Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The KJV . . . is it the perfect and preserved word of God?

Recently I had both a good conversation and a correspondence with two different individuals who each hold to KJV-onlyism (one is a sweet friend, and the topic came up during a phone conversation.) It was interesting timing as both of these happened nearly simultaneously!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with KJV-onlyism, it can be summarized in one sentence as: the belief that the King James Version Bible is itself the perfect, inspired, preserved word of God, and the only Bible that should be used as the other translations are corruptions or perversions of God's Word.

Since one of these conversations/discussions was an e-mail correspondence, I decided to compile several of my responses into one and share it here. While it only covers some aspects of KJV-onlyism, I hope that it will be enough to at the least, provide good food for thought.

For further reading and study, there are a number of links included at the end to a couple of reference books and a video series on KJV-onlyism as well which are all very good.

In the below 'article', most of the personal references have been removed, and I divided it up into sections with headers to make it easier to read and follow . . .



I had shared your e-mail with my parents, we talked about it together, and many thoughts and questions came to mind. Simply as a sister in the Lord, I would like to ask/mention a few of them. It is not at all with the intent to (as you wisely want to avoid) “force” you to see it 'our way', but it is truly coming from a heart that loves the Lord, loves His Word, wants to discuss His truth, and to have the “iron sharpening iron” so to speak.

This area of Bible translation and KJV-onlyism is one that my family and I have done intensive study on covering the space of many years. This included verse by verse comparisons of most of the New Testament using the KJV, all the other major Bible translations, and the three major Greek Texts (Textus Receptus, Majority Text, and Novum Testamentum Graece.)

My Dad especially has studied this extensively, and he and I had a lot of discussion about it again before I wrote this e-mail to you. Much of what will be shared here is fruit from primarily his studies and what he shared with us years ago and then encouraged us to study. He has also read this and given me some advice as to what to share, etc.

I and my family so agree with what you said that we have to let Scripture interpret Scripture (we use that phrase all the time :) and let Scripture speak for itself. Many years ago (maybe 15?) our family adopted kind of a 'theme verse' . . . Acts 17:11. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 is another . . . "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;"

It is our earnest heart and desire to be as the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and examine everything in the light of Scripture, including KJV-only. And to then be continually examining and reexamining (as we will make mistakes) and to be always seeking to mature in faith, gain better understandings, and follow our Lord more closely. It is an exciting journey!

So that's a tiny bit of how we approach Scripture (with my Dad as the spiritual leader.)

Translation of the 1611 King James Version Bible

You had said you were open to any questions or comments, and I do have some :) . . . .

We have a facsimile of the original 1611, and as you may know, it is very different from the KJV used today. Since that first translation, many revisions and updates were made to correct numerous errors, including some significant errors. Also to update the spelling and language for the 'modern' reader ('modern' for the mid-1700's that is!)

I'll be sharing more about the revisions in just a bit, though first, would like to share a bit about the foundation of the translation of the KJV . . . .

In the front of the original 1611 KJV, there is a lengthy letter from the translators to the reader in which they communicate that the KJV was simply another, yet better, translation. (Just like Tyndale's, Matthews, the Geneva, etc.) Contrast that with the biblical prophets, apostles, etc. who transcribed the original inspired Old and New Testaments who knew they were actually writing God's inspired words.

In the facsimile we have, there is also a really interesting and lengthy historical document (not included with the original 1611, but added into the facsimile) titled Bibliographical Introduction by Alfred W. Pollard. It goes through the history of the English translations up to 1611, “The Bible of 1611”, and “Later History of the Bible of 1611”.

It also includes a list of 15 “Rules to be observed in the Translation of the Bible” (pg 39) that the translators of the KJV were to abide by as they translated this new version. Number one was this:

“1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.” (pg. 39)

The translators were all from the Church of England (which broke from the Catholic church and became the mother of the Anglican church), and when translating the KJV, they were instructed to follow the Bishops Bible as closely as possible, except if the Greek manuscript (The Textus Receptus) differed significantly enough to warrant a change.

Another interesting rule is number 14:

“These translations are to be used when they agree better with the Text [The Textus Receptus] than the Bishops Bible: Tindoll's. Matthews. Coverdale's. Whitechurch's. Geneva. [sic](pg. 39)

Each of the six different versions mentioned above, including the Bishops Bible, are English translations which preceded the KJV and which were instrumental in the translation of the KJV. And they each have many differences from one another.

The Textus Receptus mentioned in Rule 14 is the Greek text that was foundational in the translation of the KJV. Erasmus, a Catholic priest, was responsible for producing that text. (Erasmus and how he produced The Textus Receptus is a fascinating and applicable area of study in and of itself!)

When translating the New Testament, he used various, though very limited, Greek manuscripts of different parts of the New Testament and one partial manuscript of Revelation. This was Johannes Reuchlin's copy which was missing the last six verses of chapter 22. Erasmus used The Latin Vulgate to add those verses in, back-translating them from the Latin into Greek. (The Latin Vulgate was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus.)

With all of this, the question that comes to mind is, would each of the six different Bible versions mentioned above, The Latin Vulgate, The Textus Receptus, and each of the manuscripts used to develop The Textus Receptus also be inspired? (all were used to translate the KJV.)

The Revisions of the King James Version

If the KJV was inspired and God's perfect word, the question must then be asked, why did it have to be revised to correct errors?

The first revision took place the same year it was published, 1611. The 1629 revision corrected many of the errors which had occurred in the previous versions. It was again revised in 1638, 1653, 1762, and 1769.

Yes, as you wrote, there is a “difference between editions and revisions.”

An edition is: “the form or version in which a text is published; the whole number of copies published at one time”

A revision is: “1. a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something 2. a new version of something; something (such as a piece of writing or a song) that has been corrected or changed”

(Definitions taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary)

So yes, according to the definitions, the 1611 did indeed have revisions made prior to the RSV (which was a new translation) in 1881.

Again, the first revision was done in 1611 with five more that followed (1629, 1638, 1653, 1762, and 1769.)

There were nearly 24,000 revisional changes made to the original 1611 KJV to correct errors, etc. A revision by definition is a change or changes made to the text to correct or improve. Yes many were grammatical and spelling errors, but a great many (hundreds if not thousands) were not.

Here is a very, very tiny sampling of the more significant errors and revisions (not spelling or grammatical) that were made which can change/alter the meaning. It includes words that were added in; words that were removed; words changed to a different one with a similar meaning, etc. The first word/phrase is the 1611 edition, the second is current editions:

I put some of the more significant ones first . . .

1 John 5:12 – he that hath not the Son, hath not life. - he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 - the Lord Jesus Christ – our Lord Jesus Christ
Jeremiah 38:16 – So the king – So Zedekiah the king
Deuteronomy 5:29 – keep my commandments – keep all my commandments
2 Kings 11:10 – in the temple. - in the temple of the LORD
Matthew 16:16 – Thou art Christ – Thou art the Christ
Nehemiah 2:12 – what God had put – what my God had put
Ezra 4:24 – of the house of the God – of the house of God
Ephesians 6:24 – them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity – them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity. Amen
1 Timothy 1:4 – rather than edifying – rather than godly edifying
Matthew 9:34 – He casteth out the devils – He casteth out devils
Psalm 69:32 – god – God
Jeremiah 49:1 - God – Gad
Exodus 15:25 – he made a statute – he made for them a statute
Exodus 21:32 – thirty shekels – thirty shekels of silver
Exodus 26:8 – the eleven shall be – the eleven curtains shall be
Leviticus 19:34 – shall be as one born – shall be unto you as one born
Numbers 6:14 – lamb – ram
Joshua 3:15 – at – all
Ezra 2:22 – children – mentioned
Job 30:3 – flying – fleeing
Ezekiel 1:17 – returned – turned
Ezekiel 46:23 – new – row of
Mark 5:6 – he came – he ran
Acts 24:24 – Jew – Jewess
1 Corinthians 4:9 – approved – appointed
Genesis 39:16 – her lord – his lord
Ruth 3:15 – he – she
Ezekiel 24:5 – him – them
Joel 1:16 - your – our
Leviticus 11:10 – nor – and
Psalm 24:3 and – or
1 Chronicles 11:15 – of David – to David
Mark 11:8 – of the trees – off the trees
Joel 3:13 – the wickedness – their wickedness
John 15:20 – the Lord – his lord
Numbers 3:13 – they shall be – shall they be
Job 4:6 – this book of the covenant confidence: the uprightness of thy ways and thy hope? - the book of this covenant confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?
Daniel 6:13 – the captivity of the children – the children of the captivity
Matthew 27:52 – bodies of saints – bodies of the saints
1 Corinthians 14:15 – pray with understanding – pray with the understanding
2 Samuel 16:12 – Lord will requite good – Lord will requite me good
1 Kings 13:8 – restored again – restored him again
Jeremiah 13:14 – be satisfied with goodness – be satisfied with my goodness
Ezekiel 24:7 – poured it upon the ground – poured it not upon the ground
Matthew 12:23 – is this the son of David? - Is this not the son of David?
Leviticus 20:11 – shall be put to death – shall surely be put to death
Leviticus 26:23 – be reformed by these things – be reformed by me by these things
Leviticus 26:40 – the iniquity of their father – their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers
1 Chronicles 7:5 – were men of might – were valiant men of might
Ezekiel 3:11 – unto thy people – unto the children of thy people
Daniel 3:15 – the midst of a fiery furnace – the midst of a burning fiery furnace
Luke 1:3 – understanding of things – understanding of all things
John 7:16 – Jesus answered them, My doctrine – Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine
2 Chronicles 16:6 – Baasha was a building – Baasha was building

Changes were also made to the names of God which came from four different Hebrew words translated as: LORD, Lord, God and GOD. Capitalization of the first letter is always reserved for names referring to the one true God (again this is a sampling) . . .

Exodus 23:15 - LORD God – Lord GOD
2 Samuel 12:22 – God – GOD
2 Chronicles 13:6 – his LORD – his lord
2 Chronicles 28:11 - God – LORD
Isaiah 49:13 – God – the LORD
Zechariah 6:4 – LORD – lord

Spelling was also changed of words referring to deity. If it is capitalized it refers to the one true God, if it is not capitalized, it does not. Again this is only a sampling:

Genesis 6:3 – Spirit – spirit (this change is also in at least 23 other places)
Joshua 4:15 – my Lord – my lord
Deuteronomy 32:6 – Father – father
Exodus 33:2 – an Angel – an angel
1 Samuel 2:25 – Judge – judge
Job 19:25 – Redeemer – redeemer
Isaiah 43:15 – Creator – creator
Luke 23:2 – king – King
John 15:20 – the Lord – his lord
Acts 11:12 – spirit – Spirit (Oxford edition)
Isaiah 54:5 – maker – Maker
Psalm 106:21 – Saviour - saviour

If the KJV was inspired by God, there should have been no revisions needed, no mistakes made that had to be corrected as God does not make mistakes (even spelling and grammatical ones.) Just one mistake or error in the 1611 KJV would disprove that God inspired the KJV Bible.

Significant Revisional Changes - An Example from 1 John 5:12

Let's look at the very first example I had listed and see how significant just this one error, and the revision that followed, is:

The 1611 KJV reads:

Hee that hath the Sonne, hath life; and hee that hath not the Sonne, hath not life.

The current KJV reads:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (emphasis added.)

The 1611 is missing the words “of God”. This is a very significant absence! If God inspired “every word” of the KJV, yet left this very important phrase out, what does that say about God?

The literal translation of The Textus Receptus (which was the foundation for the 1611 KJV) correctly includes “Son of God”:

The (one) having the Son has life, he not having the Son of God, life not has.”

And just for interest's sake, here is the NASB translation which also correctly has “Son of God” where the 1611 KJV does not:

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

This one example in 1 John 5:12 cannot be dismissed just as a “translation error” (nor can all the others I listed.) It is one of many, many significant changes that were made to the 1611 KJV. And this one was to improve it.

Also, a “translation error” still is an error.

Can God, who is perfect and is Truth, inspire error?

You shared that: “Matthew 4:4 where Jesus tells us that man does not live on bread alone but one [sic] every word that comes from the mouth of God . . . Jesus himself said every word that comes out of God's mouth is for us to live on. We need it daily. If a Christian does not believe that every word of God is perfect, pure, preserved, and can be in a copy or translation of a Bible version today, it's impossible for them to be obedient to the teaching of this verse.”

So in each of the changes above (and the nearly 24,000 total), is the 1611 edition's rendition or the 1769 edition's rendition God's “every word”?

If it is true that “every word” of the 1611 KJV was inspired by God, then the modern KJV which made thousands of word changes, word additions, and word subtractions, etc. runs into a serious problem:

For I [the apostle John] testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

With these many revisions, it would be difficult to defend that the most recent KJV is inspired and preserved and the others aren't. On the other hand, if the first translation and the following revisions aren't inspired, how could the last, the KJV used today, be the one that is inspired? Is such a claim biblically supported?

Psalm 12:7 - What is 'preserved'?

You had asked: “Are you saying that if we don't see the words King James Version in the Bible that we can't say the King James is the inspired and preserved word of God?”

That is kind of, sort of along the lines of what I was asking, but not really. :) What I was asking is basically: from the Bible alone, how do you know without doubt based upon the word of God that the KJV is the one version that is inspired? And which one: the 1611, 1769 or one of revisions in between?

From the Bible alone, can you prove that the NASB isn't the inspired, preserved word of God? Or that the NKJV (which is based on exactly the same texts as the KJV) isn't the inspired, preserved word of God?

Psalm 12:7 is one of the main verses used to support KJV-onlyism. If it does indeed mean that God was going to preserve His written Word in absolute perfection through the ages, the absolute, unchanged perfect text would have to transcend the ages and be passed down through every time period. If this is so, where was God's preserved word prior to the KJV? For example in 1272 AD, or 974 AD, or 1610 AD, etc.

Though is that what Psalm 12:7 means? In the verse, God does state that He will preserve forever 'them.' I would like to share a bit about that . . . . The 1611 KJV reads:

"Thou shalt keepe them, (O LORD,) thou shalt preserve them, from this generation forever."

In the original 1611 KJV, the second “them” has a symbol directing to the margin. There it says: “Heb. Him. Euery one of them.” This is the literal Hebrew meaning of the word. For whatever reason, the translators translated it as "them" instead of "him" even though the Hebrew reads "him."

In context, according to the original Hebrew and the 1611 KJV the phrase “thou shalt preserve them” is referring to the afflicted/poor and needy in verse 5. Even with using “them”, in context, it can be seen to refer back to those in verse 5.

I would imagine you would disagree with that statement, though please bear with me and consider all of this:

Other Psalms agree with that literal translation of Psalm 12:7. Consider this sampling:

the LORD . . . forsaketh not his saints: they are preserved forever.” (Psalm 37:28 KJV)

he preserveth the souls of his saints” (Psalm 97:10 KJV)

The LORD will preserve him, and keep him” (Psalm 41:2 KJV)

The LORD shall preserve thee” (Psalm 121:7 KJV)

The Hebrew word used in Psalm 12:7 from which preserve is translated is natsar (Strongs 5341) which literally means “to guard.” This is important to remember as the meaning of "to guard" is fairly different than "to preserve" in the way that KJV-only advocates define it.

Natsar - to guard - is used 11 times in the KJV. Besides the use in Psalm 12:7, the 10 other times all refer to people, except for one which refers to God preserving (lit. “guarding”) knowledge (Proverbs 22:12.)

All 38 of the other uses in the KJV of the words 'preserve', 'preserved', 'preserver', 'preservest', and 'preserveth' also all refer to people, with only four exceptions: preserving Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:5), creation (Nehemiah 9:6), and wine and bottles (Matthew 9:17, Luke 5:38).

Not once is the word 'preserve' or its derivatives ever used to refer to preserving God's Word. It overwhelmingly refers to God preserving people.

So the literal Hebrew word used in Psalm 12:7 and the context of Scripture and how it uses 'preserving', supports that Psalm 12:7 means: God preserving men (and not His written Word . . . contrary to the KJV-only interpretation of 12:7.)

There is something else quite interesting in Psalm 12:7-8. It reads in the KJV . . .

Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve [lit. guard] them [Hebrew: him, every one of them] from this generation forever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest of men are exalted.

Note the 'from' in verse 7.

This Psalm speaks mostly of the wicked and then the “oppression of the poor” and the “sighing of the needy” because of the wicked. The Lord then arises to their aid and declares “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” (vs. 5)

Verse 6 says that the “words of the LORD” are pure and purified, which follows immediately after the promise that God verbally declared to set the afflicted in safety. It is an assurance that this promise is pure, true, and will be accomplished (as well as all His other promises.)

Immediately following this, God says He will preserve (lit. guard) them/him (the poor and needy) from this generation . . . the wicked and vile in verse 8 (as well as in verse 2-4.)

It is an explanation of how His promise of verse 5 will be fulfilled.

And what they are being 'preserved [lit. guarded] from' is very specific - "this generation" of wicked men.

'Missing' words in the other Bible Versions

You had said that there are 60,000 words missing or relegated to footnotes in all the other versions compared to the KJV. It would be quite interesting to see that number fact checked and to one-by-one examine those 'missing words.' But that's a lot beyond what we could ever do here. :) (or even over many years!)

The translation of languages is so interesting, and any time a language is translated into another, the word count likely will change, and sometimes significantly. For example, English translated into many other languages results in fewer words as other languages often have one word for what would be a whole phrase in the English language. Old English, compared to middle English, compared to our modern English, likely would have that as well.

(And actually, as we saw earlier, there are many, many 'missing' words between the 1611 KJV and the modern KJV.)

One thought to consider is that the “60,000 missing words” may not have all been left out of the other versions as is claimed, but it could instead be that the translators of the KJV (or the texts it was based off of) added some, most, or all of them in.

Consider one example of 1 John 5:7-8 in which the KJV has the following phrase and most other translations do not: “. . . in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth

This phrase has been labeled: Comma Johanneum. The first edition of Erasmus' work (which became The Textus Receptus – the foundation for the KJV) came out in 1516, and the Comma Johanneum was absent from it. It was also absent in the second edition.

The reason why it was 'missing' is that it wasn't in any of the Greek manuscripts that Erasmus examined. There was only one place it was found: The Latin Vulgate. (Which as mentioned before, was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus.)

Today, there are eight Greek manuscripts that contain the Comma Johanneum, though all are quite recent, and in half of them, the verse isn't in the main text, but is in the margin.

After his first edition came out, the reason Erasmus decided to add the Comma Johanneum into the third edition was that he was pressured by two men (and consequently the Catholic Church.) In response, he said he would include it if just one Greek manuscript could be found that had it in it.

One manuscript (Codex 61 – dated no earlier than the second decade of the 16th century) was found and produced by a Franciscan (a member of a Roman Catholic order founded by St. Francis of Assisi.)

With that one recent manuscript, Erasmus revised the text and added in the phrase in the third edition.

But there is no sure evidence of Comma Johanneum being in any Greek manuscript until the 16th century. It appears that it was originally in the marginal note of a Latin manuscript, then eventually was added into the text of Latin manuscripts during the Medieval Ages, and was then eventually added into recent Greek manuscripts.

The following link is to a factual article by a Ph.D. Greek scholar who teaches Greek, and shares more which is historically and biblically insightful: https://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8

More on the Comma Johanneum

Regarding the Greek Manuscripts not having the Comma Johanneum . . . perhaps I misread what you wrote, but the ones that you listed as being prior to the 16th century and having the Comma are actually not dates, but are the manuscript numbers:

88 – Codex Regis - (from the 12th century; the Comma Johanneum was not in the text, but was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 16th century)

221 (from the 10th century; but again the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 15th or 16th century.)

429 - Codex Wolfenb├╝ttel - (from the 14th century; again, the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added into the text until the 16th century. Dr. Bruce Metzger says that 429 is from the 16th century [Textual Commentary2, 647])

629 - Codex Ottobonianus (located at the Vatican) - (14th century – originally a Latin text alongside the Greek text. The Greek text was revised to conform to the Latin and hence, the Greek then included the Comma. The Comma was translated and copied back into the Greek from the Latin – it wasn't originally Greek.)

635 (from the 11th century – the Comma wasn't in the text, but again was in the margin; and from what I understand, it was never added into the text.)

636 (15th century; once again, the Comma Johanneum was in a marginal note and wasn't added to the text until later. Dr. Bruce Metzger says that 636 is from the 16th century [Textual Commentary2, 648])

So yes, each of these few Greek manuscripts did eventually contain the Comma Johanneum and some had it in the margin . . . but there is not one Greek Manuscript text that included it that is dated earlier than the 16th century (save for possibly one in the 15th century.)

There are four other Greek manuscript (918, 2318, 2473, and 177) that contain the Comma in their text or in the margin and they are the same as the above – they are dated no earlier than the 16th century (with two being from the 18th century; and 177 being from the 11th century with the Comma added late in the 16th century.)

Even though the Comma Johanneum was in some of the early Bible versions that you mentioned (Wycliffe's, Geneva, etc.), it still wasn't in any Greek Manuscripts at the time period those versions were translated.

You had shared regarding God's preserving His Words and specifically the Comma Johanneum: “We know they were somewhere. They would have been preserved through versions and manuscripts that followed the Hebrew and Traditional Greek texts that the KJV did.”

Except, for example, Wycliffe's Bible was not translated from any Greek or Hebrew manuscripts at all, but solely from The Latin Vulgate (which did have the Comma Johanneum in it.)

Again, The Latin Vulgate was a translation done by St. Jerome by order of Pope Damascus. (As a little side note, despite its shortcomings and errors, the Wycliffe Bible for its time was a wonderful blessing and a huge improvement from what the people had at the time! Which for those who weren't of the religious heirarchy, was pretty much no Bible at all.)

Each of those versions you mentioned could not have gotten the Comma Johanneum from a Greek Manuscript as historical evidences show there were none that included it during the time periods those versions were written.

If, however, contrary to all historical evidence, the Comma Johanneum was indeed in the original Greek manuscript and part of 1 John 5:7-8, and if God preserved His written Words perfectly down through all the ages, how could the Comma Johanneum have been absent from all the many Greek manuscripts up until those dated in the 16th century or later? Existing evidence indicates that it also was not quoted or referenced by the earliest 'church fathers.'

Scripture as the Foundation

There are many more historical and textual evidences that could be explored and talked about, though this is getting quite long! One foundational thought comes to mind, though: with letting Scripture interpret Scripture and speak for itself, it would seem that God would have been clear in His Word that He was preserving the Scriptures in the way KJV-only advocates describe. If it is absent from Scripture, it can only be conjecture. And the Bible is indeed silent regarding it.

It would seem also that He would have given some indication that this “preservation” would be for only a specific language group (English speaking people) and none others (which would be curious since the originals were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.)

If it was only for the English speaking people, consequently, all other language groups could never have God's true Word. In 2009, there were an estimated 6,909 distinct languages – all would be forever without God's true Word unless they learned to read English.

And if Psalm 12:7 means what KJV-only advocates say it does, it would only be true for English speaking people and would not be true for every other language group, or even the Hebrew people to whom it was originally written.

As a little conclusion, we do believe that God preserved His word in the sense that there are so many Greek and Hebrew manuscripts over a vast number of years which are in harmony with one another. There are several major Bible translations (including the KJV) that hold very closely to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and are also very similar to one another (which was specifically seen in my family's verse by verse comparison of much of the New Testament.)

Harmony Between the Versions

As a little more food for thought related to this, you had shared that: “There were significance [sic] doctrines that could be affected such as the Lord's Prayer, the deity of Jesus Christ, Jesus being born of a virgin, divorce and remarriage are a few that come to mind off the top of my head.”

Forgive me if I am misreading what you shared, but it seems by this that you are indicating that the other translations may not teach these doctrines, or lessens them, corrupts them, etc. The below, though, was taken from a study done by James D. Price which addresses some of these:

-Words/phrases which support the Deity of Christ: KJV=80; NKJV=81; NASB=80
-Words/phrases which support the virgin birth of Christ: KJV=3; NKJV=3; NASB=3
-Words/phrases supporting atonement by Christ's blood: KJV=30; NKJV=30; NASB=28
-Words/phrases supporting justification, etc.: KJV=18; NKJV=18; NASB=18
-Words/phrases supporting Christ's bodily resurrection: KJV=81; NKJV=81; NASB=81
-Words/phrases supporting Christ's second coming: KJV=53; NKJV=53; NASB=53
-Words/phrases supporting salvation by grace through faith: KJV=11; NKJV=11; NASB=11

Totals of the words/phrases: KJV=276; NKJV=277; NASB=274

They are almost identical when compared.

We certainly appreciate and utilize the KJV as it is a good translation, though we cannot see scriptural evidence or historical evidence that it is specifically inspired and preserved by God, that it is the only version that communicates God's Word correctly, or that it is the only version that should be used.

As with any translation done by men, some errors will be made, which is the reason why the nearly 24,000 revisions were made to the 1611 KJV, improving it and bringing it to the version that is used today. Even with the translation and scribal errors, though, these major versions are still very close to the original manuscripts.

Recommended Resources


King James Onlyism: A New Sect by James D. Price

This book is excellent! It is full of simply facts, a great deal of history, manuscript evidence (including regarding the "two lines" of manuscripts), comparisons between the KJV revisions, comparisons between the Majority Text and The Textus Receptus, and much more.


The Translators to the Readers (the original lengthy document included by the translators in the original 1611 KJV. It is really insightful.)


The King James Only Controversy by James White


A video series by James White which includes a great deal regarding the two "lines" of manuscripts

- Posted by Sarah

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Are You Shining for Him?

Last week when reading in the devotional My King and His Service by Frances Ridley Havergal, this powerful and convicting poem really spoke to my heart. The questions it asks are poignant, probing, and really made me think.

I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well to shine our light for Jesus Christ brighter . . . to love Him and serve Him with all that we are . . . if we have stumbled and shone dimly, to begin now to shine bright for Him . . . to be bold in love in sharing about our Savior and His saving gospel with others . . . to serve with a joyful heart . . . and much more . . . .

(emphasis in original)

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one?
You have given your heart to Him;
But is the light strong within it,
Or is it but pale and dim?
Can everybody see it, - 
That Jesus is all to you?
That your love to Him is burning
With radiance warm and true?
Is the seal upon your forehead,
So that it must be known
That you are 'all for Jesus,' -
That your heart is all His own?

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one?
You remember the first sweet ray,
When the sun arose upon you
And brought the gladsome day;
When you heard the gospel message,
And Jesus Himself drew near,
And helped you to trust Him simply,
And took away your fear;
When the darkness and the shadows
Fled like a weary night,
And you felt that you could praise Him,
And everything seemed bright.

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one,
So that the holy light
May enter the hearts of others
And make them glad and bright?
Have you spoken a word for Jesus,
And told to some around,
Who do not care about Him
What a Saviour you have found?
Have you lifted the lamp for others,
That has guided your own glad feet?
Have you echoed the loving message,
That seemed to you so sweet?

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one, -
Shining for Him all day,
Letting the light burn always
Along the varied way?
Always, - when those beside you
Are walking in the dark?
Always, - when no one is helping,
Or heeding your tiny spark?
Not idly letting it flicker
In every passing breeze
Of pleasure or temptation,
Of trouble or of ease?

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one, - 
Shining just everywhere,
Not only in easy places,
Not only just here or there?
Shining in happy gatherings,
Where all are loved and known?
Shining where all are strangers?
Shining when quite alone?
Shining at home, and making
True sunshine all around?
Shining abroad, and faithful -
Perhaps among faithless - found?

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one,
Not for yourself at all?
Not because dear ones, watching,
Would grieve if your lamp should fall?
Shining because you are walking
In the Sun's unclouded rays,
And you cannot help reflecting
The light on which you gaze?
Shining because it shineth
So warm and bright above,
That you must let out the gladness,
And you must show forth the love?

Are you shining for Jesus, dear one?
Or is there a little sigh
That the lamp His love has lighted
Does not burn clear and high?
Is the heavenly crown that waits you,
Still, still without a star,
Because your light is hidden,
And sent no rays afar?
Do you feel you have not loved Him
With love right brave and loyal,
But have faintly fought and followed
His banner bright and royal?

Oh, come again to Jesus!
Come as you came at first,
And tell Him all that hinders,
And tell Him all the worst;
And take His sweet forgiveness
As you took it once before,
And hear His kind voice saying,
'Peace! go, and sin no more!'
Then ask for grace and courage
His name to glorify,
That never more His precious light
Your dimness may deny.

Then rise, and, 'watching daily,'
Ask Him your lamp to trim
With the fresh oil He giveth,
That it may not burn dim.
Yes, rise and shine for Jesus!
Be brave, and bright, and true
To the true and loving Saviour,
Who gave Himself for you.
Oh, shine for Jesus, dear one,
And henceforth be your way
Bright with the light that shineth
Unto the perfect day!

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

"for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn [lit. 'proving'] what is pleasing to the Lord." Ephesians 5:8-10

- Posted by Sarah

Monday, August 15, 2016

Devoted to Prayer

When studying through the book of Acts with our church, there was one verse that particularly stood out to me when Acts 2 was taught on recently. It is a verse that gives quite a clear description of how the church, the body of believers in Christ, functions together when they gather as the church. It also presents a picture of how the heart of each of us should be . . .

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

Each one of these four things that they were “continually devoted” to are so important! And they are an integral part of our individual lives and of the church. Yet the one that my attention was immediately drawn to was the last. Devoted to prayer.

This past year has been a hard one for me to say the least, yet a blessing that came from going through something so hard was a much deeper life of prayer. Prayer became and is a refuge for me . . . God was and is always faithfully there (even at times when He may not feel near.)

He listened as I poured out my heart to Him so many times. I cannot tell you how many times I went (and still do go) for walks out in His beautiful creation just to talk with Him! Through those times of prayer, my relationship with Him has deepened and become much more intimate. He was, and continues to be, near to me, and He helped me in ways that I cannot put into words. And prayer has been such an integral part in that.

Yet I readily admit that I still struggle . . . and I still have much room for growth in this area of prayer. This was realized to even a greater extent when I studied further than I have before about what it is to truly be devoted to prayer.

Before looking at the definition of it, let's look a bit at what prayer is. It is simply communication with God either silently in our hearts or verbally spoken. Yet it encompasses so much . . . praising Him for who He is, thanking Him for His blessings, expressing our trust and faith in Him, asking for His help, bringing our requests to Him, lifting up others and their needs to Him, and more.

Sometimes I think we forget how very powerful prayer can be. As James teaches though: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16 KJV.) And it does! Prayer is powerful, and it is also beautiful communication with our Creator, our Father, our Lord.

Prayer is such an integral part of strengthening and deepening our relationship with our God and Savior. It is communicating with the One who bought us and redeemed us, the One whom we love and desire to serve and please. Through prayer, our heart becomes more in-tune with God, more open to His voice and leading, more softened to receive and follow His instruction.

Keeping in mind that prayer is also intimately linked with God's Word. It is through God's Word that we receive His guidance, and His Spirit speaks to us through it. And whatever answers we receive from God to our prayers, will always be in complete harmony with Scripture.

Prayer also communicates trust when we humbly bring our requests to Him – both for ourselves, our families, and others – it is placing all of these into His wise hands and into His control. It is a surrender to Him of those things, whatever they may be.

And to think that His ear is constantly attentive to our prayer! Whether it be praises, requests, or thanksgiving. There is a verse in 1 Peter, which is taken from the Old Testament, that speaks of this and I find it really encouraging:

For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer,” (1 Peter 3:12.)

And again in Psalm 116:1 . . . “He hears my voice and my supplications.”

Isn't it incredible to know that the God of the universe has such a great love and care for us as this? He hears our voice, He knows our innermost thoughts (Psalm 139:1-3), and He always, without fail, answers our prayers.

When considering all of this, how very much we should desire to pray to our Lord! Just think . . . He loves us more deeply than anyone else ever could. He gave His life and died in our place that we might be forgiven our sins and live eternally with Him if we believe in Him as our Savior. He cares for us in ways that our finite, short-sighted minds cannot begin to comprehend.

This is a well-spring to the example we find in Acts 2 (and also in Acts 1:14) . . . they were continually devoted to prayer. In Romans 12:12, we are also instructed to be “devoted to prayer.” Again in Colossians 4:2 we are commanded to: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

Yet, what is it to be devoted? I am sure we all have an idea in our minds of what this would look like. I know I did! And I found my defining of it significantly paling in comparison to the rich fullness of what the Greek word means.

The word for devoted used in Acts 1 and 2, Romans 12, and Colossians 4 is proskartereo (Strongs 4342.) It is one Greek word that I love . . . how very, very deep and far reaching it is!

As you read through these definitions, remember, this is to be describing our heart and action in prayer.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines it as:

- to be earnest towards
- to persevere
- to be constantly diligent in
- to attend assiduously [“showing or characterized by persistent attention or untiring application”]
- to adhere closely to

Thayer's Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it in part as: “to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting [“never slacking, persistent”] care to a thing . . . to continue all the time in a place . . . to be in constant readiness”

Just typing out these definitions brings such conviction to my heart! O to have a heart of prayer like this! As these definitions sink into my heart and mind, I can see how very beautiful such a relationship with Him can be.

It is a heart in constant and/or ready communication with the Lord . . . one that is instantly ready to thank Him for blessings (or trials) when they come . . . to praise Him all throughout the day for who He is (the Psalms give such clear examples of this!) . . . to immediately turn to Him and ask His help whenever a need arises, however large or small . . . to express our trust in Him when hard times come . . . to simply talk to Him . . . to pour out our hearts to Him.

It is a heart that instantly turns to Him in prayer when confronted with difficult situations. Or when we are asked “to give an account for the hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15), or when we defend our faith, share the gospel, or anything like that.

It is knowing and relying on the Holy Spirit's guidance in all situations as we ask God for His help, wisdom, strength, and discernment. And it is through prayer and preparation from God's Word that we can “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2.)

It is as though prayer encompasses and surrounds our every moment of every day. It is such a part of our hearts that it is who we are . . . we are characterized by a deep heart of prayer.

A heart that has a growing love for and trust in the Lord . . . and the fruit of which is being “devoted to prayer.

- Posted by Sarah

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thirsting for Him

One morning this week as I read in Matthew, a passage that is well familiar to me as it has been read and studied a great many times, caused me once again to pause: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6.)

The two words that particularly caught my attention were "hunger" and "thirst." And the object of this hungering and thirsting is "righteousness" . . . firstly, being made right with God through believing in Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior and being born again, and secondly, it is growing in righteousness, living in such a way that is in keeping with being a child of God.

This "hunger" spoken of here in Matthew means to: "crave ardently, to seek with eager desire." 

"Thirst" is for "those who . . . painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported and strengthened." (Definitions from Thayer's Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.

How powerful and convicting these definitions are! This is to be our heart towards righteousness . . . and as we find elsewhere in Scripture, toward God Himself and His Word (Psalm 119 is an excellent example.)

As I thought about the verse from Matthew, two of my favorite Psalms quickly came to mind . . . .

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, 
so my soul pants [lit. longs] for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God . . . ."
Psalm 42:1-2a

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water."
Psalm 63:1

What beautiful declarations these are of such great desire and deep longing for the Lord! O to have such a hunger and love for Him as this! 

Just as the thirsty plant in a dry and parched land desperately thirsts and reaches towards the sky for the life-sustaining rain that falls, just as the deer longs for and searches for the water which alone can satisfy its thirst and sustain its life, so should our hearts earnestly long and eagerly thirst for our God, our loving Father, our Lord.

He alone can satisfy, He alone is the "bread of life" and the "living water" that not only is a "well of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:14), but He and His Word alone are what can nourish, satisfy, and strengthen us "to walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling" (Ephesians 4:1) during our pilgrimage here on earth.

Psalm 63 in its entirety is a treasure of exhortation and examples for us. David penned this Psalm of great devotion, trust in, and longing for the Lord when he was fleeing from Saul, who wanted to take David's life (1 Samuel 22 [verse 5 specifically]) . . . .

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water . . . .

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed, 
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:1, 3-8

When David's life was at great risk and he was wandering and seeking protection and shelter, where did his thoughts turn? Where was his gaze and heart so strongly fixed? On his God. What a testimony this beautiful Psalm is of a heart so very close to the Lord!

Whenever I read through this passage, there is one thing that always particularly stands out to me . . . do you notice how many heart actions are in this Psalm? (They are bolded in the above passage.) 

David is earnestly seeking the Lord, praising Him, blessing Him, remembering Him when he retires at night; meditating upon Him during the nighttime hours; singing to Him; and he is thirsting, longing, and yearning for Him.

When studying Scripture, I love to look at the definitions of the Hebrew or Greek words as this often gives a deeper, or more thorough, understanding of what is written. The definitions of a couple of the above words that directly relate did that here . . . .

Seek . . . earnestly (one Hebrew word - 7836) - to seek early or earnestly, to look for diligently

Yearns - to pine after, to long; to faint with longing

Cling - to cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit; to stay close, cleave, follow closely

(Definitions taken from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Lexicon of the Old Testament.)

How well all of this describes what our own hearts should be toward the Lord! Remembering Him, praising and blessing Him, clinging to Him, pursuing Him and following Him closely, singing for joy in Him, yearning and thirsting for Him, earnestly seeking Him, meditating upon Him. 

It is a life all-encompassed by our love for Him and devotion to Him. A life and heart that greatly longs, seeks, and works to have our God and His Word be the guiding influence and direction in every single aspect of our lives - from the tiny details to the greatest.

And what a loving Father He is to us! As David declares here: His lovingkindness is better than life, He satisfies us as nothing else can, He is our help, He is our shelter as we can rest in the "shadow of His wings", and His right hand upholds us every step of this journey of life.

~ Posted by Sarah

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

His Word Our Lamp

Last evening I continued reading through Psalm 119 (one of my favorite Psalms!), and came to verse 105. This verse never ceases to fill my heart with thankfulness no matter how many times I read it:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

No matter the circumstances, decisions, joys, sorrows, trials, struggles . . . God’s Word is indeed a true lamp and light that is applicable to all areas of life, showing us where and how the Lord desires us to walk and so much more. It is indeed a wealth of perfect wisdom directly from the Lord God to us!

As I sit here typing and contemplating this verse, the little word ‘is’ caught my eye. God’s Word is a lamp and a light, not may be, but is. Isn’t that a wonderful truth? There is nothing that comes to us that God through His Word cannot give us direction in how to respond. There is no circumstance so painful that His Word cannot touch. There is no darkness so great that His true lamp and light cannot illumine our path and guide our feet steadfastly on.

"Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:21.)

As God's Word is this one true lamp for our feet, how vital it is that we not be neglectful of it! How can we see the lamp guiding if our eyes are closed to its light? How can we see and avoid the dangerous trails that diverge off of the true path if we do not know how to discern God's true light from the false light? How can we be sure that the steps we are taking are truly upon the path that God desires us to walk if we do not know His Word which is our only sure guide? (along with the Holy Spirit teaching us His Word and bringing it to our remembrance.)

The simple answer is . . . we cannot.

Psalm 119 (from which the verse is taken that began this post) is a Psalm filled with deep love, reverence, and commitment to God's Word. In it, the Psalmist expresses in beautiful language his intense longing and desire after the Scriptures and after the Author of those Scriptures . . .

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." vs. 9-11

"I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love. And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes." 47-48

"I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments." vs. 59

"Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." vs. 97

"Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way." vs. 128

"I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, and do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly. I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You." vs. 166-168

These few verses shared here are but a taste of the fullness of this beautiful Psalm. May all that is shared in it be our heart's cry and earnest desire as well. May we truly love His perfect Word and let it be the lamp and light for our path and follow it wherever it leads. Thanking the Lord that in His great love, He provided such a sure and true light for us to follow and obey!

-Posted by Sarah

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Always Being Ready

During times when we are in town, it is not uncommon for someone to come up to us and either make a comment about our dress and/or demeanor or to ask questions about our faith, what church we go to, etc. This has been a learning and growing experience for me!

I love discussing Scripture with others and sharing about the Lord, but sometimes if I am not expecting it and if my mind is preoccupied with other things, it can be a little challenging to know how best to respond or to be able to switch my focus and thought processes to sharing about and/or defending the faith. So each time one of these opportunities arises, I try to learn from it and then prepare better for the next time!

Well last week, we had another of these opportunities . . . Leah and I were in town mailing packages and picking up some business supplies, when a man approached us in one of the stores and asked the question “What church do you go to?” That question opened the door for about a fifteen minute conversation with this gentleman.

Towards the beginning of the conversation, we explained the basics about what we believe, and he shared that he belonged to ‘The Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic’ (There was more to the name, but I can’t remember the rest of it. I looked up the denomination online afterwards, and found that they have some significant doctrinal error . . . in addition to what we had already realized from our conversation with him.)

He seemed really interested to hear what we believed, and a little debative too, which made it interesting! We shared about the gospel for a brief time, and then the conversation turned towards the Trinity and the deity of Christ. This gentleman believed that while Christ was the Son of God, He was not God, but was instead just a great prophet and the first apostle.

We talked together cordially about this for around ten to fifteen minutes asking questions, sharing Scriptures (including some of the ones where Christ Himself testified that He was God), and gently challenging him a bit, before he turned to go. As he left, it was our hope and prayer that something we said might encourage him to question his false belief and then turn in true faith to Jesus Christ.

Once the conversation was over, I began going over it in my mind . . . seeing what I could have said more clearly, thinking of other Scriptures that could have been brought up, what things that he mentioned that would have been good to address, etc. Basically, analyzing the conversation in order to learn and grow from it so that I will be better equipped for the next time as there is much room for improvement!

Since then, I have continued to give all of this a great deal of thought, prayer, as well as discussing it with my family, and have been evaluating my own heart. The Lord has called us as His children and as disciples of Christ, to “always [be] ready” (1 Peter 3:15.) Are we? Are we always ready to defend, teach, and share God’s truth with others? Are we prepared? How can we grow in this and become better prepared and equipped to effectively share God’s truth with others? For we should know what we believe, why we believe it, and then be able to articulate it in an understandable way and with “gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15.)

I came up with several ways to grow in this, and I would love to hear any advice or thoughts that any of you may share! Here is what I have so far . . .

--Read, study, and become very familiar with Scripture

This is one area that I am very thankful that my parents ingrained in me when I was young! How important it is to read the Bible from beginning to end over and over and over, and especially the New Testament. A good goal would be to read through the entire Bible every year and the New Testament twice. The more we read and become familiar with Scripture, the better our recall and ability will be in order to defend it and share it.

--Memorize key Scriptures that explain and teach the basic tenets of the gospel

I am seeing ever more how important this is! And then when the verses are memorized, to use them. To use not simply our own words (“I think . . .”, “I believe . . .”, etc.), but instead, “God has said in His Word . . .” or “Scripture teaches . . .”, etc. (and this doesn’t mean only using word-for-word quotations, but includes explaining what is taught in Scripture.) God’s Word is effective! It is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (1 Peter 4:12.)

--Seek counsel from others, and especially older men and women in the faith.

In Scripture, the older are to teach the younger, instructing them in the truths of God’s Word. There is so much to learn from the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of older men and women of God!

--Prepare our hearts and minds in advance for when situations do arise (I think this one is key for me!)

Before going to town or to places where situations such as this can come up, pray and prepare our hearts and expect something to happen. Then if/when it does, it doesn’t catch us off guard or unprepared, but we are equipped both mentally and spiritually for it.

--When situations arise, immediately turn to the Lord and ask for His wisdom and for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide. 

This is vital! For we need the Holy Spirit’s guidance, leading and wisdom, and He can bring to our remembrance His Word and Truth in order to know what and how to share.

--Do mock mental ‘run throughs’ of various conversations that could take place.

Such as, if someone asks about why we dress the way we do, what answer would we give? How could the conversation be turned to sharing the gospel? What about if the Trinity is brought up and challenged, what Scriptures could be used to defend that Jesus Christ was indeed God in the flesh? What if someone says they believe that physical works (baptism, obedience, etc.) are necessary for salvation? How would we use Scripture to accurately show the error in this belief? What questions could we ask to help lead them to see that what they are holding to is not true?

For me personally, there are some areas I am better prepared to discuss than others . . . the error of baptismal regeneration for example. The reason why, though, is from a great deal of study on this topic and writing about it extensively. What if I/we did the same with other, or even all, major tenets of the faith? How much better prepared we would be for when different circumstances and conversations would arise!

Just writing these thoughts down convicts my heart and makes me excited to pursue (and continue to pursue!) these different ideas. I am sure there are other ways to grow in this, too, and I would love to hear any ideas that you all may have!

-Posted by Sarah

Monday, October 28, 2013

Walk as Children of Light

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-9

There is such joy as a child of God in knowing that what we were formerly, darkness, we are no longer . . . but we are Light in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He has shed abroad His love and His light in our hearts, having redeemed our hearts and transformed us into blood-bought children of the Father. As His children, it but follows that we receive the exhortation that Paul gives not only to the Ephesians, but to us as well, to leave the works of the darkness behind and “walk as children of Light.” 

If we think of our physical lives . . . if we are a teacher, we teach, if we are a painter, we paint, if we are a construction worker, we build. We do those physical things associated with our position. How much more so in the spiritual with being children of God are we to do and be those things reflective of children of God!

To carry this thought further, as we look at the command given in Ephesians, we see that certain aspects of our lives are not singled out as areas that we are to “walk as children of Light” in, but the exhortation given is to encompass all of our life . . . every single aspect is to represent and reflect this Light of Christ. It is to be the characterization of, and foundation for, how we live, act, speak, and think. 

We also find in Ephesians that this walking in the Light is linked with “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Christ Himself testified that He always did “the things that are pleasing to Him [i.e. the Father]” (John 8:29.) So not only are we exhorted to walk in the Light and to “learn what is pleasing to the Lord”, we also have an example in our perfect Savior that we can follow!

Yet how do we know specifically what pleases our Father? Or in what ways Jesus Christ pleased Him? To find the answer to these questions, we must go to God’s Word which He has given to us. Scripture is the source for all that we need to know about what the Lord desires of us both in coming into a right relationship with Him through believing in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, and then the consequent obedience and growth in Christ that follows.

As redeemed children of God, it should be our great delight, and not only that, but strong desire, to study out what pleases our heavenly Father and then to obey it. His Word is richly full with commands, exhortations, and wisdom for all areas of our lives. There is not an aspect of our life that cannot be touched, transformed, and influenced by His Word! And as we learn better what He desires of us, then comes the implementation and the striving to walk in obedience to His will, trusting in the Lord and His Holy Spirit to guide, direct and help us.

Pleasing the Lord can be summarized in but one word: obedience. Obedience to all of the commands that the Lord has given to us in Scripture. In 1 John, we are told: 

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments . . . the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:3, 6 

The word “keep” as used in verse 3, means "to watch over, preserve, keep", and basically, "to hold as one’s own." In essence, His commandments become the rule and standard that we hold our lives to and strive to pattern after. 

This “keeping” is in no way a legalistic or business-like endeavor, but this “keeping” of His commandments is a reflection and a fruit of our love for Him. For as Christ says . . . 

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 

Not may keep, but will keep. If we truly love Him, we will be striving to obey His Word in all areas of our lives. We will be seeking to walk in the Light as He is in the Light. Having a heart that has as its strong desire to please the Lord in everything and is then putting forth the effort and denial of self, while trusting in the Lord’s grace and strength, to walk in obedience, to truly “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (Ephesians 4:1)

As we seek to walk in this manner, the Light of Christ will be reflected and the fruits of that Light will be borne . . . as Ephesians states: “all goodness and righteousness and truth.” And what is the source of this goodness, righteousness and truth? They come from but one source, and that is God. It is through Him and through obeying Him, that we can grow in and produce these fruits of the Light that bring glory to Him. 

The summation of the passage in Ephesians is a beautiful one . . .

 “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” 

As we walk in the Light and in obedience to the Lord’s Word, we are pleasing Him. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? He is pleased when we obey! I am sure many of us can remember the joy that came as children when we received the pleasure of our earthly parents when we obeyed or did those things that we knew that they wanted us to do or that we knew would make them happy. As children of God, we can experience a joy so many times more than this as we seek to please our heavenly Father! 

His eyes are always on us, His heart is desiring us to walk in obedience, He is always there to supply the strength and grace that we need. Let us trust Him . . . let us truly die to ourselves and live for Him . . . let us choose this day to, with our whole hearts, strive to walk in His Light and in His truth, reflecting Him and the fruits of the Spirit, pleasing Him moment by moment as we seek to live our lives in obedience to Him and for His glory.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 

-Posted by Sarah

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fear of the Lord

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many times we read and study God’s Word, there are always more truths to learn and discover? Always more ways to apply His Word to our lives and grow in Him? I find this especially true when studying individual words and phrases as well as how they are used elsewhere in Scripture. God’s Word is a treasure trove of wisdom and teaching from our heavenly Father to us, and it seems I have but barely scratched the surface of its depths! His word truly is “living and active” and “the lamp for [our] feet and the light for [our] path.

It was during one of these recent word studies that I was amazed and excited with what was found. Hence the writing of this post. :) I hope that the discovery will bless and encourage your heart as it did mine!

When recently going through and studying once again the passages of Scripture that are directed to women, one of the first phrases that came to mind to study further was ‘respectful behavior’ (found in 1 Peter 3:2.) This phrase, as well as a similar one in Titus 2:3, has always intrigued me and has been one that I wanted to refresh my mind on as well as to learn more about it . . . what does it look like? How is it expressed?

Before sharing the findings, here is 1 Peter 3:1-2 as it reads in the NASB . . .

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

So often when studying specific verses or phrases, I turn to a Greek interlinear to learn what the text would read in the original language. When looking in the interlinear during this particular study, I found it to be quite different than what was in the NASB. It reads:

“. . . observing the pure conduct of you in fear.” 1 Peter 3:2

It surprised me to find that the literal translation is not “respectful”, but it is instead “fear”! The words had also been rearranged slightly. (The KJV has a more proper rendering as it reads “while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”) This discovery provoked so much thought and further study!

It was found that the Greek word used in this passage is phobos which literally means ‘alarm’ or ‘fright.’ One way it is used in Scripture is to indicate a fear/terror of something, yet through what the Lord teaches in His Word, we know that this isn’t the type of fear that He desires us to have. So what is this fear that is being referred to in 1 Peter? What is found is that this same Greek word, phobos, is also the same word (and its derivatives) that is used in the New Testament for fearing the Lord. Isn’t that fascinating? In essence, as women, our “pure conduct” would be the direct fruit of our fear of the Lord! Our fear and reverence of Him is the foundation and support for how we conduct ourselves . . . and in the context of this passage in Peter, it is what can draw an unsaved husband to the Lord.

Looking in Vine’s Expository Dictionary lent even more insight and conviction to this verse . . .



a)    “fear, dread, terror”

b) “reverential fear” (1) of God as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral . . . a wholesome dread of displeasing Him . . . which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God . . . the reverential ‘fear’ of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His ‘fear’.


How sobering and convicting this is! Our fear of God is what is to be the influence behind our conduct, our words, our thoughts, our actions, and yes, our behavior. In essence, our fear of God is to influence everything in our lives.

Yet even more than ‘influence’, as Vine's Expository Dictionary expresses so well, it is to be the controlling motive behind how we live our lives and is characterized by carefulness so that our conduct will always be pleasing to our Lord.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

-Posted by Sarah