John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

Stop for a moment and think upon the first part of this passage, “God so loved…that He gave.” This is what agape is all about. This is spelled out for us in Romans 5:7-8

 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

A good man is not a sinner. To sin is to commit a violation against another. Would we die for those who violate us? It’s not likely.

Who would die for their friend? Most of us would like to think we would, but it’s not until someone is in a life or death situation that they discover the answer to this question. Several years back I went through a layoff at work. Each person was called into a room and told their fate. I remember the mixed feelings I had when I walked out of the meeting. I had survived, but several of my peers did not.

Though it hurt to see their lives shaken, there was also a sense of relief knowing my financial life would remain unscathed. This example shows our human limitations. Though there are times when we might be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the good of those we think deserve it, in everyday life we rarely are willing to sacrifice for our peers, and even less likely for those we feel are less deserving.

Our human nature doesn’t fully grasp the concept of sacrificing everything for someone who deserves punishment. The heroes of our movies don’t sacrifice their lives to rescue the enemy they are trying to stop. Yet, this is what it means to be a sinner. The Bible says that before someone is redeemed, they are at enmity with God. The word enmity means to show hostility toward someone out of hatred. It’s a declaration of war by our actions, against another person. Yet the picture is that while our actions were a direct affront against God, He loved us enough to sacrifice on our behalf – and to do so while we were still showing hostility toward Him and His word.

This is the picture of love / agape. It is a self-giving love that sacrifices for the good of someone completely hostile toward God. While God is demonstrating love, our sinful human nature is casting that love aside to pursue the sins that are an affront to God’s own nature. Yet while we were in this state of rebellion, God demonstrated more love by bearing the penalty of our sins and then calling us out of rebellion and into fellowship with Him.

Most of us don’t like to think of ourselves as hostile toward God, so let’s put this into perspective. What happens when someone tries to tell us what to do? The natural reaction is to resent it. Have you ever had someone try to impose their will upon you when you didn’t believe they had the right to do so? It brings up feelings of hostility. People react differently outwardly, but inward, we all have similar feelings.

I had a friend who worked for a large corporation. A new VP took over his group and paid a surprise visit. When the stranger walked in and started barking orders, several members of his group rebelled at the idea. Someone asked, “Who does this guy think he is?” In their ignorance, they rebelled against authority. Once they realized he was a high ranking VP over their group, their attitudes made a quick turnaround.

Through our ignorance, we have all also rebelled against God. When God reveals Himself to us, we then either repent and receive His favor, or continue in rebellion and choose consequences over mercy. In a later chapter, we’ll look at this in more detail, but first let’s explore the love of God given to us.


Eddie Snipes
Excerpted from Simple Faith

Simple Love–an excerpt from Simple Faith

Simple Love

For God so loved the world that he gave[1]…if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.[2]

We have already looked at how Jesus explained that God’s commandments are fulfilled in love. It’s not the other way around. Love fulfills the law, but the law cannot produce love. We’ll look at how the law is fulfilled through Christ in another chapter. This chapter will explain the love of God since it is the foundation everything is built upon. The Bible says that if we gave everything we possess to the poor and even if we give our own bodies as a burnt offering, without love it means nothing, and profits nothing.[3]

The Bible uses this extreme example to show Israel that the process of fulfilling the law cannot win God’s favor. In the Old Testament, God established a Law of Atonement where an animal would be sacrificed in their place as an offering for sin. This atonement was not what fulfilled the law of righteousness. Not only that, if they went beyond the law and offered themselves in sacrifice to God, it still would not be sufficient.

To understand the love of God we must first realize how it compares to human love. The New Testament scriptures were written in Greek. The Greek language has three words we translate into the word love.

Philia is a brotherly kindness type of love. It means to love with warm affection or friendship.

Eros means passion and is often referred to as a sexual type of love. The Bible never uses Eros as a word for love, but the Greeks used this word in much the way we hear it used today. People associate physical passion with love.

The last word is Agape. Agape is self-giving, self-sacrificing, outward focused love. It is the type of love that focuses on another without regard to self. The love of God is always referred to as Agape.

Philia and Eros are normal parts of human nature, but Agape is not. When I love another in my own human nature, it is always in light of how my life is fulfilled. I may give because it makes me feel good to sacrifice, or I may love my friends of whom I expect a returned friendship. Ultimately, I am seeking my own fulfillment through my love for others. While that isn’t necessarily wrong, it falls short of Agape.

Agape is the love of God. It is first given to us, and then we use it to express the love of God to others. Consider Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Emphasis added)

 

This is why Jesus said the first commandment is the love of God and the second commandment comes out of the first. We must first experience the love of God and then we’ll have the power to love others because the Holy Spirit has placed God’s Agape love into our hearts.

To put human love into perspective, consider a rich young ruler who approached Jesus to ask how he could obtain eternal life. He begins with the wrong perspective and Jesus lets him know immediately. The man starts by calling Jesus a good rabbi (or as some translations word it, Good Teacher). Jesus responds by rebuking him for calling anyone good except for God.

In the religious culture of that day, people often put their Rabbis on a pedestal, and even called themselves after their teacher’s name. Jesus taught his disciples to not allow anyone to call them rabbi, father, teacher, or master. The reason is the same as Jesus explained to the ruler in this account – with only one exception – Himself. In this account, Jesus told the ruler not to look to him as a good rabbi, but to put his focus on God. When instructing His disciples, Jesus commanded them not to allow others to call them rabbi, and then he pointed to Himself as the only example of a rabbi or teacher.[4]

Jesus rebuked the young man for calling Him good, but then called Himself good when teaching about His own authority. Why the contradiction?

There is no contradiction. In both cases, Jesus is taking the focus off the flesh and pointing toward the spiritual. The young ruler wasn’t looking at Jesus as the Messiah, but as a human rabbi. He was not to be imitating the role of a teacher, but imitating God alone. Take a few minutes to read the story of the rich ruler in Matthew 19:16-26. From the beginning, the ruler was focused on his own human efforts. Whether looking at a teacher or at the rules of religion, the young man was focused solely on human abilities. His trust was also in his own ability to keep the law. As Jesus listed the commandments, the man declared his ability to keep them as though it were a checklist. Then Jesus gave the final test, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The young ruler said, “I have kept all these commandments from my youth up.” It’s interesting that this man declared his own perfection, yet deep down he knew something was missing. The man was blind to his own inability to fulfill the requirements of the law. Therefore, Jesus pulled back the veil by saying, “If you will be perfect, go and sell all you have, give to the poor, and then come and follow me.”

Notice, even with this statement, Jesus was not declaring that giving up all his worldly goods would save him. The real solution was in following Christ, for as we shall see, salvation is found in Jesus alone. Yet, his requirement unveiled the problem. The man was not able to keep the law. If he truly loved his neighbor as himself, he would not have balked at giving his possessions to the poor. The requirement Jesus gave was intended to reveal the man’s inability to keep the commandments he claimed to have fulfilled.

Jesus met many rich men during his life, yet this is the only time we see Him asking someone to sell all their possessions. The truth is, money was this man’s god and his own works were his plan of salvation. Jesus dismantled his personal religion with one statement.

The same is true for you and me. If you are trying to love God by your own strength, you are the rich young ruler who comes to Christ wondering why you feel like you’ve done all the right things, yet something is still missing. Like the rich young ruler, God calls us to lay down our own efforts so we can receive the true riches-salvation and the love of God.

 
eBook version is 99 cents.

[1] John 3:16

[2] 1 John 4:10-11

[3] 1 Corinthians 13:3

[4] Matthew 23:8

Why does the Bible say that we are gods?

What does the Bible mean, ‘You are gods’?
One of the pet phrases in scripture that world religions use to support the various doctrines claiming that humans can become divine is ‘you are gods’. This is found several places in scripture and in context the intent is clear. However, this can and often is twisted into unbiblical meanings and used to confuse those who value the Bible as authoritative. This is used to persuade people that the Bible supports their ‘you are god’ theory. The first passage we will examine is Exodus 7:

1 So the LORD said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

I won’t spend much time on this passage because the intent is quite obvious. The KJV words it, “I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”. Pharaoh was the highest god in ancient Egypt’s pagan religious world. They had gods for everything. Some gods had higher powers than others. The Egyptians believed that it was necessary to appease all the gods so that their wives could be fertile, their crops would yield harvest, the rains would come in season, and so on. Many of the plagues God sent were specifically targeted against the gods of Egypt. Pharaoh went down to greet the Nile floods each year and honor this god. God sent Moses to meet him and to turn the water to blood. This was a direct assault against this false god that Pharaoh was honoring. One of their gods was a frog, so God sent a plague of millions of frogs. Because Pharaoh thought he was a god, Moses was like a rivaling god against Pharaoh. To yield to Moses was to admit before his people that Pharaoh wasn’t the strongest god. God said in Exodus 9:14 that the plagues against Pharaoh’s gods were meant to show that there was none like God. It was not to show that Moses was a god. Moses was not a god. However, to the pagan worshipping Pharaoh he was a god. It was only in Pharaoh’s eyes that Moses was considered divine.

Gods will die like men?
Now look at Psalm 82:

1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.
2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”

This passage requires a little more thought, but it is still quite clear. In the context of this passage it is clear that the ‘gods’ are not called so because they are divine, but because they are set up to be judges. God established His leadership to judge and do justice among the people. This has nothing to do with divinity. We know this because God follows up by saying, “You are gods and children of the Most High, but you shall die like men”. Look at the entire context of this passage. God is judging the judges He has ordained because they became arrogant and unjust. In stead of using the power God had given them to defend the helpless and needy, they used it for greed and gain. They afflicted the needy and gave favor to the wicked. Jesus used this same passage against the Pharisees. They thought they were above the people. The passage declares that these ‘gods’ are wicked, without understanding, walking in darkness, have an unstable foundation, and they will die like all men do. This doesn’t sound much like the claims of divinity the ‘Christian’ false teachers and other religions proclaim it to be.

Gods are an abomination
There is one last reference to gods I would like to bring to light. Look at Isaiah 41

20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21 ” Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.
22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come.
23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together.
24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.

In this passage, God is challenging those who call themselves gods. God challenges them, if they are gods, present your case. Show us what will happen in the future. Show us the past. Declare what is to come. What are the purposes of God? They should know since they are gods. God challenges them to show their power since they think they are gods. Then God follows up by saying, “you are nothing; your work is nothing; and he who chooses you is an abomination”. That is a very divisive statement. God declares that anyone who chooses these who claim to be gods is an abomination to Himself, the only true God.

There are only two ways that we can be so-called gods. When we stand in the place of authority that God has ordained us to  hold, we are gods in the sense that we represent Him or that we are reflecting God to others. We are all created to reflect God’s glory, but we also have all sin and fallen short of that glory. We are nothing, but in His will and by His authority, we are instruments for His purposes. The other way we are gods is found in the beginning of scripture. In Genesis 3:22, God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil”. We are like God in the sense that we know right from wrong. Satan promised Eve that she would be like God. It was a half-truth. She was like God only in that she could identify good and evil. Sin has plagued mankind since that time. If someone claims that we are a god in any other context is a false statement and a false god. Satan’s lie is still the same – you will be like God. Man’s pride believes the lie because he does not want God, rather he wants to be god.

In each passage where the Bible refers to man as gods, it is judgment. Each time God is either challenging them, judging them or judging those who choose to align with them. It is ironic that other religions try to use the Bible to persuade by using the very passages that condemn them. If someone would just take the time to read the surrounding passages in context they would clearly see that most false teachers contradict their own doctrine with the scriptures they twist.

In Conclusion:
Look at Romans 1

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Just because someone claims to be wise does not make them wise. Wisdom based on the world will fail. Jesus warned that just because someone comes in His name does not mean that He sent them. Preachers claiming Jesus’ name are deceivers and anti-Christs if they are contradicting His word. When someone reshapes God into the image of corruptible man, the Bible says that they have become fools. If the Bible calls them fools, how can we allow them to be teachers of foolish doctrine within the church? If anyone teaches doctrine that says God is like man or man is like or can be like God, the Bible says that they have already rejected the truth and are not worshipping God, but are worshipping the creation of God – which is idolatry. If God has said that He has given them up, we should not be afraid to expose them. How people respond to false teaching reveals who is seeking God and who loves the lie.

It is the responsibility of every believer to uphold the truth so that each person can make a clear choice. If someone is deceived, it should be a knowing choice to reject the scriptures. We can’t make people want God, but we can uphold His truth so that people can see what choice they are making.

Eddie Snipes
2009

Does the Bible deny the existence of dinosaurs?

Question:

I have a fundamentalist friend that says, “Dinosaurs never existed”. They say that it disagrees with the Bible. Why do Christians deny scientific facts? Does the Bible deny the existence of dinosaurs?

Answer:

I have to agree with you. I am bothered when I hear Christians say that dinosaurs never existed. That is just pure ignorance – both of the Bible and of science. How can anyone look at the thousands of complete skeletons collected from all over the world and say, “I refuse to see it”?
Both the Bible and observable evidence validate that dinosaurs existed and coexisted with man. I know that is very disputed among evolutionists; and this is true for the same reason that uninformed Christians refuse to accept dinosaurs – it doesn’t fit with their beliefs. There are many depictions of dinosaurs in cave drawings, stone carvings, jewelry and dragon legends as late as 600 B.C. Click here to see some examples.
Now look at what the Bible describes in Job 40:

15 ” Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron.
19 He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword.
20 Surely the mountains yield food for him, And all the beasts of the field play there.
21 He lies under the lotus trees, In a covert of reeds and marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him.
23 Indeed the river may rage, Yet he is not disturbed; He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,
24 Though he takes it in his eyes, Or one pierces his nose with a snare.

I know some Christians try to associate this with modern animals, but this is impossible to reconcile with anything but a dinosaur. A tail like a cedar, bones like beams of bronze, a raging river does not disturb him, etc. can not be explained with an elephant, rhino or hippo.
The problem with faith is that it is misunderstood. Biblical faith is not blind ignorance – it is based on truth. The Bible commands the believer to be prepared to give a reasoned answer. Faith is believing God and is always based on evidence. In the Bible, God always proved Himself trustworthy and then called for faith. In the Bible, God always challenges us to test Him and prove He is true. Blind faith is no better than superstition. True faith is based on fact.
There are many other resources that examine dinosaurs and science and are clear validations for scripture. As I said in my earlier message, we can examine all the evidence because if the Bible is true then ultimately the evidence will lead us back to the Bible. The only exception is to those who refuse to examine all sides of the evidence. Selective truth is not truth. Half the evidence is not evidence for anything.

For evidence showing the existence of the coexistence of man and dinosaurs, Click here.
I hope this helps. You may also find interesting info at www.answersingenesis.org .

Eddie Snipes
2007

Do the existence of Dinosaurs contradict the Bible?

I have been asked several times whether the Bible and the creation account allows for the existence of dinosaurs. Unfortunately it is also fairly common for Christians to deny the existence of dinosaurs altogether. In reality, the Bible validates the existence of Dinosaurs as does history and archaeology. It is true that evolution does allow for dinosaurs and mankind to coexist, however we have ample evidence that they did. Let’s take a moment and examine both historical accounts and Biblical accounts of dinosaurs.

Look first at the Bible in Job 41:

15 ” Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron.
19 He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword.
20 Surely the mountains yield food for him, And all the beasts of the field play there.
21 He lies under the lotus trees, In a covert of reeds and marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him.
23 Indeed the river may rage, Yet he is not disturbed; He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,
24 Though he takes it in his eyes, Or one pierces his nose with a snare.

Contrary to the opinion of some, there are no modern day animals that fit the description of this behemoth. It is not an elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus. None of these have the tail like a cedar. Whenever you see the cedar tree mentioned in the Bible it is referencing the great cedars (such as the cedars of Lebanon). The cedars of this time period were magnificent and awe inspiring. Solomon for example negotiated a deal to bring the great cedars of Lebanon to build the temple because there were no other tries like them. Dozens of times the Bible refers to the cedar as a picture of strength. So when we look at this description, the tail like a cedar gives us a word picture of a large, powerful tail. This creature is able to stand in a raging river without fear and without being moved. Bones of bronze and ribs like bars of iron are equally descriptive of a massive and strong creature. Though the word dinosaur is a modern term, I believe this is a clear description of a dinosaur. Equally significant is the Bible’s claim that this behemoth was created along with man – in other words, he co-existed with the human race.

History also attests to the coexistence of man and dinosaurs. The pictures below show compelling evidence to this fact. Some critics argue that these are mythological creatures that made their way into ancient art, however one problem cannot be explained away – accuracy. Most of these artifacts are identifiable as known dinosaurs today yet they were drawn hundreds and often thousands of years before dinosaurs were known to man. Think of all the dragon legends and sea creature legends that have filled history. Is it possible that the monsters the world feared were more than figments of the imaginations of many, many men? As you examine these pictures, ask yourself, “How did these ancient people know what a dinosaur looked like?”

One evolutionist commented on a Greek drawing of a dinosaur that was clearly an accurate representation of a known species of dinosaur stated, “It is clear that the Greeks also dug fossils”. It is interesting that no history validates this claim. It is a weak attempt to explain the inevitable conclusion – they knew exactly what the creature looked like. The replicated look of dinosaurs is a modern scientific achievement. If one accurate drawing was found in ancient art we could say argue that it was a coincidence. However, when we have so many examples, can we continue to wear blinders to the coexistence of man and dinosaurs? It takes complete and blinding faith to deny this fact when it stares you in the face.

The ‘problem children’ are on both sides of the debate. Some Christians see the fossils of dinosaurs and the overwhelming evidence that they existed and yet they still say, “Dinosaurs never existed”. This is because they are willfully blind because they don’t understand that dinosaurs don’t disagree with the Bible. For fear of undermining their blind faith, ,they refuse to acknowledge what is clearly in front of them. The same is true for evolutionists. They look at the overwhelming evidence of coexistence and refuse to see it. They also are afraid that the truth may undermine their faith in evolution. They have adopted blind faith without reason. In reality, all truth leads to God. If the Bible is true, examining all the evidence will ultimately validate that truth. Evidence only refutes the Bible when it becomes a half-truth that is manipulated – which is in reality a lie. When all the facts are allowed to be examined, the evidence points to the truth of scripture.

Below are examples of dinosaurs realistically depicted in ancient writing and art:


Under King Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian Ishtar gate was fashioned with relief designs depicting animals such as lions, bears and this dinosaur-like creature. Local animals were the subject matter for all other depictions within the wall. Where did they get the model for this creature?

 


The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina.
This mosaic from the 2nd century shows other animals local to the area such as Crocodiles and Hippos. This scene is one of many and shows hunters killing a creature labeled on the mosaic as ‘Crocodile Leopard’.

 


Plesiosaur.
The top picture is an amazing drawing of ancient people hunting, butchering and dancing around a creature that looks very much like a plesiosaur.

The second picture is a model of a plesiosaur skeleton.

The third picture is a scientific drawing of what a plesiosaur may have looked like along with a skeleton of a plesiosaur being excavated.


Cave Drawings.

The top photo is Cree Indian art on the Agawa Rock at Misshepezhieu, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. This depicts a horned dinosaur-like creature.

The middle drawing shows hunters around dinosaur-like creatures depicted in Arizona’s Havasupai Canyon.

The bottom photo in this frame highlights the drawing and compares it to a Edmontosaurus.


These photos of carved works from Hierakonpolis depicting modern animals and two long-necked creatures that resemble dinosaurs.

The top artifact depicts a dinosaur like creature. It was once thought to be inaccurate because of the scale patterns were inconsistent with scientific assumptions. however, Geology publications in 12, 1992 reported new discoveries that reported, “Recent discovery of fossilized sauropod (diplodocid) skin impressions reveals a significantly different appearance for these dinosaurs. The fossilized skin demonstrates that a median row of spines was present… Some are quite narrow, and others are broader and more conical.” (Geology, “New Look for Sauropod Dinosaurs,” December, 1992, p. 1,068.)”

The middle picture is an urn depicting a scene from Greek Mythology. The urn has pictures of dolphins, penguins, fish, an octopus and a see creature that looks similar to a mosasaurus. The bottom picture is an illustration of what a mosasaurus may have looked like. Some species also have a narrow cranial crest between the eyes as pictured in the urn.

This Roman Mosaic shows two creatures fighting that closely resemble the tanystropheus shown below.


In 1691 in Rome there was a report of a dragon like creature that lived in the caves near the local wetlands. This realistically accurate sketch of the partially decomposed corpse of the bird. What is interesting to note is that the crest on the skull was not depicted in most of the pterosaur illustrations. In National Geographic News in July 18, 2002, the article called ‘New Find: Pterosaur Had Strange Crest, Fishing Style’ showed that some species had such a crest as depicted in this illustration from 17th century Rome.

The top picture is from a Mesopotamian cylinder dated 3300 BC. It depicts dinosaur-like creatures similar to an Apatasaurus.

An ancient culture, the Sumatrans created artwork that depicts several dinosaurs.


Over 1100 Inca Ceremonial Burial Stones were found in tombs in Peru during the 1930’s. Many of these stones have realistic and accurate depiction of dinosaurs. In 1571, the Spanish conquistadors were the first to report burial stones with strange creatures carved on them.

In 1945, Waldemar Julsrud discovered carvings that depicted dinosaurs at El Toro Mnt near Acambaro, Mexico. Over the next few decades, over 30,000 of these carvings have been unearthed. The carvings date between 800BC and 200AD. These findings have been challenged and tested by researchers on multiple occasions and have remained as authentic artifacts. One is believed to be an Iguanodon which was unknown until over 30 years after these carvings were discovered.


This African artifact closely resembles a sauropod that local legends say still roams remote areas of Africa today. Several expeditions have been launched to validate these sightings but none have been successful.

Eddie Snipes
2001

Do Modern Translations Corrupt the Scriptures? Part 1.

The King James Only debate.

The purpose of this study is not to disprove any translation but rather to look realistically at the facts and give the reader clear information and clear up misinformation so we are informed concerning this controversial issue. I realize that this topic can be emotionally charged and that some will never read this beyond the point where ideas that are held sacred begin to be challenged. Even so, this is a worthy topic and hopefully others will benefit from this information.

 

This first part will address the history behind the KJV debate and part 2 will look at the questionable scriptures that are used as evidence against modern translations. If you have heard or read about the New Age and pagan influences that polluted the modern translations, you my find interest in part 2.

 

I have heard dozens of arguments claiming the KJV is the only true word of God. The arguments range from claims that God only allows one translation per language up to the claim that modern versions are part of a New Age conspiracy. Rarely will the KJV be compared to the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic that the scriptures are translated from. Instead, all translations are compared only to the KJV. Some go as far as to claim that the KJV writers corrected the errors in the Greek and therefore it has become the standard of measure. Shortly we will look at the examples that claim to be errors in the NKJV and examine these in detail, but first I want to take a moment to address the claims I mentioned above.

 

Not the First

Some die-hard KJV only supporters that I have encountered claim that God only ordains one translation per language and that once God has given scripture to a language, no other translations are necessary. The KJV is an excellent translation, but it is not the first English translation. Here is a list of early English translations of the Bible:

  • Tyndale’s English New Testament 1525 AD
  • Coverdale Bible (first complete English Bible) 1535 AD
  • Matthews Bible 1537
  • Great Bible (the first Authorized version) 1539
  • Geneva Bible 1560
  • Bishop’s Bible 1568, intended to replace the Geneva Bible which had become too popular according to Church authorities.
  • Douay-Rheims 1582, first Catholic version of the New Testament
  • King James Version with Apocrypha 1611

 

Tyndale was the first English translator. Prior to 1525, the Bible was primarily available in Latin and out of the hands of the common man. The church establishment greatly opposed Tyndale’s effort and he suffered persecution for his commitment. King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, and Sir Thomas Moore were enraged over Tyndale’s unauthorized effort and sought to prosecute him. He fled and remained on the run in various countries in Europe while he translated the scriptures into English. He was eventually captured and martyred in 1536. His translation paved the way for the reformation and influenced later translations of the Bible.

 

KJV Corrected the Original

I also have repeatedly heard the claim that the KJV translators were inspired by the Holy Spirit and corrected the errors in the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text. In reality, the translators borrowed information and used work from those before them. This is perfectly acceptable in writing as long as credit is giving to those who have done the work. Biblical historian Laura H. Wild states:

A few of Wycliffe’s phrases are here [in the KJV], but Tyndale is largely responsible for the Bishops’ Bible which was used as its foundation. [Through the Great Bible] Coverdale put his delicate touch on [the KJV, and] the sturdy tone of the Geneva Text and the sonorous Latinisms of the Rhemish New Testament modified certain sentences. But Tyndale was the genius who penetrated to the very heart of the Scripture, finding priceless treasures, then sent it on its way in English waters like a ship laden with life-giving fruits.

 

This agrees with the title pages written by the translators of the 1611 printing of the KJV:

The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and reuised, by his Majesties speciall Commandement. Appointed to be read in Churches.

 

The translators themselves testify that they carefully compared their work with the work of the text available to them and the work of former translators. They did not supernaturally begin to write, but they studied all available information and put together the best possible translation by using well respected scholars and previous work of others. Once they finished the translation, they did not rush it to press, but read the text and argued among themselves for months over the correct wording and hashed out their educated assumptions as to the meaning of each line of text.

 

Even after agreeing on a translation, they did not claim infallibility or divine accomplishment. There were seventeen thousand cross references and marginal notes, which dealt solely with linguistic and textual matters such as alternative renderings or variant readings from other manuscript sources. As we will discuss a bit later, there are multiple words that can be rendered from most Greek or Hebrew words. Based on the context of the passage, historical settings and other variables a translator assumes the meaning that was intended.

 

Another consideration is that most of the text the King James Version draws upon is Latin. In the 19th century, archaeology unveiled thousands of 1st and 2nd century manuscripts that were not available in the 1500s and 1600s.

 

Apocrypha

The 1611 version of the KJV had 80 books because it was published with the Catholic Apocrypha. If someone demands that the work of the 1611 translators were inspired by God and are infallible, they must also accept the Catholic Apocrypha or stand in contradiction of their own claims. In reality, the KJV translators were a part of the established church of the day and translated the entire church Bible including the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha was not accepted as canonical but was used by the established church from around the 3rd century until the Reformation period and is still accepted in the Catholic Church today. However, the point to be noted is that the KJV only debate claims that the 1611 translation was infallible, yet rejects the Apocrypha. Both cannot be true.

 

Modern Translations are Corrupt

One of the common arguments we hear today is that the modern translations are a corruption of God’s word. Ironically, this is exactly what the church said about the 1611 version of the KJV. Some critics argued that the translators relied too much on the Greek Septuagint rather than the original Hebrew. The Septuagint was the project of 70 Jewish scholars that translated the Old Testament into Greek around 400 BC. Many called the translators ‘blasphemers’ and “damnable corruptors” of God’s word. The Puritans rejected the KJV because it was translated by ‘high church’ people whom they eyed with suspicion. They remained loyal to the Geneva Bible translation.

 

One of the highest criticism came from a well respected Bible scholar named Hugh Broughton. He published a vicious critical analysis against the completed KJV calling the translators timid and afraid to publish strong words. He claimed that they placed better renderings of words in the marginal notes rather than in the read text. He said they were answer on the Day of Judgment for their slackness and use of idle words. He said that the organizer of the translation, Richard Bancroft, would find his eternal abode in hell.

 

Errors and Corrections

In 1611, two versions of the KJV made it to press. This created a controversy that was not resolved until the Oxford Standard Edition was published in 1769. This version is the standard that most people use today. One example of the two varying 1611 versions is Ruth 3:15. One printing read, “he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and he [Boaz] went into the city.” The other read, “and she [Ruth] went into the city.” The text allows for both and since the context is not completely clear, modern translators still are divided on which is accurate.

 

In 1613 over 300 variants were corrected from the original 1611 version. One printing of the KJV had one of the 10 commandments which read, “thou shalt commit adultery. This was soon labeled the “wicked Bible”. In another printing, the error was made in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God,” and was soon called the Unrighteous Bible. In 1702 the England Puritan leader said that “scandalous errors” has affronted the Holy Bible itself.

 

The 1611 has undergone various revisions that intended to improve the text. For example, Matthew 16:16 in the 1611 version said, “Thou art Christ” and was revised to read, “Though art the Christ”. Mark 5:6 said, “He came and worshiped” in 1611 but was revised to read, “he ran and worshiped”. As you can see, these changes are minor and do not alter the doctrine, but it does show that even the translators and publishers of the KJV recognized the need to sharpen the translation for accuracy and readability. Another example of modernizing for the reader is Psalm 23. Here is the 1611 edition of this passage:

The LORD is my shepheard, I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie downe in greene pastures: he leadeth mee beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soule: he leadeth me in the pathes of righteousness, for his names sake.

Yea, though I walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare no euill: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staffe, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oyle, my cuppe runneth ouer.

Surely goodnes and mercie shall followe me all the daies of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for euer.

 

It is not uncommon for people to refer to the KJV as the 1611 Authorized version, but this is not entirely accurate. It is based on the 1611 version, but it has been revised repeatedly from 1611 until 1769 when Oxford University published the Oxford Standard edition that was accepted and remains until today.

Eddie Snipes
2008