God Speaking, Man Writing

Saturday, July 8, 2017

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21 KJV).

Behold, the dual nature of the Bible—written by God and man!

A common assumption about the Bible is that it is man’s book about God. While it is true that God used men to write the Bible, today’s Scripture is clear that the Bible was not “by the will of man.” That is, men did not suddenly desire to write about God. Rather, God chose to cause man to write down His Word. The credit goes to one Member of the Godhead in particular—God the Holy Ghost.

Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, the Lord Jesus gave the best definition for “inspiration:” “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The words of the Bible came directly out of God’s mouth, and He caused men to write down those words. He put His Spirit into some words; He breathed them out, speaking them forth. They are thus “the lively oracles” (Acts 7:38)—the “quick [living and life-giving] and powerful” words of God (Hebrews 4:12).

God did not give His words to angels for them to give it to man. Nay, He gave it directly to us in the form of a multiplicity of reliable manuscript copies. We have the privilege of having it today in our language, English, in the King James Bible. Despite all of the corruptions over the centuries, we still have a pure Bible text, one just as authoritative and reliable today as it was when it was first written some two millennia ago.

Beware of the counterfeits! The verses following today’s Scripture caution: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

Read the Copy!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them (Deuteronomy 17:18,19 KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript copies?

Friend, if you have read or heard material from seminary and/or Bible College students, and/or their staunch sympathizers, you know their maxim. They declare, ad nauseum: “We do not have the original Bible manuscripts. All we have is copies. Only the autographs were perfect and inspired of God.” They exalt the originals (which they know no longer exist); they belittle the copies (which alone exist). Leave it to theologians to embrace such absurdity: “I have full confidence in original manuscripts that I can neither access nor read. As for these manuscript copies we do have, they are good but not infallible. By the way, my doctrinal statement is perfect—the Bible out of which I derived it is not!”

We should have a verse somewhere to support what we believe or teach. There is not a verse in all of Scripture—in any manuscript or version—that supports the idea that manuscript copies are less reliable than the originals. However, there is a verse—several, actually—that shows us that God equates original manuscripts (“autographs”) and their resultant copies (“apographs”). When Israel’s king assumed the throne, today’s Scripture says that God commanded that he copy the original manuscripts of Moses’ writings (Genesis through Deuteronomy, the “Pentateuch”). The originals were kept in the Ark of the Covenant; the king was to read his own personal copy!

In God’s mind, the copy was just as authoritative as the originals, for that copy would prevent the king from “turning… aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left” (verse 20). If the king obeyed the copy, God declared he would not make a mistake (indicating the Bible copy was also inerrant). Either we believe the King James Bible, or we believe theologians!

Large Print #3

Monday, January 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Large Print #2

Sunday, January 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Large Print #1

Saturday, January 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Please take some moments to think about it!

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

To Know the Holy Bible

Friday, November 25, 2016

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know the Holy Bible as God wants you to know it!

Visiting a “Christian” bookstore or website, looking for a Bible, is a most daunting task. There are many translations from which to choose—NLT, Amplified, ESV, the Message, HCSB, the Voice, “God’s Word,” NRSV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, the Living Bible. Which to buy? Oh, but these are the more recent versions. Actually, during the last 135 years, 100 to 200 modern English translations have been published and marketed! Sadly, “scholars”—employing heathen, non-Christian viewpoints—have used their perversions of the Holy Bible to harass and divide the Christian public.

Satan is the master deceiver. Literally, the best counterfeiter there has ever been and ever will ever be! The Devil’s first words ever uttered in Scripture are found in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan attacked God’s Word by questioning it. Even today, he uses the flesh of men who say, “A better translation is…. This passage is not found in the ‘oldest and best’ manuscripts… That word is wrong…. This verse is not inspired…. We need to publish another version with better readings….” Yet, these are often the “educated” people leading our seminaries, Bible colleges, and churches! They echo Satan’s damnable question, “Yea, hath God said…?”

Concerning the New Testament, there are over 5,500 Greek manuscripts (excluding other languages). About 90 to 95 percent agree with our King James Bible. Only a handful of manuscripts disagree with this majority, and that handful (which even disagree amongst themselves!) has been used in “scholarly” circles to cast doubt on God’s preserved Word in English. If the King James Bible has been used by Anglophone Christians for over 400 years, we should hold fast to it today… especially in this day of rampant false teaching!

You may click here for more information about Bible versions: https://333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com/bible-timeline-other-study-aids/.

Paper, Pen, and Ink

Monday, November 14, 2016

“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of thy elect sister greet thee” (2 John 12,13 KJV).

We use today’s Scripture to glimpse into the culture of “New Testament” times!

The Apostle John wrote in his Third Epistle, verses 13 and 14: “I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.”

In John’s day, A.D. first century, “paper” was quite different from our paper. The cheaper—and thus, more common—form was papyrus. Thin strips were cut from the papyrus plant reed, laid side-by-side and overlapped, with an alternating layer glued on top, all pressed together to form a sheet. More expensive (and rarer) writing media were vellum (calf skins—higher quality) and parchment (bull and goat skins—lesser quality). Text written on skins would obviously last longer than that which was written on papyrus. Scrolls were first, with codices (books) arriving in the third and fourth centuries. What they called “ink” was really a mixture of soot and water, with gum added to make the ink more durable. The “pen” they used for writing was either a small dried reed/stick, cut to a point at one end; or a quill (feather); which was filled with the “ink.”

Friends, it is quite difficult for us to imagine just how laborious writing was in those days. Instruments and materials were crude and sometimes hard to obtain. They did not have computers to which they could dictate, or keyboards on which to type fast. Furthermore, if they wanted to copy a text, there was no photocopying machine. Copying had to be done entirely by hand! Surely, it was very time consuming. However, there were prophets in both “Old and New Testaments,” guided by the Spirit of God, to ensure the Holy Bible was accurately copied and collated. Consider what has been written here. Then, look at your physical Bible today, friend. It has come a long, LONG way! 🙂