The Best Bible Translation
By Gary Amirault
(Rather lengthy, but important article)
Probably more than any other question, I am asked “Which Bible translation is the most accurate or the one closest to the original Hebrew and Greek?” Comparing Bible translations and various Biblical texts is something I spend a great deal of my time on. I have hundreds of Bible translations, Parallel Bibles, Hebrew-Greek-English Interlinears, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, Syrian texts and Bible dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, commentaries, etc. My computer is filled with incredible software to aid in determining the wording of the Bible that is most probable of being the original form. These tools are very valuable to me. But even if I had the perfect original, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek – even if I had a perfect English translation, I believe there is something far more important than either of them. Let me explain:
Many years ago, I was in the middle of a very busy business day, about to enter a printing shop when I saw a homeless person come to the door of my car. I knew he was going to ask me for money.
Under my breath I said, “Lord, please don’t put him in my life right now. I am too busy.” What a stupid thing to say! Of course the Lord put him in my life.
He was a chronic alcoholic who lived under a bridge and often found himself in trouble. He had no teeth. One of his relatives had them all pulled, but never got around to getting him dentures. Although he was in his 50’s, his mental abilities were that of a child.
I ended up spending several weeks trying to get him help with his alcoholic problem and other serious needs. The experience showed me how ineffective our social service programs for helping alcoholics are. At one point during these few weeks, I took him to a minister in hopes of having him delivered of unclean spirits. We commanded everything under the sun to come out of him, but he just stared at us, annoyed.
We began to quote various Scriptures to him. We hoped “the word of God,” (King James Authorized Version, of course) would set him free. We tried binding and loosing – everything we could think of.
Getting a little irritated with our zealousness, pointing to the Bible in my hand, he said to me, “Did you ever read the @#^*?” As I mentioned already, he had no teeth and I often did not understand what he was saying. I told him I didn’t understand so he repeated himself. I still didn’t understand. He repeated, “Did you ever read the @#^*?!” He was angrily poking the open pages of my Bible with his index finger. Finally, I made out what he was saying. He said, “Did you ever read the white?!” Instantly, those words pierced me with the divine revelation behind his words. Light broke through. Could I read between the lines. The words on pages of a book are black marks on white pages. When we read, we only look at the black ink, but the ink is actually on a white page. Each black letter was surrounded by white. It was the large white page that carried the small black letters. Could I see beyond the black ink -- beyond -- “it is written!?” “THE LETTER KILLS, IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT GIVES LIFE!” (2 Cor. 3:6) Could I read by the Holy Spirit? Could I go beyond the literal word and REALLY get the meaning? That is what this drunk sage was trying to tell me.
The words “I love you” for example can have many different meanings depending upon who said them, at what time and to whom, and for what purpose. True meaning goes far beyond the actual spoken or written word. This article is about learning to go beyond the “It is written” Church mentality which has brought legalism, fundamentalism and many other isms which have prevented us, His people, from moving into the Spirit of His Holy Word. There are many forces in this world arrayed against God’s people to prevent us from entering into our inheritance. Bible translating and interpreting has been an area in which the devil has had a field day. In the coming years, this is going to change. Get ready for a mighty outpouring of revelation that will truly set His people free that we may go into the world and into creation itself to set it free from its bondage to corruption. We need to get free to love with His love first.
Reading the White
My drunken friend ended up dying of alcoholism. Before knowing the Lord, I swore I’d never go to a funeral. (Dumb again.) His family asked me to preach his eulogy. Before he died he told me that one time he went to heaven. Somehow, I believe him. After all, where else can one learn to read the white? Have you ever read the white?
Let me give the reader another example of “reading the white” and the profound effects such an experience can have on one’s life and the lives of those around them:
Martin Luther and Righteousness Through Faith
In the early 1500’s a Catholic monk named Martin Luther tried to live a life holy enough to be accepted by God. Unlike most Christians of that time period, he could read the Bible. The Bible was off limits to the common people. Most Christians could not read, but even if they did, the Church forbid them from reading the Bible. Church leaders at that time (like many church leaders today) did not think the average Christian was capable of understanding it – they felt Christians needed priests to explain to them what God demands of them. Actually many Christians do not believe they can really understand the Bible on their own. They attend churches who have trained ministers who tell them what the Bible really means. Things haven’t changed as much as we would like to think.
During the time when Christians were not allowed to read the Bible, the Church did not allow it to be translated into common languages such as English, German, Spanish or French. Latin, to the Roman Catholic Church, was the “sacred language.” Therefore, church services were done in Latin. Most people couldn’t understand Latin. In his way, the Church leadership kept laypeople in darkness. Martin Luther, however, was a monk; therefore he had access to the Bible in its Latin form.
He read in Romans 1:17 that “in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.” He was really struggling with that verse. How desperately he wanted to attain to the “righteousness of God.” He fasted, beat himself, denied himself all sorts of earthly pleasures to gain this “righteousness of God” according to what he thought was the “word of God.” But his conscience was always a witness against him. The more Luther tried to attain the righteousness of God by doing what he thought God’s Law demanded, the further away from God he felt he was. The church of his time was very law-centered. (While most Christians cannot discern it, the modern church is very law-centered too, but in a more disguised form than in Luther’s day. Perhaps the reader can identify with Luther.)
What really troubled Martin Luther about this verse is that it stated that the righteousness of God (which Luther wanted more than life itself), was “revealed” in the “Good News,” that is, the Gospel. But Martin saw no good news in the “Good News.” He saw nothing but condemnation. Luther’s problem is one countless Christians face today as well.
Luther read the words in the Bible through the theological definitions of Dark Age theologians who twisted the meaning of words like grace, sanctification, justification, faith, righteousness, justice, etc. from their true original meaning. This is exactly what the Jewish leadership did with the Scriptures when Jesus came to Israel 2,000 years ago. Jewish Rabbis like Hillel, Shamai, Gamaliel, etc., reinterpreted the meaning of words and concepts in the Bible so that people couldn’t see the truth anymore even when they were reading the Scriptures themselves. Their teachings put scales over people’s eyes preventing them from seeing the truth because the words and concepts were redefined, turning the truth into a lie.
Church leaders did the same thing in Luther’s day as many still do today. Even though Luther was sincerely trying to understand God’s will, these traditions and teachings of men prevented him from seeing what was plainly written. (See Matt. 15:6-9)
Every denomination does this. Some key people in the past (usually men) interpret words, phrases, or books of the Bible a certain way, attract disciples which form churches which create institutions to perpetuate that teaching, add more teaching, build centers of education to train men and women to perpetuate this faith, excommunicate those within who deviate from this new system, develop Sunday School curriculum, build publishing houses which publish only books that stay within that system and wholla – a new denomination which locks its members into a mindset invented by some men and/or women long dead.
Luther saw “the righteousness of God” through the lens of the teachings of the “School of Scholastic theologians” of the latter part of the Middle Ages (1100-1500 AD). Scholastics like Duns Scotus, Peter Lombard, and Thomas Aquinas taught that the righteousness of God was God’s means of meting out justice or punishment. To the Scholastics of the Roman Catholic Church, the term “righteousness of God” was simply another word for law – for God’s demands upon man – demands which were really unattainable as Martin Luther or any other sincere person soon found out. Their “righteousness of God” was really the same burden as the pack of rules that the Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers and scribes put on the backs of the people while unwilling or unable to lift a finger to help them. This hypocritical Pharisaic Spirit has been alive and well in all three of the Western monotheistic religions right up to our own times.
Luther in his writings said that whenever he came across the term “righteousness of God” it “struck my conscience like lightning.” It was “like a thunderbolt in my heart.” His conscience continually told him he was an unrighteous sinner who fell short of what he thought was God’s standard for righteousness. Because of his inability to attain it, his torment and anguish caused Luther to come to the place of utterly hating this righteousness, the God who demanded it and himself. To Luther, God became a fiend who expected from fallen man what he (Martin) was incapable of giving. It nearly drove Luther insane. (Some historians and theologians believe Luther did go insane, at least temporarily.)
After days of meditation in much darkness and great torment of soul, daylight broke through. Luther was given the revelation that true righteousness was actually imparted to us through the faith of Jesus Christ. Righteousness was an imputed gift; it was not something we had to attain through our self-efforts.
After the light broke through, when those very same words “the righteousness of God” were seen through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, Luther said that he “was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” Luther had entered the “peace that passes understanding” which Jesus promised to give all those who received His faith. This “peace” is a supernatural peace nothing in this world can duplicate. The true understanding of a handful of words in a corrupted Latin text read by the light of the Holy Spirit completely changed Martin Luther’s life. This is REVELATION. This is what “reading the white” is all about.
It greatly grieves me to know that there are millions of Christians who go to church every Sunday and yet have never EXPERIENCED the “peace that passes understanding,” the “unspeakable joy” which Jesus promised to bring, the forgiveness which the blood/life of Christ brings to the conscience, the unconditional love of God which brings security that nothing in this world can take away, the Living Word etc. I’ve met so many Christians who have been taught that true faith is not a feeling; that one is just supposed to trust that if they believe that Jesus died for their sins that they will go to heaven and that that should be good enough for them. Go to church regularly, listen to the pastor or priest, sing a few songs, pay your tithes, shut up and wait for Jesus’ return and hope you’re right with Him when He comes. That’s church in a nutshell. Maybe if you’re in a Pentecostal or Charismatic church, they’ll let you shout or dance a little too. Poppycock!
“Being in the Spirit,” “being led by the Spirit,” “being “filled with the Spirit,” etc. floods one with the supernatural; and He greatly affects our feelings, both physical and spiritual. The gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the works of the Holy Spirit should explode from our being and should manifest in great expressions of “feelings!” Revelation, like when the light of God touches down on a portion of Scripture brings a delight that is often indescribable – a delight that most literalists, legalists, traditionalists, fundamentalists have not yet enjoyed. Why? Because they are DEAD! The dead have no feelings.
Literalism and Legalism is Joyless
On the day of Pentecost, when the tongues of fire fell upon the 120 disciples, they were DRIVEN into the streets of Jerusalem declaring “the wonderful works of God” in all the languages of the world. Let me tell you, these men and women were FEELING wonderful! When the Holy Spirit moves through a Christian they KNOW it. True faith is not blind. The faith of Christ in a believer brings them into a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ that affects every part of the body, soul and spirit including the emotions. Show me a Christian who says he trusts in the Lord but is not emotional about the things of God and I’ll show you a dead Christian who has swallowed the “traditions of men” and not the Living Word of God!
True faith will bring tears of great joy. True faith will bring an exhilaration that makes what the world calls exciting look quite dull. A Spirit-filled Christian life should be exciting, adventurous, holy, full of compassion, full of joy, full of love and great peace. True, we should not “trust” in our feelings. Feelings can be misleading, but when the faith of Christ truly comes into our hearts, there will be indescribable joy which is a feeling. And if these things are not a part of one’s Christianity, they really should seek Christ again in a fresh way and seek out fellowship with other hungry believers who express the Life of Christ. True faith really gives one the ability to lay down their life for the gospel’s sake.
I’m not talking about ritualized hype. Raising hands, jumping up and down, falling over, etc can be just as much a ritual as standing to sing hymns in more traditional churches. However, when the real faith comes and the Holy Spirit stirs within there will be a natural tendency to want to physically express what is going on the inside. Raising hands, jumping up and down for joy, screaming “Hallejujah” is as natural to one baptized in the Holy Spirit as it is for a baby to smile.
The Pharisaic Spirit (hypocritical), which is produced through legalism, whether in Jews, Christians or Moslems will produce two conditions in a person; it will produce a blinding pride from self-righteousness – and at the same time it will produce a hidden self-loathing because the conscience will convict the soul that it has fallen short of the standard the person has set up for others. “The law (legalism) works wrath.” “Fear has torment.” When we are in this condition we become tormented and in turn torment others. We turn that wrath towards our perceived enemies. However, as we judge, we judge ourselves and will ultimately reap the bitter fruit of our judgments. (Rom. 4:15) “As you sow, so shall you reap.” (Gal. 6:7) “In the same measure you give out, that same measure will be given back.”(Luke 6:38) If we use “the law” to condemn others (as a self-righteous legalist always does), condemnation will come back to us, though often it is through a different form or person. When we become self-righteous, we exalt and glorify ourselves by putting other people down. That’s one of the short-comings of the Law of Moses. The glory of the Mosaic Law is condemnation. Paul even called the Ten Commandments, which was the highest part of Mosaic Covenant, the “ministry of death” and the “ministry of condemnation.” One might ask how condemnation can be considered glorifying. Lifting ourselves above other people by judging them as below ourselves through standards other than God’s own standard lifts us above them in our own eyes. This is how “glory” is used in 2 Corinthians chapter 3. We temporarily feel good about ourselves when we can put other people beneath us through judging them. I am writing about this nasty judgmental spirit as a person who is personally very familiar with how it works because I have been seduced by it on more occasions than I care to admit. It is a spirit that is constantly looking for an opening in one’s heart. Unfortunately, once we’ve been seduced by it, the first effects of it are blindness. We can’t see how self-righteous we have become. We think we are merely being holy when, in fact, we stink of self-righteousness, legalism and hypocrisy.
“The Law” in the Bible usually refers to the books attributed to Moses, especially the part that contains the Mosaic Covenant. Understand, however, we all really do set our own laws. We pick and choose religious laws from various places to fit our own lifestyle. We pick churches that fit our “comfort zone.” We will also twist or tweak laws in systems we join to fit our own standards. The Jewish Pharisees were experts in twisting the Mosaic Laws in their favor and against others, especially against the poor, women, the sick and Gentiles. Jesus rebuked this behavior more than any other. One does not have to be an adherent to the Mosaic Law or portions thereof to play the hypocrite.
The Wrath of God Abides
One may rise to great heights in religion, business and politics by stepping on other people, but there is a spiritual cost. If we become greedy and judgmental, we will not enjoy the love of God, the peace that passes all understanding and the unspeakable joy the Holy Spirit brings to us when we are humble. Yes, we may attain high positions in this world, but we will abuse the power and destroy many people’s lives. We may gain many houses, much money and power and fame, but our inner being will become a living Hell which will spill over into many other people’s lives. We may become presidents, prime ministers, and officials in high places in government, business, and institutions of all kind including educational and religious ones; we may even become dictators ruling almost the entire world. Even though on the outside we may put on the display of absolute confidence, on the inside we will be full of self-loathing. Much of that self-loathing may fester below the conscious level for quite some time – but eventually it will rupture up to the conscience like a boil. Many world leaders go through this experience. They look so confident and righteous in the media, but behind the scenes lurks a self-loathing monster of huge proportions. Romans 1:18 through all of chapter two has something to say about this.
These people are miserable in the inside. “The wrath of God abides on them.” (John 3:36) But his “wrath” is not something God imposes upon them; it comes as a result of not having the love of God in their hearts. To be deprived of the goodness of God is to experience wrath. God is not actively bringing circumstances into these lives to make their life miserable. They bring the misery upon themselves because they are cutting themselves off from opportunities of receiving love and kindness.
Darkness in “Traditional” Christianity
Having been in hundreds of churches in dozens of different denominations, I am convinced that millions of Christians today are in exactly the same condition Luther was in before he got his revelation. Through Sunday School and Bible study material written at denominational headquarters, through training church leaders at seminaries, Bible colleges and text books, every denominational headquarters injects “traditions of men” and “doctrines of demons,” and definitions, creeds, articles of faith, catechisms, etc. which render the word of God of no effect. I have had many scales placed over my eyes through various Christian institutions – but far less than the average Christian who was raised in church because I was an atheist for much of my life. These Christian “traditions of the elders” do the same thing to modern Christians that they did to the Jews 2,000 years ago. The common people couldn’t recognize the Messiah because the leaders taught the Messiah would be a political/military man. When the Messiah showed up, they wanted to kill Him. The “Christ” many Christians have been taught to expect at any moment will be to many modern Christians as different as Jesus was to the image of the Messiah the Jews were expecting.
The very best Bible translation, which may be a perfect transference of the original languages to our own language, may become an instrument of death unless the Holy Spirit opens its truth through the Spirit of Truth which Jesus promised to send to his disciples. Dear friend, please spend some considerable time in prayer and contemplation over what I am stating. It is possible to have an accurate translation of the original and still have a false understanding of the text. Not only is it possible, I submit that this is the norm of the typical Christian in a typical mainline church. The state of Martin Luther’s mind prior to his seeing the light is the state of the average Christian in this part of the twenty-first century. Of course few of us actually believe this because we are quite comfy in our dark little corner. Our pastor is nice, went to Bible college or seminary, the church is well-established in the community – surely we are on safe ground. And as long as we refuse to step outside the boundaries of our church or denomination, we will feel quite secure in our beliefs. In America, there is security in numbers. But remember in the Bible, the “majority” was usually against the Spirit of God.
I have spent a great deal of time in prayer and study learning about the “traditions of men” which have been injected into the minds of the modern Christian which render the “word of God of no effect.” There are countless thousands of them. (The books Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and The Way Church Ought To Be by Robert A. Lund are excellent sources for information about how far the church has strayed from the teachings of Christ and His apostles.) I have been forced to step out of my comfort zones many times. While in the short run it has been very discomforting, in the long run having to be forced to compare teachings and traditions among many different denominations has been extremely beneficial to my spiritual growth. I only gave one example in Martin Luther’s life to illustrate the power “traditions of men” have over our minds and hearts. This one revelation on the “righteousness of God” made Martin Luther one of the most influential men on the face of the planet. This single revelation was a major source of light that began to dispel the Dark Ages. A single person being freed from religious darkness can literally revolutionize the world. Who knows, perhaps you are the next one.
The “Dark Light” of Legalism and Traditions of Men
“Law works wrath!” (Rom. 4:15) When I speak of “legalism,” I mean any human tradition, laws, ordinances, rituals, moral codes, etc. created by human institutions which are joined to the “righteousness of God” found in the Bible. Legalism is much more than just using laws in the Bible mercilessly. Legalism encompasses much more than Bible laws whether found in the Old or New Covenants. God’s true righteousness is in the Living Person of Jesus Christ. Even as the understanding of the Scholastics hindered Luther’s ability to see what was plainly written, even so, many borrowed laws and traditions from societies which Christianity conquered have been brought into the church. Mosaic Law, English Common Law, Teutonic customs, Greco-Roman laws and culture – these and many more have been combined with the “righteousness of God” to create a Western Christian moral code much of which has nothing to do with God’s righteousness.
I was shocked when years ago I attended a huge anti-abortion rally in Washington D.C. Constitution Avenue was closed off for the marchers. I lived in the Washington D.C. area for a number of years but never really “saw” the buildings. For the first time, I saw the buildings as they really were. They were all Greco-Roman architecture. The Roman Pantheon of gods was on one building. Gargoyles guarded our National Archives building. Almost every major government building copied the styles of ancient Rome and Greece. The Washington monument was borrowed from the ancient Egyptians, the needle of Horus, a Phallic symbol. Americans have no idea how much of our society has been borrowed, not from the Bible, but from ancient pagan societies. What was remarkable to me is that I had never seen this connection until that day even though I drove into that area and visited these buildings for business purposes many times before. This was another one of those “Have you ever read the white?” days.
It is easy to add human inventions to God’s righteousness:
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “Women should not be ministers.” “Children should be seen and not heard.” In Germany the slogan “Arbeit machts frei” (work makes free) was a slogan often used in Church thus connecting it to God’s demands upon His people. The “Protestant work ethic” has more to do with Northern European tradition than with Scripture even though the Bible does emphasize honest work. Church buildings should have steeples. On and on it goes – thousands upon thousands of traditions and laws which “make the word of God of no effect.” There are scores of traditions and rituals in every church which are not found on the pages of the Bible but were “Christianized,” that is, borrowed from pagan religions and cultures. These all become blinding agents.
It is the doctrines and traditions of fallen men, especially religious fallen men -- that sends us into outer darkness – into ignorance. However, we must be mindful that it is not doctrine that saves, or enlightens or empowers, even true doctrine -- it is the very Spirit of God Who seeks to move through us and teach us all the mysteries contained in Jesus Christ, the TRUE WORD OF GOD. Please understand that there is essentially nothing wrong with many customs and laws created by various societies around the world. It is when these extra-biblical laws and traditions are subtly or sometimes not so subtly joined with God’s righteousness, Holiness or requirements that causes the problem. Of course, in addition to the teachings of men, our own prejudices, racism, bigotry, biases, resentments, anger, jealousies, etc. can have a profound effect on what we think we see in the Bible as well.
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” (Luke 11:34-36)
After over two decades as a Christian, I have found that a person can and will find whatever they want to in the Bible to justify themselves or condemn or judge others. If a person is a racist, he/she can find a verse or two to justify their racism. Ku Klux Klan literature is full of King James Bible quotes. If a person is a sexist, he can find scores of verses to support his bias. If greedy people want to justify selling or buying slaves, they can find support in the Bible. Jews, Christians and Muslims have throughout the last 2,000 years used the Bible to support countless abominations which they have done in the name of the Lord. But those verses were read with “dark light,” not with the light of the Holy Spirit. An evil person will project their own evil upon those they hate. They will also project their hate onto the pages of the Bible. If we are filled with things like nationalism, racism, prejudice, jealousies, greed, unrighteous anger, blame-shifting, self-righteousness, biases, denominationalism, cultural biases, resentment, unforgiveness, etc. -- these things are “dark light” which will cause us to project onto the pages of the Bible and on other people our own darkness of soul. We will end up forming God into our own image through what psychologists call “projection.” We also project our own short-comings onto perceived enemies through this same technique.
For example, some Jews in former times and even in modern times believe the Bible teaches that they are the only true representatives of God, that the rest of mankind are not true Adamites, they are not true human beings. They say that Arabs and those who think like them or support them are Amalakites who Jews are commanded to wipe off the face of the planet. Where did they get such teachings? From the “tradition of the elders” found in the Babylonian Talmud, the foundation of modern Judaism. The Talmud is a collection of commentaries of supposedly the wisest of Jewish Rabbis of ancient times. Modern Judaism is directly descended from the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. The Jewish Talmud is filled with all sorts of racist and elitist material which lends support to the kind of things carnal minds are filled with.
I have also come across Christians who believe that white Christians are the only true representatives of God, that darker skinned human beings are “beasts of the field,” not really human beings. And they use certain verses and certain interpretations of those verses to prove to themselves they are correct. Neither Jews nor Christians who teach these abominations are correct!
The Holy Spirit: A Doctrine or Life
As I have stated, the Bible, regardless of the translation (or even in its original languages) is NOT the true “word of God.” The true Word of God is a Person. His Name is Jesus the Messiah of the whole world. If we truly have Him and give His Holy Spirit pre-eminence in our lives, then we have life indeed. But if the traditions of men and the doctrines of demons cloud our conscience or we live in the flesh and allow our base appetites to have their way, then we will reap from our lives and our Bible reading corruption and death. Remember, “the letter kills, it is the Spirit that gives life.” Again, keep in mind, even the Ten Commandments regardless of how well they are translated are a “ministry of condemnation,” a “ministry of death.” (2 Cor. 3: 7-18) I am purposefully repeating myself here because these false doctrines have been so deeply ingrained in us that it requires repetition to break through the thick crust. Sometimes it takes a jackhammer, spiritually speaking, for breakthrough to occur.
The driving force behind a Christian’s life is the Holy Spirit. But even He has become nothing more than a doctrine or creed in many denominations and churches. Even the best doctrines or teachings or creeds about the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, are as dead as fallen trees. The Holy Spirit is alive and must be alive IN US if we are going to be effective in the Kingdom of God. He is not a concept – He is not a doctrine or a statement of belief even if the statement is perfectly phrased. The Word must be quickened, made alive by the Living Presence of the Living Word of the Creator. Inspiration, revelation, impartation, intercession, travailing, quickening, prophesying, manifesting, etc.—these are the manifestations of the Spirit of Truth. It is a great travesty that these very things are often utterly rejected by much of the church world -- and we wonder why the church is so spiritually ineffective. The Holy Spirit must pour out of us in great power like rivers of Living Water in a dry parched desert. Nothing less will do.
“For the Spirit of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10) “Do not despise prophesying.” (1 Thess. 5:20) “Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you…This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1-3)
In short, Paul was saying that any attempt to try to relate to God via our own efforts, our thinking, our concepts, etc. is utterly foolish, useless and actually contrary to God’s way. God’s way is by HIS Spirit. The love, power, the word, the truth, the gifts, the fruit of a life of righteousness all come via His Spirit – they do not come from our intellect, our efforts, our theology, etc.
It seems natural for man to fall back into the old way even when one has received the Holy Spirit. It is not only possible, but quite probable for a Christian to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit and to miss or bury the things He gives us. To grieve or quench the Holy Spirit is as natural as succumbing to the power of gravity. The very forces of this world are arrayed against the power of the Holy Spirit within a person. Satan does not go after Christians who talk a good talk but are useless in the kingdom of God. Those individuals are already under his power. He goes after those who are still full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan is not upset there are Christians in the world. Names mean nothing to him. It is the power of the Holy Spirit residing in a Christian who has learned how to maintain a living vibrant relationship with God through Him that is a danger to Satan’s kingdom. The book of Acts is an example of what every church in the world should look like regarding the power of the Holy Spirit and how He can change things through His Body. To the degree our church does not look like the body of Christ in the book of Acts, to that degree it has grieved or quenched the Spirit.
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30) “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5:19)
Paul, nearing the end of his course must have been deeply grieved as he watched much of his work return to darkness:
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Holy Spirit which dwells in us. This you know, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” (2 Tim. 1:13-15)
The “Great Falling Away” Occurred Long Ago
If much of the church was falling away from what Paul termed “my gospel” during his own lifetime, imagine how far the modern church may be from Paul’s teachings which he honestly believed was the only true gospel to be preached. Paul told Timothy to “hold fast the form of sound words” heard from him from which many were turning away. The church plunged into the Dark Ages because it turned from Paul’s gospel. Being led by the Holy Spirit was replaced with thousands of traditions of men and doctrines of demons. Those traditions and teachings have filled the earth. The natural course of human kind seems to gravitate towards religion instead of an intimate relationship with God. It seems the greatest “effort” or “work” on our part once we have received the “faith of Christ” in our bodies is to keep the Spirit of God within us stirred and active. Paul uses the analogy of fire to describe how we can become spiritually ineffective: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim. 1:6, NIV)
Friends, regardless of how studious and faithful we think we have been, we have all drunk from the fount of religion, a fount of deadly poison. And this poison has polluted our minds. Martin Luther is no exception to the Christian life. The traditions he swallowed prevented him from seeing what was plainly there all along. We all have our filters, our religious baggage, our “traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect” that hinder us from receiving a true word of life from our Scripture reading -- all of us, including you and me.
Translating the Scriptures
All I have shared is not to say there is no need for newer and better translations of the Bible, there certainly is. Most of the popular English Bible translations are still riddled today with Dark and Middle Age theology which entered into the Reformation Bibles. These early English translations still have a strong hold on modern day translators who are still translating according to the “tradition of the elders” instead of being inspired by the Holy Spirit and using sound translation techniques. There are key Dark Age doctrines which have crept into the pages of our modern Bibles through translators whose minds are still bound by false teachings about God and His plan for the of salvation of mankind. This article cannot go into all of that. Suffice it to say, while we’ve come a long way from the time the church did not allow lay people to read the Bible – a time in which the only official Bible was the corrupt Latin Vulgate which Jerome translated in the fourth century AD -- we still have a long way to go regarding purer translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Scriptures into current languages. (The reader is encouraged to subscribe to our “Tentmaker Bible Matters Email List” for helps with Bible translations. Past articles appear at http://www.tentmaker.org/Biblematters/bible-index.htm) Even the popular English Bible translations such as the following ones have serious errors in them which greatly misrepresent the God of the Bible and His plan of redemption of mankind: King James Version, New International Version, New Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Version, New English Translation, Complete Jewish Bible, International Standard Version, New Century Version, Good News to Modern Man, Amplified Bible, Living Translation, New Jerusalem Bible, Third Millenium Bible, New King James Bible, Modern King James Bible, Twenty-first Century King James, Scofield Reference Bible, The Message, and many more.
Methods of Bible Translating
I just want to lightly touch upon an important subject regarding Bible translations. There are several different methods for translating the Hebrew and Greek into common modern languages. Various scholars use different terms to describe these methods. I’ll use John A. Kohler III’s terminology:
1. Concordant method - This is the woodenly literal, word-for-word method. It is based upon the idea that each Hebrew or Greek word should be translated into an equivalent English word. It also attempts to follow the grammatical structure of the original language texts. Examples of translations produced by this method are Young’s Literal Version and Rotherham’s Emphasized New Testament.
2. Mildly Concordant Method - This is the literal, word-for-word method. It is not as extreme as the Concordant Method, but it tends toward a choppy style of translation that does not flow smoothly in the English. Also, it translates Hebrew and Greek idioms very accurately, but they do not always make good sense in English. Furthermore, it makes excessive use of conjunctions at the beginning of sentences, which makes for very poor English. Besides these weaknesses, most translations of this kind are based upon inferior Hebrew and Greek texts. Examples of translations produced by this method are the American Standard Version and the New American Standard Version.
3. Static Equivalence Method - This is the word-for-word, idea-for-idea method. It attempts to follow the original Hebrew and Greek text word-for-word as long as this results in good idiomatic English that accurately conveys the intention of the Biblical writer. It does not always attempt to follow the grammatical structure of the original language texts and is concerned about the readability of the English text. Examples of translations produced by this method are the King James Version and, to a lesser degree, the New King James Version and the Revised Standard Version.
4. Dynamic Equivalence Method - This is the idea-for-idea method. It is not concerned with literal, word-for-word translation in most cases and often paraphrases God’s Word. It does not seek to translate the actual words of Scripture as much as it attempts to employ idiomatic equivalence. Examples of translations produced by this method are the New International Version, New English Bible, and Today’s English Version.
5. Free Paraphrase Method - This is the extreme idea-for-idea method. It simply attempts to restate the “gist” of the Biblical text in the translator’s own words. It is not at all concerned about word-for-word translation of the Biblical text, but seeks to express Biblical content in popular, readable, contemporary language. The leading example of a translation produced by this method, though there are many others, is Kenneth Taylor’s The Living Bible. (Peterson’s The Message is another example.) Endquote.
Personally, I do not believe any of these five methods will produce the best Bible translations. But that subject is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, there are a variety of ways to translate the Bible, each with its own problems and short-comings. Some methods, however, are clearly more likely to reproduce the meaning the original writers had in mind when they wrote.
The early Reformers had very few resources with which to determine the true meaning of the texts before them. The Hebrew and Greek scholarship at that time was greatly lacking in the Church due to the fact that Latin had become the sacred language of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, there were many words, phrases, concepts, persons, places and things in the original languages with which translators were unfamiliar. However, even Jewish Biblical Hebrew scholars in modern times have difficulty determining the actual meaning of many parts of the Old Testament. The modern Jewish Publication Society’s “Tanakh” (a recent translation of the Old Testament) notes hundreds of words and phrases of which Jewish Hebrew scholars even today do not really know the meaning. This kind of integrity is greatly lacking in the Christian publishing industry.
The “Inerrant Bible” is a myth that still covers the Christian Bible translating community and prevents them from being as honest as they should be with those purchasing their translations. For example the original 1611 King James Bible contained many marginal readings which revealed their lack of understanding of certain words. These marginal readings have since been removed from modern printings of the KJV to bolster belief in the Biblical Inerrancy Doctrine. The “Translators to the Reader” Preface found in the original KJV has also been removed. Why? Because their statements clearly contradicted the idea that their translation was original and without error. (See The English Bible From KJV to NIV by Jack Lewis, Baker Publications)
Bible translations needful and important? Absolutely! I believe Christian Bibles are the most important literature in the world. But NO translation is “The “Word of God,” especially the “Inerrant Word of God” despite thousands of preachers holding up their favorite translation and saying, “Let’s look into the word of God and see what God says about this.” The True Word of God is a Living Word anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is a word from THE WORD, the Son of God and the Son of Man and Anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
On Hearing Our Heavenly Father
Let me give you another example of how the Anointed Living Word works. Richard Wurmbrandt was an atheist Jew (now deceased) who was converted to Christ through the love of a German carpenter in Romania. He became a Lutheran pastor.
During the Russian invasion of Romania, Wurmbrandt and his church handed out many Bibles to the Russian soldiers. The demand was so great they ran out of Bibles. So they started tearing apart the Bibles and gave each soldier only one page.
One day Richard considered whether handing out a single page of the Bible in Russian would have any effect on anyone. So he asked a Russian named Ivan whether he gained anything in the reading of his Bible page. Ivan related to Richard that the page he received had the name Jeremiah in the title. He understood practically nothing he read. The page contained information about names and places Ivan knew nothing about. But five words on that page leaped out at Ivan: “And God spoke to Jeremiah.” Ivan thought this to himself as he pondered those words:
“This Jeremiah must not have been a very important man. I’ve never heard of such a man. Stalin, Lenin, these are important men. I’ve heard of them. Now if God would speak to such an unimportant man like Jeremiah, perhaps he might speak to me.”
And from that moment on, he related to Richard Wurmbrandt, he has heard the still small voice of God in his heart which brought him joy unspeakable! This voice within began to teach him the ways of God. When tempted to steal, he would ask the Word within whether it was ok or not and he would hear clearly that it was not ok. He didn’t need to read “Thou shalt not steal” in Exodus. Why? Because the Living Word of Jesus was washing his conscience clean. He was being washed by Living Waters, not dead letters on a page made of a dead tree. He was eating from the Living Tree of Life, Jesus, the Living Word from the Father of all Creation.
Speaking of Washings
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
As is often the case, stories in the Bible contain much deeper truths than what one finds on the surface. Jesus washing His disciples’ feet holds a special place in many people’s hearts. (John 13:3-17) The surface lesson is that we should humble ourselves, take the lowly position, and care for your brothers and sister in the Lord. But there is something much deeper here. When Peter realized he made a mistake with his comments, he asked Jesus to wash all of him, not just his feet. But Jesus told Peter that only his feet were dirty – they were what needed to be cleaned. Feet speak of walking. Spiritually this world is dirty. Jesus prayed not that His disciples be taken out of this filthy world, but that they be protected from the evil of it. (John 17:14-20)
We are Jesus’ “feet” in the earth. Jesus must clean His Body, which we are, because we live in a dirty world. Jesus told Peter he could have no part IN HIM, unless he allowed Jesus to wash his feet. In essence, Jesus was saying that His feet (his disciples which we are) must be washed clean by the “washing of the word” every day. Sanctification is connected with being washed by His Word. If we are going to represent Him in His holiness, we must allow Jesus to wash us daily. We are bombarded with sinful images and foul words and ideas every place we go. Watch a couple hours of television while allowing the Holy Spirit to show you what He sees. Our walk, His feet must be cleansed daily for our sake as well as Jesus’ sake.
A Word about “The Word of God”
It is important to note that the “Word” of the Bible is far more encompassing than an audio voice through one’s ears or a still small voice in one’s “heart” or conscience. The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God…” The book of John in what is commonly called the “New Testament or Covenant” begins,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-4)
Paul, the apostle, adds the following in his letter to the Colossians:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the ekklesia, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth, or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Col. 1:15-20)
As one can see from the above two verses, it is impossible to get a complete handle around the “word of God.” The universe and every book and human being combined cannot hold “the Word.” We must greatly enlarge our understanding of what the “Word of God” found in the Bible is all about especially when it comes to communicating with this “Word.”
Do not think “the Word” of God is limited to hearing Him audibly through your ears and interpreted by your mind. Occasionally, God speaks to someone like that. Often He speaks to someone in a still small voice which seems to come from the conscience or the heart – some inner place. But He uses many other means to communicate even as we, human beings, use many methods of communicating ideas besides written or spoken words. We must open our minds and hearts to the many different ways “the Word” expresses himself to His disciples. These other means of communication are also part of “the Word.” He may enlighten words on a page of the Bible or another book by His Holy Spirit whereas we may normally be reading through our carnal or natural mind which Paul says is at enmity with God. I am touching upon a very sensitive area here. Paul wrote:
“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-- mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-- as the Lord has assigned to each his task.” (1 Corinthians 2:11 - 3:5, NIV)
Paul is stating quite plainly that it is quite possible for someone who calls himself a Christian to still be quite carnal – to think with the natural mind instead of the mind of Christ. Denominationalism (I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Luther, I am of Wesley, etc.) is NOT spiritual. Therefore, if a Christian is doing carnal things like dividing the body of Christ into denominations and sects or participating or supporting such behavior, can they possibly be using the mind of Christ? What would Paul say if he were alive today about the tens of thousands of different denominations of Christianity in the world today? Can anything “spiritual” come from such carnal divisions? Can such sectarianism handle the “solid food” of which Paul speaks? Judge yourself before He has to make the judgment.
Other Means of Communications
He may use an angel. He may use a jackass if He so desires as in the case of Balaam. God often sends us dreams and visions which require interpretation. The dream or vision may or may not contain words. But even if it contained words, God may use them differently than we normally would.
When Peter in his vision of a blanket full of all sorts of unclean animals heard a voice saying, “Peter, arise, kill and eat,” those words were not really referring to actual animals. (Acts 10:9-36) Neither did He expect Peter to actually kill these animals and eat them. When Peter went to Cornelius’ house, Peter received the true meaning of that vision and the words. Jews considered gentiles unclean animals. They often called them “dogs.” The Holy Spirit was telling Peter that God had cleansed the gentiles – He had broken the wall of partition. It was acceptable not only to eat with them, but to communicate with them, to exchange words, to receive from one another. When we listen to someone else, are we not taking a part of them and adding that to our being? In that sense, are we not “eating” them? We see here that God was not using the words “kill” and “eat” in the natural human sense of those words. Under the Old Covenant sense of warfare, they literally killed their enemies with the sword. They took territory through putting to death the inhabitants. But under the New Covenant, we conquer by laying down our lives and winning our enemies with love. And we do not plunder them -- we win them into the kingdom of God through love and thereby “inheriting” the heathen. Every natural type and shadow of the Old Covenant many of which seem almost barbaric and gross become beautiful realities of God’s love and mercy.
Under the New Covenant, we do battle with spiritual warfare, not with natural weapons. Nor do we physically kill. Jesus “destroyed” the works of the devil through His own death. Through His own death, Jesus killed death.
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades (Hell), where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:54-56)
Jesus “killed” so to speak the works of the devil. Jesus “spoiled,” that is, conquered and took possession of Satan’s possessions, and gave them to His body. In that sense, we may now “kill and eat.” (Col 2:10-23) The heathen are our inheritance (Psalm 2:8; 79:2) We are to plunder Satan’s kingdom of souls lost in darkness. However, if we interpret verses like this with the carnal mind, we may think, (as some modern Jews and Christians believe today) that God is saying to kill unbelievers and take their physical possessions. In Israel today, there are many Jewish settlers who feel Biblically justified in killing Palestinians and stealing their land because certain verses of Scripture command them to do so according to their fleshly interpretations. And tens of millions of Christians support these Jews in this endeavor.
The Bible is full of many verses which are often taken literally and turned into total nonsense as a result. This sometimes affects millions of Christians as well as the world we are called to influence. For example, Jesus said,
“Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:24-25)
In another passage, Jesus says,
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
From a semi-literal interpretation of these verses, some denominations of Christianity teach that when Christians eat the bread and wine/grape juice at the Eucharist or Communion, they are actually eating the very flesh of Jesus Christ and drinking His blood. While most Christians do not carry their literalism to this extreme and do not fall into this gross misinterpretation of the meaning of these verses, there are many other passages of Scripture which ARE taken too literally and not understood by the true Spiritual meaning. Millions of Christians today still don’t understand the importance of “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:33)
Much more needs to be said regarding literalizing things, words, visions, etc which really must be seen spiritually. However, that is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say in regards to spiritual eating; crackers and grape juice doesn’t cut it. Neither does a lamb chop, bitter herbs and salt water (modern Jewish Passover ritual). The Father gave Jesus food to eat, “My food is to do the WILL of Him Who sent Me and to finish His work.” (John 4:34) As we can see, the food from heaven is much more substantial - spiritually speaking, than the rituals religionists substitute for it. (For more information on the food from heaven, read our “The Bread of Life” booklet.)
God may speak to us through the gift of speaking in an unknown tongue. There are many different teachings about this gift and I can’t cover them all nor go into what I believe. Suffice it to say, in church this speech must be interpreted.
He may give impressions. He may use one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit or one of the “gifts of men” spoken of in the book of Ephesians. His Presence may rest upon a person in such a way that they actually feel His weight, His glory upon them. He may communicate through unutterable groanings. (Rom. 8:26-27) While we may not understand what He is saying or doing, we know God is active in us as we participate in His intercessions through us. He may use symbolic actions like the man who took Paul’s belt, bound himself with it and prophesied that Paul would be imprisoned if he went to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:11) He may briefly open one’s spiritual eyes and allow one to see something others can’t see as in the case of Elijah and the armies of the Lord in the clouds. Those who seek to truly be led by the Holy Spirit must open their hearts and minds to being spoken to by any of these means as well as others. There are many Christians today, who will not allow God to use them in many of these ways. This limits God’s “Word” in them. This is the sin of unbelief which is very prevalent in the church. Being led by the Holy Spirit requires great trust – a trust which many Christians do not have. People love rituals, ruts, rote, regulations. Many of the rituals in religion, I believe, are demonically inspired. It is the demons who love these things. And if one tries to take these empty forms away from people, one will often notice a violent reaction. Try taking Easter, Christmas, Mass or Rosary beads away from some folks and you may see a violent, demonic reaction.
Part of the problem with being led by the Holy Spirit is the many counterfeits which also operate which give an appearance of coming from God. Yes, there are false prophets by the train-load. Yes, it is easy to misinterpret dreams and visions. Peter, himself, seemed to have problems in this area. Yes, there are “false” impressions. Yes, there are leaders whose intention is to draw disciples after themselves. Yes, one can hear inner voices that are not from God. These and many more reasons are why countless Christians do not move deeper into being “led by the Spirit.” We do not want to be deceived. But the fact of the matter is, if we do NOT move into being led by the Spirit and open ourselves to the many ways He communicates with us which are not normal to natural human communication, then we are already deceived. The carnal mind is at enmity with the Spirit. And if we do NOT use the means of communication God has ordained in the Scriptures, if we default to the natural mindset, if we will not yield ourselves to the means of communication the Holy Spirit employs which are quite unnatural for us, then we are not advancing the Kingdom of God. We are really working for the devil while pretending to be serving God.
The contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is tremendous; (read our “The Pillar Laws of the New Covenant” and “Old Covenant Versus New Covenant.”) Literal or natural readings of many passages of Scripture actually cause one to turn evil to good and vice-a-versa. Misreading the Bible can bring spiritual death. Mixing Mosaic Law with the Law of the Life in Christ Jesus has brought spiritual death to many Christians. Literal reading of passages meant to be seen in the light of the Holy Spirit often turn the word of God into an abomination. One of the apostle Paul’s biggest problems was getting people to see the types and shadows of the Old Covenant by the Spirit, not with natural eyes. At the end of his life, Paul stated that most of his disciples in Asia had abandoned him. Very few Christians, even today, really understand what Paul was saying. That which appears as life in the natural is death in the Spirit and vice-a-versa. In the natural, it is better to receive than to give. Not so in the Spirit. In the Spirit, one must first “die” before they can actually live. “Whoever finds his life, will lose it, and whoever loses (kill, spiritually speaking) his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39) See? So much between the natural secular world and the Spiritual world of Jesus are opposites or in reverse. That which the natural world (or religious world) calls good very often is evil in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Getting on Target
“As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Tim. 1:3-7, NAS)
Much could be said about Paul’s admonition to Timothy in this verse, but I want to draw the attention of the reader to a couple of important points. Rather than “furthering the administration of God which is BY FAITH,” these men were getting entangled in “fruitless discussions” dealing with “endless genealogies” (which the Mosaic Law concerns itself with), and other aspects of laws of the Old Covenant. They had begun in the Spirit, but had “fallen from grace” through mixing natural understandings and speculations of the Mosaic law with spiritual things. (Gal. chapter 3, 4, 5) They were Judaized. Paul was so furious over this issue, that he wished those who were deceiving his disciples with these teachings (such as circumcision) would go all the way and castrate themselves completely so they couldn’t spread their poisonous seeds into Paul’s congregations. (Gal. 5:12, Of course, Paul was speaking metaphorically.) This mixture, which began in the first century, has been going on since then. One need not look for a “great falling away” in our generation, the falling away began a long time ago. Today is the time of restoration – the time of putting off all these abominable teachings which the church has been full of for hundreds of years.
We must get back to Love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Now there is a prayer. Lord, give me a heart pure enough and a conscience good enough and faith sincere enough for your love to flow purely and freely. Amen. Anything that prevents us from moving in these waters is probably not from Him. Legalism, literalism, etc. is to flowing in the Spirit like cholesterol is to arteries. We must avoid it at all costs if we are to be effective. We must allow our hearts to be enlarged to receive and impart the fullness of His Word and His Spirit. God seeks to impart to us His Word and Spirit because He desires we worship Him “in Spirit and in Truth.” His Word is Truth. As we worship Him “in Spirit and in Truth” the world will be drawn to Him through us. Truly the world, that is, the heathen, are our inheritance as we share Him with them. It is truly a joy -- it is true living to bring the Word of Life to the unbelieving world. THIS is our inheritance! This is what Christians are called to do -- to give Life to a dead world! It IS truly better to give than to receive.
Mount of Transfiguration
In the seventeenth chapter of Matthew (also Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36), we find what Jesus calls “a vision” which He told John, James and Peter to tell no one until the Son of Man was raised from the dead. In this vision, Jesus is speaking with Moses and Elijah. Then a cloud enveloped them all and “suddenly a voice came out of the cloud saying ‘This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased. Hear Him!’” The disciples fell on their faces in fright. Jesus touched them and told them not to be afraid. There is much to say about this particular passage of Scripture, but I will have to pass over most of it because it would require too much space. Suffice it to say, at the age of thirty in the Mosaic tradition, the son who would take over his father’s business. He would be taken by the father to the gate of the city where the elders met, and he would say to the elders, “This is my son; today I have adopted him.” This was a Hebrew expression meaning the father has made the son a full-partner in his business. The Son’s word in business was as good as the Father’s – they were one. In the natural, Jewish men brought their son to the gate of the city to make that declaration to the elders of that city who then became witnesses to that declaration. In the Spirit, God the Father brought Jesus to the heights of Hermon, a symbolic type of the gates of the kingdom of God, and declared to the elders of the Old Covenant (Moses and Elijah) and the elders of the New Covenant (John, James and Peter) that from now on Jesus was a full-fledged business partner with Him. Jesus was now officially God’s Word in the earth.
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Father also spoke the words “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” But this time on Mount Hermon, He added, “HEAR HIM!” Under the Old Covenant, the voice the children of Israel were to hear was the Law of Moses and the prophetic utterances of the prophets. Elijah, on the mount of transfiguration represented the Prophets and Moses represented the Law. God the Father overshadowed them all and then Moses and Elijah disappeared – they faded away. This symbolized the passing away of the Law and the Prophets. The letter of the Law was being replaced with the Living Word of the Son of God Who is ever at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased. Hear Him!” Oh, if we could just fully embrace the fullness of the importance of those words!
Jesus was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and His clothes were as light. This is one of many types and shadows and scriptural proof that the Mosaic Law was done away. Yet many denominations of Christianity resurrect parts of it thinking it would be beneficial when in fact it only produces death. This scene occurred on Mount Hermon, the snow-covered Mountain north of Israel which represents God the Father. All the waters that give life to Israel whether in the form of dew at night or the Jordan River originate from Mount Hermon. Its strategic placement, it being snow-covered year around, it being the highest mountain in the region, etc., all speak volumes. This vision speaks of the fulfillment of the type of the “Feast of Tabernacles” found in the Mosaic Law. That is why Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for each of the glorious beings on the mountain.
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant, representing God’s presence in the midst of His people, was contained in tents or tabernacles. Peter’s revelation regarding the Feast of Tabernacles and its fulfillment in Christ was not quite complete. In the New Covenant, it is we, God’s people who become “tabernacles” for the Lord. God lives inside of us, and we are truly moving dwelling places for God’s Holy Spirit. Just like God’s glory traveled with the tabernacles of Moses and abode in David’s tabernacle on Mount Zion, a Christian’s body filled with God’s Holy Spirit is the reality of that Old Covenant type. Every born-from-above, Spirit-baptized believer in Jesus Christ is a living tabernacle (tent) in which the very presence of God dwells, moves and has His being. What an awesome truth! How wonderful the Old Testament Scriptures become when seen through a mind cleansed by the Living Word of Christ! The types and shadows of the Old Covenant Scriptures all end up pointing to the reality of those things which are found in Christ, the Living Word.
The Father said, “HEAR HIM!” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) This is how faith comes – NOT by reading the KJV, or the NIV or any other translation. It must be a Living Word. We are NOT saved by our faith in Jesus Christ – we are saved by Jesus’ faith placed in us. It is the “faith OF Jesus Christ that saves, not our faith. If we receive the faith OF Jesus Christ through hearing His voice, then the process we find in Ephesians 2:8-10 has room in our lives:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Dead Works Versus God’s Works Prepared For Us.
“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13-14, NASB)
“Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Here is the great battleground of Christians. For most of us, it is not going back to the sins of the flesh – it is being trapped into a life of producing dead religious works that have an appearance of producing life, yet they are dead. Slavery in Egypt represents slavery to the flesh in the Bible “fleshpots of Egypt”, (Ex. 16:3). But slavery in Babylon represents slavery to religion – doing things that appear to be holy, but which produce no life. Preston Eby, in the 52nd part of his series “From the Candlestick to the Throne,” writes:
“’And by the angel of the church in Sardis write…I know thy works, that thou has a name that thou livest, and art dead’ (Rev 3:1). The Holy Spirit says to the church in Sardis, ‘You have a name -- a reputation and recognition by the people – that you are alive. This name that they have relates to their works. They have a name that they live because they are filled with all kinds of activity, but the sentence of the great Judge of all is, ‘Thou art dead!’ Instead of operating in the power of the Holy Spirit Who is the life of the body of Christ, like computerized robots they go from the form of flesh-generated programmed activity that appears to the undiscerning eye to be evidence of life. But their works do not originate out of life, but stem rather from a realm of death – the death of the carnal mind and human zeal.” Endquote.
Although few of us would care to acknowledge it, those carnal, dead works characterize most churches and those who attend them. Whether we care to acknowledge it or whether we are even aware of it, the “traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect” have deceived us all probably even as they deceived most Jews in Jesus’ day. (Matt. 15:6-9) What will it take to break this power? Honesty – an honesty that seems difficult to find among God’s people, especially in leadership.
We briefly touched upon the types of the feasts of Israel in the Mount of Transfiguration section. Some denominations and many churches, particularly of the Messianic Jewish variety or those influenced by them spend considerable time reenacting a modern version of the feast days of Israel, particularly the feast of Passover. They will take portions of the Old Covenant requirements, add some extra-biblical traditions the Elders of Israel added to Moses’ commands, then explain the parts of the ritual which point to the Messiah Jesus and do this year after year thinking that something very spiritual was done. Each of the feast days of Israel points to a spiritual reality which a believer is to enter into. The point of the type was not for it to be reenacted as it was commanded in the Old Testament. The type seen through enlightened eyes of the Holy Spirit should bring a person or congregation to the REALITY of the type!
For example, once one sees a sign which reads “To Jerusalem,” is it reasonable or sane to think one has arrived to the city simply by seeing the sign? Should one make a holy holiday around the day on which you saw the sign and turn it into a ritual thinking God would be pleased with that? Or do you think that God might be more pleased if we followed the direction the sign pointed to and actually WENT TO THE CITY!
Jesus fulfilled all the types and shadows of the Mosaic Covenant in Himself. The types and shadows are but pointers to spiritual realities found in the Living Christ. We must enter the reality of the types and shadows of the “words” of the Old Covenant, not repeat bastardized reenactments which bring us no closer to the spiritual reality than visiting a road sign annually which points to Jerusalem. Actually, the road sign will never bring the traveler to the destination to which it is pointing until the traveler LEAVES THE ROAD SIGN. Putting the name Jesus into the ritual won’t bring one any closer to the reality of the type than without it. Dead works is dead works with or without the name of Jesus added to it. One can engage in just as much idolatry using the name Jesus as without it.
Idols can’t see or hear yet we follow them much more than we realize. Dead works is synonymous with idolatry. God spoke to Ezekiel about the idols in the hearts of God’s priests. (Ezekiel 14:1-11) These are akin to the “traditions of men” to which Jesus referred in Matt. 15:6-9.
The Pharisees mockingly asked Jesus, “Are we blind too?” Jesus replied to them, “Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (John 9:41, NIV) What is Jesus saying? Were they blind? Spiritually, of course they were. But would they acknowledge their sin, their shortcoming? The true meaning of sin is “to miss the mark.” The Pharisees fell far short of God’s righteousness according to the Old Covenant, but they were too proud and self-righteous to see it. If they saw their true depraved spiritual state and acknowledged it, Jesus could have healed them of their blindness. How many of us are in this same condition?
The religious leadership in Jesus’ day could quote Scriptures as well as anyone around. They thought they knew every jot and tittle – and tithed the smallest of seeds. They followed every ritual perfectly. Paul, the apostle to the nations came from this crowd. He could wrestle Scriptures with the best of them. But Paul, one who could write great theological treatises like the book of Romans said,
Gifts of the Holy Spirit Have Ceased?
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:4-5, KJV)
Throughout much of the Church Age, this and many other passages of Scripture have had the power of those words squeezed right out of them through false theology -- through “the tradition of men.” I have heard many pastors teach and preach that the power of the early church is no longer needed. They say God gave the early church great power because it did not have the New Testament Scriptures. These false preachers also say that when the New Testament Scriptures were canonized, the power of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit were removed from the church. They say the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased – gifts such as the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
Tens of thousands of ministers have rendered millions of Christians harmless to the kingdom of Satan through a single theological dogma that the gifts of the Holy Spirit belong in the past – they are not for today. These theologians use a single verse of Scripture for their proof text,
“But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Cor. 13:10)
They say that “that which is perfect” is the New Testament scriptures. That is an utter lie! There isn’t a single translation that is even remotely perfect. And we don’t have the original writings of the New Testament Scriptures so it is rather dishonest to lead people into thinking we do. And even if we had them, THEY are NOT, “that which is perfect.” The letter killeth” – even a perfect letter can only kill PERFECTLY! It is the Spirit of God that gives life! It is the Living Word that gives life! And He is filled with unbelievable power! But most Christians cannot avail themselves of that power because of so much unbelief in the Church. (Write for my article, “Unbelief, the Christian’s Greatest Sin.”)
A perfect translation of the Bible will not bring the truth into our soul if we are filled with traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect or if we have corruption in our hearts. Some of the most evil men I have encountered in my Christian walk have practically memorized the Bible.
When Jesus was tested of the Devil after the forty day fast in the wilderness, Satan used Scriptures to try to tempt Jesus. I have heard in more than one sermon how Jesus defeated Satan by quoting Scriptures. In two of the three temptations, Satan quoted Scriptures. Jesus replied all three times quoting Scripture. But what was the last Scripture Jesus quoted which ended that spiritual battle?:
"It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matt. 4:4, NIV)
“Every word that comes from the mouth of God” is far more than the 700,000 plus words found in most Bible translations. Jesus limited Himself greatly for the first part of His ministry because part of His role as the Messiah was to “fulfill” all that the Law and Prophets spoke of Him. Jesus was born under the Law. He fulfilled all the types, shadows and requirements which the Mosaic Law, Prophets and Writings required of the Messiah. That is why Jesus allowed John, the Baptist, to baptize Him, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:15) What righteousness? The righteous requirements of the Law and Prophets which pointed to who the true Messiah would be. This was how Israel could determine who the real Messiah was. The Law and the Prophets laid out many requirements which the true Messiah would fulfill. But once He fulfilled them, then they were abolished – then Jesus could say, “It is finished!” He could then inaugurate the New Covenant sealed with His own blood, not the blood of bulls and goats. The New Covenant was a covenant of Living Words, not words on sheep skins or stones, but words written on the heart.
One of the types in the Old Covenant which pointed to this New Covenant was the gathering of Manna in the wilderness. They could only gather what they could eat that day. Only on the day before the Sabbath could they gather enough to last the two days so they did not have to work on the Sabbath. This speaks typically that we are to receive daily instructions from the Lord. Yesterday’s word is represented by yesterday’s Manna – it became rotten. Denominations which are perpetuated today based upon some men who have long died are feeding their members yesterday’s manna – it is dead! Furthermore, the children of Israel who refused to move with the Cloud and the Pillar of fire DIED in the camp because they refused to go further. Oh, dear Christian, hear the word of the Lord! Remember this: The Old Covenant – dead letter; The New Covenant – Living Word.
Satan knows the Scriptures. So do his “angels of light” who are often in the form of ministers and Bible teachers. Some of the most evil men I have met were pastors who could almost quote the entire King James Bible word for word. It will require something far more spiritual than quoting Scripture verses to defeat the Devil’s devices against us. The average Christian raised in a typical denomination or Christian movement is more than likely to have been subjected and indoctrinated to a host of ideas and definitions which are contrary to the true Spirit of God, even as Martin Luther was.
The true God of the Bible is much more loving, powerful, merciful, forgiving, wise, efficient and just than any denomination or mind of man has conceived of Him. The Dark Light in fallen man still holds a grip upon the minds of Christians even though most will not acknowledge this or take serious steps to come into the true Light of the Spirit of the Son of God, the Savior of the world. But I sense a wave is on the horizon which will sweep away a lot of the “traditions of men” in Christianity which have hindered the growth of those who espouse the name of Christ. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Dark Light or True Light
Let us look at a few verses of Scripture through two different sets of eyes. One set is the Pharisaic, legalistic, tradition-laden mind which is quick to use the Scriptures to condemn others while pardoning themselves. The other mind has been renewed by the Holy Spirit. The traditionalist, who likes to sit on the judgment seat, will read 1 Samuel 2:6 and point out that God kills. The person whose eyes are anointed with the Living Word will point out that after “Gods kills” the same sentence reads “and makes alive again.” They are given the revelation that God sometimes uses death the way an anesthesiologist might use a drug to put one under for the patient’s benefit.
The Pharisaic mind will concentrate on “I wound” in Deuteronomy 32:39 while those governed by the Living Word will focus on the last part of that very same phrase, “I heal.” The mind governed by the Living Word has come to understand that God’s harsh measures are but a means to bring healing and restoration.
The judgmental one will see “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated,” (Rom. 9:13) and use the verse to prove that God hates some people even as they are born. According to some theologians some people are born to be eternal enemies of God destined for an eternal burning incinerator. Love filled eyes will go to the end of the Jacob and Esau story and find God took good care of Esau. And after Jacob, the conniver and deceiver whom “God loved” was humbled at Peniel after his wrestling match, he saw Esau in a different light: “I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.” (Gen. 33:10) (Oh, that modern Israel and modern Jews could learn this by the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit!) Suffice it to say, God blessed both Jacob and Esau. He simply had different plans for them. Part of God’s plan to bring Jacob to maturity was to have Esau as his enemy for a season.
The tradition blinded believer will see the story of Sodom’s destruction in Genesis as the ultimate expression of God’s eternal wrath. Sodom, to them, represents the grossest of sinners. Yet love-filled eyes will see that the self-righteousness of those who condemn Sodom was twice as ugly to God as was the sin of Sodom. In Ezekiel chapter 16, God said the sin of Jerusalem, the city of God’s priests, a type of modern Christians who are to be a “royal priesthood,” was far more repugnant to him than the sins of the Sodomites. As a matter of fact, according to Yahweh, the sins of Jerusalem, the priesthood of the “chosen people” JUSTIFIED the people of Sodom. (Ezekiel 16:51, 52) It would be good for all Christians to read this chapter regularly to help stay humble. Sodom, according to Ezekiel will one day be restored to her former estate and be given to Jerusalem as a daughter.
A law-minded, legalistic person’s eyes will always be looking for the worst in people. They will create in their own minds a God of wrath and judgment. This god will be hypocritical, just like themselves. Their minds cannot see God’s mercy except for themselves and those in their inner circle – a circle which is usually very small. A legalist (and Judaism, Christianity and Islam are full of them) will place a God of judgment, wrath and punishment upon the throne of judgment instead of the Slain Lamb which takes away the sin of the world found in Revelation 5:6 (see also John 1:29). The law-centered heart is quick to judge; quick to force God’s hand; quick to put a glistening sword into God’s hands to justify their own murderous hearts. But the Christian who is filled with the love of God reads, “Mercy shall triumph over (exalt over, have victory over) judgment.” (James 2:13)
The Pharisaic mind which floods the three monotheistic religions is short-sighted – it can barely see anything, and yet it is quick to kill – it kills both foe and friend alike. At the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, far more Jews were killed at the hands of other Jews than at the hands of the Romans. (See Josephus’ “War of the Jews.”)
In summary, the true Word of God is not the Bible, it is Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of all mankind. John, the apostle wrote,
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25, NIV)
For millions of Christians, the Bible has been made into an idol. For them, God has become a set of rules and rituals contained on a couple thousand pages of paper covered with a couple pieces of cow, sheep or pig skin. If you don’t believe it, throw a Bible on the floor in some churches and watch the reaction. Visit a Jewish synagogue and watch the rituals performed around taking Torah scroll out of its special closet.
The Bible is letters on a white page. Jesus is the True Letter, so to speak. He is the Word of God, the Father -- He is the Law of the New Covenant – the Law of the Spirit of the Life in Christ Jesus, as Paul states in Romans 8. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is the white page on which the True Word is written. (John 4:23-24, 14:16-18, 15:26, 16:13-15) Without the “white” or the light it would all be dark and we could not see anything. It is He, the Holy Spirit, that Jesus said He would send to lead us into all Truth. Remember, Jesus was looking for a people who would “worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.” (John 4:42) The Truth is an Anointed (Spirit) Word. He did not instruct us to create thousands of institutions with tens of thousands of different ideas about God and how to do things to please Him. To the degree one’s Bible translation, Sunday School, Bible studies, sermons, books, etc. help bring us to the Father through the True Word of God, Jesus and His Holy Spirit, these things are helpful. However, much of the activity in most denominations of Christianity is simply man-made traditions void of God’s power and purpose and therefore not only useless for establishing the kingdom of God, but actually a hindrance to it.
Generally speaking, human beings like to live in ruts, we do not like change. Old habits die hard. The old way is usually considered the best. “Give me the old time religion.” Well, the “old time religion” they speak of brings death, not life. I have heard many Christians tell me they are “dyed in the wool” Baptists, Methodists or whatever and that they are going to die in that condition. Well, they need not go to the grave to die in that condition. They are already quite dead according to Jesus, Paul and others who know something about being led by the Holy Spirit.
How can a sincere believer in Christ get in a stream which leads to truly being led by the Holy Spirit and not by some well-worn traditions of fallen men? In the Gospel of Mark we see a man with a son who was terribly demon-possessed who begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus told him that all things were possible to those who believe. Immediately the sobbing, poor man implored Jesus, “I believe, please help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:20-30) If the reader is quite content and satisfied with the “religious stuff” he or she is presently getting or doing, then that’s what he/she will probably die with unless some rut-wrecking disaster comes along and knocks them out of their rut. Books don’t lead, not even correct Bible translations can lead us unless the Spirit of God uses them to speak something to us. It is only the Holy Spirit, the Living Spirit of Truth sent by the Living Word of God Who was sent by the Father to redeem all mankind Who is the only one who can LEAD a disciple of Jesus on the path chosen from the foundation of the world for that unique individual. Paul, speaking to Christians said,
“…we have an obligation-- but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD are sons of God.” (Rom. 8:12-14, NIV)
Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, religion, even Christian religion, is mostly of the flesh – the natural man. The true body of Christ is NOT composed of various denominations which cause believers to divide from one another. The body of Christ is made up of individuals, not organizations whose leadership seek to draw disciples after themselves and perpetuate their system. To the degree one is led by institutions and dead men, he is in the flesh and not led by the Holy Spirit. It has grieved me greatly many times in the past when wanting to share Christ with another person I would meet along the way, to have them only interested in getting me to come to their church or meet their leader or to put their label upon me.
Recently, I met a Christian in a high position with one of the mainline denominations. He had no interest in sharing Christ – he wanted me to join his denomination. This man was as dead to the leading of the Holy Spirit as Martin Luther was prior to his dramatic conversion. This man set himself under the tradition of his denomination – and was dead. “As many as are led by the Holy Spirit…” not dead men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, John Paul II, or even living ones for that matter. There is One Spirit, One Word, One Father and One Body of Christ. It would behoove Christians to begin to acknowledge them and begin to walk away from ANY tradition that moves one away from the One Truth. I find it absolutely amazing that this Christian has probably heard about Luther’s conversion many times – could probably write an excellent article on the subject of faith which was Luther’s cornerstone -- and still be spiritually absolutely dead. Amazing. What about you? Do you “know” the real Jesus? Or is He just a great character in a great book? Is He just a Sunday School character? A character used in sermons to illustrate good moral behavior?
Which is the Best Bible Translation
What is the purpose of a Bible translation in the first place? Is it not to know the purpose of our being? Don’t we go to our translation to find out Who God is and why He created us and how we are to relate to others? Don’t we go to the Bible to look for direction for our lives and the lives of those around us? Every Bible translation I know describes a Man riding a white horse and Whose name is the “Word of God. (Rev. 19:13) That Man, the Word of God needs to be riding in our hearts. Will you give Him the reins? Is He really reigning in your heart? Is He extending His kingdom on the earth through you in power and glory? Have you become a “living epistle of God to be read of men?” (2 Cor. 3:2-3) Is the Living Word turning you into a Living Word also? – a living epistle to be read by others?
One of the most successful television commercials was one for hamburgers, “Where’s the beef?” The idea behind the commercial was to emphasize their brand had more real beef than their competitors. A Christian seeking fellowship and seeking to demonstrate to the world that God lives in them should not be afraid of the question, “Where’s the power of the Living God in your life?” There should be signs that God is with us if we are truly walking with the Lord of Glory. If not, the world has a right to ask, “Where’s the beef? Where is your God?”
“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1 Cor. 4:19-20, KJV)
In our lives, in our church, in our denomination – we should ask ourselves, “Where is the power of the Holy Spirit that is supposed to be bearing witness to the Living Word which is supposed to be living inside of me?” Be sincere. God knows when we are faking it. The important question is, “Do WE know when we are faking it?” From the beginning, Satan was a liar and is the father of all lies. Perhaps the greatest enemy we have is our own ability to lie to ourselves and actually believe the lie. Paul wrote:
“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim. 1:5, NIV)
The English word “sincere” comes from the Latin and means “without wax.” In ancient days, dishonest potters would sell pots that contained cracks by filling the cracks with wax. They then covered the wax with clay dust to hide the wax. When the heat comes, of course, the defect would be revealed by wax melting causing the water to spill out. The only one who can really check our vessel to see if we have been deceived or have deceived ourselves is the fiery Holy Spirit. Sincere faith is a faith that honestly opens itself to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. It is not proud. It does not desire to hide anything, but to bring it to the light so that it may be properly dealt with by God.
When Jesus told the man with the demon-possessed son that all things are possible to those who believe, he replied, “I believe, help my unbelief!” May we all have a faith that is ever being submitted to God for inspection. Only God knows how corrupt we truly are. Sooner or later, we will go into the refiner’s fire. Everyone will be salted with fire. Why not volunteer to go to the head of the line. From a spiritual perspective, it will greatly improve our quality of life on earth.
In summary, the Best Bible Translation is one that will conform your life to the incorruptible image of Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One full of the Holy Spirit without measure. If you want to be “translated” into His marvelous kingdom, then let the true Word of God, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit completely have their way with you. They will indeed lead you into all Truth. And your Bible translation, regardless of which one you use, will be transformed right before your eyes.