Bible Wars

The body of Christ is supposed to be one church, no not one church building or one group of people, not one part of the world. When He gave us instructions to be of one body He wasn’t talking about our comfortable, well fed western way of living a Christian life where we do not have to worry about our lives, or have to be concerned come Sunday where we plan to meet for worship.

When I think about the analogy of “one body” I see the Christians here in the west as an important part of that body, just as important as the rest but in a different way. We can be his hands and feet here in an entirely different way than the rest of the world can. We can study His Word in depth and spend a lot of time doing so without worry of persecution or even prosecution for that matter, we are allowed to dig deep and I for one am grateful for this freedom we still have.

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Sometimes this freedom gets us into trouble, into trouble with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes we take our Bibles and put them in a lower position than they deserve, this is the Word of God we handle and sometimes we take that for granted and mistreat it. i think we need to take a look at the history of the Holy Bible.

The Bible consists of many books, its not just one book its sixty six books to be exact. originals were hand written in Hebrew or Greek, some portions were in Aramaic. The books span about fifteen hundred years of human history. Original copies of the books have been lost to history, most of them anyway. What we have in our possession today are copies of the originals, handwritten copies, word for word copies of what was written. The copies are mostly in Greek and Hebrew.

Over the years it was translated to latin, german and eventually english. English is a tricky language as you should know by now and it has changed a lot over the years, since our most popular version of the Bible written in 1611 the beloved King James Version was released Christians have heralded this version as the version. In its time it was a great work to undertake and it landed its publishers in hot water as well but that is another blog. Unfortunately many Christians do not understand that since 1611 we’ve uncovered new manuscripts that were unavailable to the 47 scholars who translated the King James. The King James is an excellent work of art really, it’s God Word as much as any other version but it does have inaccuracies, it also has a couple of additions that are not in the original. I will get to that a little later.

There is a movement among Christians called the “King James Only” movement, Christians that tend to look at the King James as if it’s the original, like Jesus spoke english with an english accent in medieval times. I find this disturbing because we aren’t supposed to be divided especially not about which Bible to read. The growing controversy among believers is that one version is more reliable than another and its causing division among us, people listen we cannot allow the enemy to plant seeds of doubt as to which Bible we should read, the second we give in to this lie than he has already won. Truth is most Bibles you find at the local Christian book store are reliable and accurate. Including the King James.

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talking flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

The argument I have heard far too much lately is that the NIV (New International Version) has missing verses. I would like to clarify this misconception. Like most people I write notes in my Bible when I read, most of the time in the margins, well the original authors did this sometimes as well, so did the people who copied the originals, the men who did the copies would add their own notes not as part of scripture but as a reminder for themselves. Well what could happen then was when the next guy came around to make another copy he would take those side notes as part of the original scripture. This is what happened in Matthew chapter 6, take a look…

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

That is how verse 10-13 read in the King James Version, notice the last part starting with “for thine” and then take a look at how the NIV reads…

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

You’ll notice that the last thirteen words from the KJV are not in the NIV. Why would they leave out what looks to be a very important part of scripture? The short answer is they didn’t leave anything out, King James added those words as if they were a part of scripture from the manuscripts they had, they didn’t do anything wrong but later when scholars went to publish the NIV they went as far back as they could right to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that were discovered after the King James was long completed, those words were not found in the earliest manuscripts.

What could look as an omission of scripture was actually never there to begin with, this is where people can get confused and than start to look at newer versions of the Bible as being deceitful. Friends please understand whether you choose to read the KJV or the NIV or the NLT or the ESV like I do this is not where we should be arguing.

Yes it’s true that some versions are written specifically for certain types of studies, and others are written for ease of reading, I have read the NIV cover to cover and loved it, now I read the ESV Study Bible and can’t get enough, one is not better than the other, but the ESV has an ease about it that I can’t quite explain but it flows like a story or a book.

It is also extremely important to note that when a new version is in the works it is not a task that one person takes on himself, it’s a team of scholars that do it together, this way it cannot have the bias of one individual rather the team looks at it as Gods work.

The Bible is the most translated book in the history of the world, from the Greek and Hebrew texts to the hundreds of languages around the world today, we cannot compare one english version to another english version and expect them to be the same, that would be like comparing a man to a woman and expecting them to be the same. If you want to know what the original says you can, learn Greek and Hebrew and go to the bookstore and pick up a Greek/Hebrew version. For the rest of us we must trust that God is in control and when He places a copy of the Bible in our hands that we can trust it. it may not look exactly the same as the original but neither will the hundreds of different and unique languages around the world, but millions have been saved around the world using a translated Bible that may not be perfect, their salvation is not in a discrepancy of words, rather its in the Lord Jesus and the fact that they placed their trust in Him.

Do not let seeds of doubt planted out there seep into your hearts, God is in control, Gods Word is to be trusted and the Bible you hold in your hands and the Bible I hold in my hands can and should be trusted. There are many reasons the world tries to divide us and we cannot let them.

http://www.christianbiblereference.org is a wonderfully written website that can articulate much better than I can so pay them a visit.

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