Posts Tagged ‘the bible’

“Southern Baptists Update Bible’s Language On Gender”

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LTRP Note: The following news story in the form of a radio transcript is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the content. We have also posted links to two other articles on the issue, one which (The Christian Post) is defending SBC’s actions.

By Tom Gjelten
NPR

Faced with declining membership among millennials, the Southern Baptists are seeking to modernize their language. The denomination has adopted a new Bible with more gender-neutral terms.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the country, and they’re holding their annual convention this week. Their congregations are mostly in the South and mostly conservative. But like other denominations, Southern Baptists are working to adapt to the times. NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports on how they are trying to change their language.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: On the eve of the convention, the president of the Southern Baptists pastors, Dave Miller, announced he’d be quoting from a new translation of the Bible, one issued by the denomination’s own publishing house.

DAVE MILLER: We are using the new Christian Standard Bible. Tomorrow night, if you come back, the first 2,000 people in the door will receive a gift Bible, a very nice gift Bible. I’ve switched to the Christian Standard Bible. I love that Bible.

GJELTEN: Advertisements for the new Bible say it’s more readable than prior translations, but the changes go deeper. Religion writer Jonathan Merritt and a colleague theology professor dug through the new version and found the text used more gender-neutral language. Click here to continue reading.

Two Examples of Gender Changes in the Christian Standard Bible

The word “sisters” is in the CSB in the New Testament 159 times (18 in KJV NT and NASB NT)

The word “human” is in the CSB 216 times (0 in KJV and 39 in NASB)

Other Articles on This Story:

Related Articles:

“Thinking Outside the Box”

By Tamara Hartzell
(Author of Reimagining God and In the Name of Purpose)

“Thinking outside the box”

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

The importance of the Word of God simply cannot be overstated. Without it, we do not have the truth, faith, or salvation of God. And without the truth, faith, and salvation of God, we do not have God. Scripture is replete with teachings and warnings that make this perfectly clear. One example of many is 2 John 1:9:

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”

Where do we get the doctrine of Christ in which we are to abide to have God? From the Word of God.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:14-16)

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

It is the faith of God that comes by the Word of God. Not only does the Word of God give us the truth and faith we are to believe in order to have God, but it also gives us the truth and faith we are to obey in order to please and serve God. And yet people in today’s Christianity are no longer willing to accept this faith as is. Rather than simply believe and obey, people want the freedom to “rethink” and “reimagine” God and His Word into a fashion that they are willing to accept and, incredibly, even go so far as to claim that God’s own Word of truth puts God in a “box.” In other words, they want the truth and faith of God set “free” from the Word of God. Thus, they do not see the Word of God as the truth but as merely a “story” with “changeable” and “debatable” “metaphor” that can be interpreted and retold however anyone chooses. This then gives people their desired freedom to “think outside the box” where they can conveniently “reimagine” their own “story” of who they “rethink” God to be.

Naturally, whether or not these stories line up with God’s Word is irrelevant to those who prefer to “think outside the box” of God’s Word. In fact, if they did line up with the Word of God, then it would defeat their purpose of “thinking outside the box.” And since “rethinking” and “reimagining” God and His Word is what people today actually want, they are turning to fables for their faith and “truth.” Fables are not the truth, and the truth is not a fable. This is why God’s Word warns that people are turning away from the truth and unto fables. Nevertheless, more and more people are trying to turn fables into the truth—i.e., “reimaginings” into reality—and are dancing around in circles desperately trying to bring the two together as one in a harmonious relationship. This is, in essence, turning the light off to look for “truth” in the corner of a dark round room.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)

The light of God’s Word is just too bright for today’s light-intolerant eyes. More and more people are seeking relief outside the “box” and are intentionally turning away from the Word of God, away from the truth, away from the faith, trying to “find God” in the darkness. However, in the darkness people can no longer tell the difference between what is true and what is false, even when it is obvious. And as a result, they are blindly bearing with those who present them with “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” that deceptively affirm their shift from light to darkness, and even lead them astray to another “God.” But they don’t see it that way. Since people imagine that God’s Word of truth is just a manmade “box” from which God and His truth need to be set free, they see it as simply a matter of “finding God” wherever they choose to look. Sadly, this rapidly increasing deception is clearly seen in today’s shifting Christianity.

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.… But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7, 11-12)

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

Since more and more people in today’s shifting Christianity are rejecting the Word of God as the word of man, and even accepting the word of man as the word of God, one needn’t go far to see the many counterfeits being sold to the eager buyers who see no need to beware. In fact, since people now imagine that outside the “box” of God’s Word is the “genuine” and inside the “box” of God’s Word is the “counterfeit” they will only see a need to beware of God’s Word inside the “box.” Thus, reviling those who believe the genuine is the genuine and the counterfeits are the counterfeit, they are heeding those who believe the counterfeits are the “genuine” and the genuine is the “counterfeit” because the counterfeits are the “genuine” they are willing to accept. But, naturally, those who prefer to “think outside the box” don’t see it that way.

Many people are likewise choosing to see man’s fables as the “truth” about God because man’s fables are a “reimagined” “truth” they are willing to accept. Absurdly, those who seek to justify “reimagining” God and His Word even claim that Jesus taught parables in order to teach truth to the multitudes. This claim in itself “reimagines” God’s Word in order to justify “reimagining” God’s Word. Jesus Himself gave the reason for His parables, which is the opposite of man’s imaginations in more ways than one. He spoke in parables to keep the truth away from those who did not have ears to hear and had already chosen to close their eyes and ears to the truth. Sadly, some things never change.

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.… For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:9-13, 15-16)

If that isn’t clear enough:

“And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.… Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” (Luke 8:10, 18)

Those who have chosen to turn their ears away from the truth and unto fables only seem to have the truth. The truth is “Thus saith God,” “Thus saith the Lord,” and “It is written.” This is the settled truth of God, which He has recorded for us in His Word. God’s truth is what it is and never changes despite man’s never-ending vain attempts to “rethink” and “reimagine” God’s Word for God. Truth tells us what is and what is right or wrong. Stories are the opposite. Stories are relativism and allow each person to decide for themselves what they want the meaning to be. This is exactly the freedom desired by those who are shifting from truth to fables. They want the freedom of uncertainty rather than the what is of certainty. Since having ears to hear the truth is necessary to be able to hear the certainty of its meaning, it was to His disciples and not to the multitudes that Jesus told the meaning of His parables:

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.… And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” (Mark 4:23-24, 33-34)

Because the Lord Jesus Christ is God, even His parables to the multitudes are “Thus saith God” and “Thus saith the Lord.” And since even the meaning of His parables has been recorded in God’s Word of truth, for us the meaning is not relative as many now think, but rather, “It is written.” On the other hand, man’s imaginative fables are nothing more than “thus imagines man.” Contrary to the popular opinion of those blinded in the darkness, they are not the truth and not the Word of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings are not a “style” to emulate. He is the Lord, Whom we are to believe and obey.

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Psalm 138:2)

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.… From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:63-64, 66-68)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Too many people in today’s shifting Christianity are seeking to set the truth of God free from the “box” of God’s Word rather than seeking to be set free themselves by God’s Word of truth. Instead of looking for “truth” in the corner of a dark round room they would be far better served looking for truth in a corner of the “box.” But, sadly, those who are shifting from the light of the narrow way of absolute truth to the darkness of the broad way of relative “truth” are doing so on purpose, albeit blindly, along with their eyes closed and ears covered. They feel “boxed” in by the narrow way, and the broad way gives them the freedom outside the “box” to “rethink” and “reimagine” God and His narrow way into a broader “truth.” With this freedom, people can have a relationship with God however they choose, right?

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)

(This is an excerpt from Tamara Hartzell’s book, Reimagining God: Turning the light off to look for “truth” in the corner of a dark round room; used with permission.)

Volume One

Volume Two

The Lack of Expository Preaching and Consequences of Sin

bigstock-Open-Bible-with-textured-gran-29638121By Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries

Many stand behind the pulpit who should not be there. So many teach extra-biblical or non-biblical nonsense, stories that are not the focus of the Bible or the Gospel. Often these teachings are laden with the pastor’s experiences. Either these teachers were not called, or if they were called to ministry, they did not allow the time for training and education and have found themselves neglecting the call.

Jesus picked regular men who had enough Bible knowledge of Judaism, and he personally trained them for three years. They were not Pharisees who memorized all these extra laws invented by man so they were eager to learn the truth. Later when they were given the Holy Spirit to empower them for the mission, Jesus sent them out – to preach, evangelize and disciple.

Preach the Word Paul told Timothy. Yet today we hear people at the pulpit often give a Scripture or two and then launch into various stories that may or may not have anything to do with the Scripture or biblical truth. Going through the Bible systematically teaches us the character of God. It helps understand completely what the writer meant in his book. It uses the Bible as the authority – which takes the emphasis off man. The Scripture has less of a tendency to be manipulated when the basis of our preaching is founded in the Scripture, book by book.

Hearing the word preached preserves us from sin’s influence; it changes our affections from being attracted to sin to obeying God. When the Gospel in the church is not accurately taught or explained, people end up not understanding the message of sin, repentance, and their response—saving faith. This affects their daily walk with the Lord. So the answer is to get back to the basics and really know them as a foundation to build upon.

Once a church gets a certain size and becomes popular, the danger is things become automatic, and they become very busy just to keep the machine they’ve created going.

Samson got a haircut and did not notice the Spirit of the Lord had departed. He looked basically the same, but he found out what was missing when he needed his strength. The sheer size of a church has a great influence over others who desire growth. But we forget that God works with us as individuals, and there is no other methodology but that which is given in Scripture—“they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They practiced the Christian life separately and together. Those who believed the Gospel were brought into the church, and “all that believed were together, and had all things common . . . continuing daily with one accord in the temple . . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (vs. 42-47).  Notice doctrine comes first. Paul instructed the young pastor Timothy to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). In 2 Timothy, he is told to hold to sound doctrine (1:13), teach sound doctrine (2:2), continue in sound doctrine (3:14), and preach sound doctrine (4:1-2). Doctrine forms the framework of our Christian walk and faith; from this knowledge comes good works. From the apostles teaching, their instructions kept the church in spiritual unity to meet the needs of others, fulfilling the law of Christ. One of the reasons the early Church had power was that they followed what was instructed. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, Thy Word is truth.” And so they were one.

But we are constantly pressured to abandon biblical instruction and do things another way (a “new” way), man’s way. As we read the Bible or hear sermons that are biblically based, we learn to live the Christian life, grow in our relationship with God, and are equipped to do good works. Deuteronomy 8:3 exhorts “that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live”

Come Back to the True Living Water

By David Dombrowski

In previous articles, we have demonstrated how the Gospel is the greatest of all treasures. Throughout the ages, man has been out digging for treasure. From the earth, we have been able to extract much of the things that we prize most highly including silver, gold, diamonds, gems, metal ores for making innumerable things made of iron or steel, copper or brass, and aluminum, while massive amounts of oil and coal have been extracted propelling us into an industrialized world. Yet, the human heart remains empty, and only God can fill that void.

Scripture likens our need for the Gospel to our need for water. The psalmist wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). And just as a deer is driven by thirst to drink of the cool water brooks, so we, like the psalmist, should hunger and thirst after God. But for most Christians in the Western world, that thirst drives us elsewhere, and what we attain never really satisfies because it is not the living water that is able to give us life and renew us.

bigstock-Chital-old-illustration-Axis--31118537The Gospel has been with us for a very long time, but of the world’s population, relatively few have chosen to dip into that water of life. The Scripture beckons, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Though the offer is made to all, there are so few who seem to listen. Consequently, so many choose to live in a perpetual drought, fearing the water of life that is able to save men’s souls.

Now, how long has the Gospel been with us? Paul tells us that Abraham received the Gospel:

And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:8)

God made a covenant with Abraham based on a promise to send a “seed” (namely Christ), and in that seed, the promises would be fulfilled (see Galatians 3:16). It is here that a date is given of four hundred thirty years before God gave the Law to Moses. And while the date is of no real significance, what is significant is that the New Covenant (the Gospel) came before the Old Covenant (the Law). Paul’s letter to the Galatians vividly portrays how the Law was never given to save anyone; rather it was given to lead us to the Savior:

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)

Abraham was justified by faith and faith alone as Paul recounts that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Paul then emphatically states that no one is justified by the law when he says, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11, emphasis added). In fact, the Law was an impossible system for salvation because to break any of it even only once meant to break the whole Law:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)

James reiterates the power of the Law when he states: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). It is clear, therefore, that the Law has power, but not the power to save – unless of course a person keeps all of the Law, at every point, perfectly, and no one has ever done that (except Christ). The power of the Law is to show us that because of sin, our righteousness is as filthy rags and consequently we remain under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. The Law demonstrates that, without question, we are in need of a Redeemer, and that is why in Old Testament law, lambs and bullocks were sacrificed year after year, not because they saved at all but because they served as a continual reminder of the need of a Savior who was to come. One teaching that is spread abroad today is that the Jews are exempt from the Gospel because God gave them the Old Testament. But if that were true Paul would not have written “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3:11). On the contrary, it was to the Jews first that the apostles preached the Gospel until later when God showed them that it was to be preached to the Gentiles also. The Gospel is for all people everywhere, Jew or Gentile. This is why the proclamation of the Gospel is so very important because, under God’s plan, the way of salvation comes in only one way.

For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:18)

And when we think about it, the religions of the world think that we can be saved by our own goodness or that we already have God’s divinity within and consequently have no need of a Savior. But God chose to show Abraham a different way, and all who come to God must come to Him in the same way:

As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:4)

So, when God made Abraham a father of many nations, He made it clear that this covenant, based on faith in a promise (i.e., Christ the Redeemer), was to be available to all people everywhere. Then came the Law four hundred and thirty years later to direct everyone, like a schoolmaster, to their need of a Redeemer as it exposes our sinfulness. In this sense, the Law can be likened to the test equipment in a doctor’s office. After performing various tests, the doctor is able to identify a particular ailment, but the tests themselves have only exposed the problem and done nothing to render the cure. The doctor can then prescribe the proper medicine or refer the patient to a surgeon. Once that prescription or surgeon’s referral has been made, the patient is bound rather than cured by his doctor’s orders until the proper steps have been taken. Likewise, we remain bound under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. Then He, as the Great Physician, cleanses us from our sin and imparts new life in us. That is why the Scripture says:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is also why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well:

Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

This woman was acquainted with the problem, but now she had found the cure.

Likewise, Jesus’ offer of “living water” (John 4:10) goes out to all people as He explained “whosoever” may come and drink of this water of life (Revelation 22:17). I find it rather puzzling, though, that while countless numbers from all over the world have found that water, many have the tendency to go back to the Law to find comfort and assurance there. Like the patient who is now cured but feels compelled to stay indefinitely in the doctor’s office or the hospital when all that doctor can really do is to test and prescribe. If the Great Physician has already cured us, why would we want to go back into the Law that was designed to diagnose but not to cure. Furthermore, the Law can never be fulfilled by adherence to a set of rules; that is why Paul said, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Somehow, we get to thinking that mechanically observing a set of rules pleases God, but God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. So, while we can fulfill the Law by love, we cannot do it by merely observing a set of rules. Like the patient holding the prescription, the Law is for those bound by sin, directing them to the Savior. The Law is good insomuch as it exposes our sin and brings us to our Savior, but it has no power to save. This is why Paul was so startled in hearing that the Galatians were going back into the Law and why he was compelled to write:

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3)

Contrary to what many might teach, Paul was not offering the Galatians a license to sin, but a fundamental truth of Scripture – that the Christian life can only be lived out as that well of living water springs up from our hearts. It is imperative, however, that we be found in Christ because Jesus alone is that well from which the springs of life flow.

Jesus is that well of living water, offered freely to whosoever will invite Him into their lives and hearts to be Lord and Savior. To the unbeliever, He is the invitation, “let him that is athirst come” (Revelation 22:17). To the new believer, He is that new life where, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But to those who have known Christ for awhile, even a long while, He is the reminder to come back and be refreshed again to the only water that “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). When we partake of that water, it does us much good. And when we share that water with others, it does no harm to our neighbor. It is the only water that is clean and pure and flows from the throne of God.

Biblical versus Cultural Christianity

“[C]ount it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

By Berit Kjos
Kjos Ministries

This chart is an attempt to answer those who judge Christians by the atrocities committed in the name of “Christianity” through the ages — including our own times. Those wars, persecutions, and cruelties had little to do with Biblical Christianity. They had everything to do with man’s greedy, power-hungry human nature which seeks its own ways rather than God’s. The ungodly expressions of our human nature may change from culture to culture, but the result is usually the same: the people imagine a god that fits their new cultural wants and values, and they learn to see this distortion of Christianity as the true church.

Biblical Christianity means being joined to Jesus Christ through faith in what He did for us at the cross, then allowing Him to live His life through us, so that others might know Him and see His love. (That love may include sharing His warnings as well as His promises with those in need.) The established Church, like Old Testament Israel, has always tended to drift away from its devotion to God and become just other institutions, subject to the same human impulses and painful consequences as the rest of the world. Please don’t blame human evils on a “straw-man” or a convenient cultural distortion of Christianity. Consider some of the differences between Biblical faith and today’s cultural deviations.

 

 

In joy or pain our course is onward still

 Biblical Christianity

Only understood by those who are joined to Christ through the cross

 Cultural Christianity

Believed by the masses to represent genuine Christianity

 It is…  A personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, based on faith. John 17:20-26; Rom. 8:37-39 A religion based on humanist logic, “feel good” experiences,  and popular interpretations of Scriptures.
Come to God through…  Faith in Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself in His Word and by His Spirit. John 14:6  Faith that our own good works and intentions are good enough.
View the Bible as:  The absolute, unchanging, Word of God. The Bible is inspired and guarded by God — including its honest reports about evil acts among God’s people. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet 1:25 A collection of guidelines, allegories, myths, and stories useful for good living. Offensive verses must be ignored.
 Our goal is…  God’s approval. To know Him, do His will, follow His way, and live each moment in fellowship with Him — by His wonderful grace! Gal.1:10 People’s approval. To please, not offend, the world and its communities. Fun, feel-good fellowship.
Source of Strength  God’s unlimited grace and power. Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:19  Our human abilities — plus God’s help when “needed.”
 See our human self as…  Weak and inadequate apart from Christ. 2 Cor. 12:9-10  Strong and capable if we have confidence in Self.
 See sin as…  Leading to spiritual bondage and death. Rom. 6:23  A normal part of life. Ignore it, or you might offend someone. Or enjoy it, for “God understands” you needs and inclinations.
 Deal with sin through…  Confession and faith: trusting Jesus as the “Lamb,” our Savior who bore our sins on cross. Rom. 6:1-6  Try to do better next time, or just tolerate it. Don’t offend anyone by making them feel guilty.
 Caring for people…  Bring people to Christ. Demonstrate God’s love. Trust God to meet needs by His Spirit working through our surrendered lives. Rom. 12:9-18 Bring people to the church or group. Don’t tolerate uncompromising Christians who might offend people. Do to others as you would have others do to you.
 Response to suffering:  Trust God to use suffering to deepen our faith and endurance, prepare us for ministry, and demonstrate His love and power. 2 Cor. 1:3-11  Pray, endure, and trust that God will help. It’s okay to challenge God’s love, power, and purpose — and to seek quick relief through whatever means available — no matter how it conflicts with His Word.
 Commitment: Trust and follow God. No compromise. Rather die than betray our Lord. Rom. 12:1-2  Trust and follow feelings and human logic. Compromise essential to avoid offending the world.
 Expect to…  Face rejection and persecution. John 15:20-21  Get along and influence the world.
 Outreach: Bring God’s love and good news to the needy, then bring the needy to Jesus. Adapt the church to the “community” so that everyone will feel at home.
 Daily hope:  Eternity with Jesus, our Shepherd and King. 1 Peter 1:3-9  Success, acceptance of all people, fun and fellowship in this life.

To read this entire article, click here.

NEW BOOKLET: The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth

The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth by John Lanagan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.

The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth: How Eugene Peterson’s The Message Omits Homosexual Sin—and Other Strange Deletions, Additions, and Alterations

The-Message-BibleBy John Lanagan

Can we just say it? Homosexuality is going to be the dividing line between the true church and the rising apostate church. And Eugene Peterson’s The Message is being used by those who want to avoid or deny the truth that homosexuality is a sin.

The Message flat out deletes homosexuality as sin from two key New Testament passages and gives a politically correct spin to a third (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Romans 1:25-27).

For this reason, The Message and other ungodly imitations of the Bible will be increasingly promoted by those who practice a “form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) that includes acceptance of homosexuality.

Preaching and teaching from The Message rather than the Bible also makes it easier for those who are unwilling, afraid, or just too tired to resist the politically correct juggernaut of homosexuality.

I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. (Hosea 8:12)

Hillsong’s Role
Pastor Carl Lentz oversees Hillsong Church in New York City. Like its parent church in Australia founded by Brian Houston, Hillsong NYC is enormously popular. Celebrities flock there, younger people rave about Hillsong, and secular media give it a free pass.

Such popularity and acceptance would cease if Carl Lentz treated homosexuality like any other sin (i.e., biblically). But Lentz refuses to do so from the pulpit, during interviews, or in any public forum. Among other excuses, he claims he does not deal with homosexual sin publicly because “Jesus rarely dealt with morality or social issues” but with “the deeper things of the heart,” he says.1

During one of his sermons, Lentz used The Message version of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to assert that Hillsong is biblically obedient in refusing to “make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community.”2

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:14 from The Message:

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.

Lentz waxed eloquent over one particular phrase from the passage. He repeated, “Be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ That’s interesting. Isn’t that cool? That’s why some churches want us to give blanket answers on huge issues, well, my Bible says be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ So we’re not gonna make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community right now. No matter who says what we won’t be pressured into giving blanket statements to individual needs. Never!”3

That sounds kind of heroic, doesn’t it? There is one slight problem: The phrase “attentive to individual needs” is not in any reputable translation of the Bible. It is not in the original Greek. It can only be found in The Message.

In other words, Carl Lentz used a non-existent verse to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexual marriage and homosexual sin!

In another sermon, Lentz lamented about biblical illiteracy—and then, ironically, proceeded to teach from The Message. He said:

If you don’t know the Bible, it’s okay. Get to know it. We have a biblically illiterate generation coming up right now where you’re gettin’ second hand information, second hand revelation, second hand stuff that don’t get you through the first hand battle, so make sure you know it for yourself.4

Lentz then told his audience to go to, “James, chapter three. . . . I’m gonna read from The Message.”5 This is further irony because chapter three of James begins by warning that teachers will be more strictly judged.

On more than one occasion, Lentz has assured his audience that The Message is a valid text. Speaking at Judah Smith’s City Church, Lentz stated:

And this morning I’m reading from The Message paraphrase. It’s not a literal translation, but I believe if you check it with all the other translations, it’s right on the money.6

Lentz depends on a phrase not found in genuine translations to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexuality.

The Message Versus the Word of God

On a homosexual website, a former evangelical pastor, now living as a homosexual man, uses The Message to assert homosexual relations are God-honoring if performed in love rather than lust.

Tim Evans, author of On Being Gay, relies on The Message versions of 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 1:25-27 to make his case. He writes:

Reading these renditions and then re-reading the traditional texts without the lens of prejudice, the point is as plain as day. Lust and abuse is wrong and destructive, but love—now that is a different matter.7

Let’s compare The Message passages with those from a genuine Bible.

First, here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB):

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Now, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from The Message:

Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.”

How many people even realize what Peterson has done here? Peterson’s version claims those who “use and abuse the earth” will not be saved! Homosexuality has been removed, and nature/earth reverence has been added! Homosexuality out, earth reverence in! Yet, the Lord tells us:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

The second passage used by the author of On Being Gay is Romans 1:25-27. Here is the passage from the KJV:

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Compare that with Romans 1:25-27 from The Message:

Refusing to know God they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretcheds. (emphasis mine)

All lust, no love? Commenting on Eugene Peterson’s altered meaning of this passage, Berit Kjos, the author of “What Kind of Message is The Message?,” notes:

This strange wording may leave loopholes for homosexuals that make “sex” seem permissible as long as it is viewed as an expression of “love,” not lust—which many gay couples claim today.8

As Tim Evans has ably demonstrated in On Being Gay, The Message serves as a potent weapon for those who deny that homosexuality is sin.

Before examining one final verse where the sin of homosexuality is deleted in The Message, let’s briefly look at a few other verses that have been changed. This is simply to demonstrate there are deletions, additions, and alterations throughout The Message.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)

Remember, a generation has now been raised on this “Bible.” For many, it serves as a preferred or even primary text. Nationally known pastors like Rick Warren and Carl Lentz frequently teach from it.

So, just to get a sense of what Eugene Peterson has done, below are two psalms, a verse from Romans, a verse from John, and one from Colossians. We’ll compare The Message versions with those from the KJV.

First, Psalm 1:1:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Now, The Message, Psalm 1:1:

How well God must like you—you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

Eugene Peterson’s psalm evokes images of clowns pouring forth from a tiny car, running around in helter-skelter fashion, honking their hand held horns.

Sin-saloon! (Honk, honk) Dead-End Road! (Beep, beep) Smart Mouth-College! (Honk honk, Beep beep)

Several years ago during a radio interview, I read aloud Psalm 1:1 from The Message. The Christian talk radio host exclaimed, “That sounds like a cartoon!”

Let’s compare verses from another psalm. Here is Psalm 32:1-2, KJV:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Now, Psalm 32:1-2 from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s “lucky” psalm:

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from Him.

Eugene Peterson has taken away “blessed” and added “lucky,” thus changing the very meaning of the verse.

The Lord warns us:

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

Green Hope?

Now, let’s see what has been done to Romans 15:13, The Message:

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (emphasis mine)

What God of “green” hope? Here is the same verse from the KJV:

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

Just as he did in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, where he deleted homosexuality and added “use and abuse the earth” as a sin, Eugene Peterson has inserted a potential God/nature reverence interpretation into Romans 15:13 that is not in any reputable translation of the Bible.

Should we care for the environment? Of course. Should we insert our man-made agendas into passages of Scripture? That is blasphemous.

Keep in mind that many brand new Christians are given The Message because of its readable, everyday language.

I and the Father are one heart and mind. (John 10:30, The Message, emphasis mine)

I and my Father are one. (John 10:30, KJV)

The Message version of John 10:30 changes understanding about Christ’s relationship to the Father. Eugene Peterson changed the very words of Christ.

The following verse is also bold on Peterson’s part, considering the Lord hates attempts to divine or foretell the future. Why the mention of a forbidden practice (along with telescope and microscope) as if it were a legitimate activity?

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. (Colossians 2:10, The Message)

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10, KJV)

Why has Eugene Peterson done all this? The Message, bluntly stated, seems written to make Christians less knowledgeable about the Word of God. While that may seem a strong comment, please consider what Eugene Peterson himself said about the Bible:

Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text, which has a separate life of its own, and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we do it. . . . [Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God. . . . I’m just not pleased with all the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more they do the better.9 (emphasis mine)

In contrast, the Word of God encourages us:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

The Lord commands us to neither add to nor delete from the Bible. We see this in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, Proverbs 4:20-21, 30:5-6, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 4:2, and Revelation 22:19.

It is a mistake to consider Eugene Peterson as some kind of elder statesman of the faith. Not only has he spawned The Message, Peterson has also endorsed two heretical books: The Shack, and Rob Bell’s sly ode to universalism, Love Wins. The latter disputes whether the unsaved will really spend eternity in Hell.

Peterson has been praised and admired for so long that it may be difficult for some to accept that The Message is an offense to God. Yet, as Paul writes:

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6)

Let us heed Paul’s admonition, and not put “men above that which is written.” Not our pastors. Not Christian authors and musicians. And certainly not Eugene Peterson.

That being said, this deception is spiritual in origin as Scripture tells us:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

The Message’s Effect on the Church
Now, let’s return to the issue of homosexual sin. We are at the point where many in the church are wavering about homosexuality.

As with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, homosexuality is again deleted in 1 Timothy 1:8-11. According to The Message:

It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.

Here is 1 Timothy 1:8-11 from the NASB:

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (emphasis mine)

The Message is weakening the church. Our long-term acceptance and use of The Message explains in part why many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality. Society continues to undergo a paradigm shift. Christians are daily being exposed to a barrage of pro-homosexual propaganda via media, entertainment, politics, and education. Certainly, The Message is not the only factor—but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands, and it can have, over time, significant influence.

This booklet has not been written as a weapon against homosexuals. Far from it. My wife and I (and many others) have repented of this sin and trusted the Lord with our lives. True love is holding to what the Bible says about homosexuality, rather than glorifying the sin, which is what is happening in the culture.

I believe The Message will be increasingly used by on-the-fence churches, apostate churches, and by homosexual “Christian” activists.

The Bible says: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).

But how can we understand God’s Truth when Truth is no longer there to be read?

Satan has always tried to twist or deny the truth of God’s Word (Genesis 3:1-5). Jesus Christ Himself showed us the importance of the Word of God. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, Christ fought the devil’s lies and temptation by answering with Scripture. Three times our Lord responded with “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

Men like Tyndale and Wycliffe put their lives on the line so common people could have access to the unadulterated Word of God. Now, centuries later, there is relatively little objection when the Bible is altered, revamped, or tinkered with.

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

If you have been using The Message, please don’t feel embarrassed or condemned. After all, The Message has been endorsed by numerous well-known Christians and has been with us for a long time now. People appreciate its everyday, accessible language. So this booklet may come as a bit of a shock.

We have primarily concentrated on the passages where homosexuality is deleted or given a politically correct spin. We have noted what seems suggestive of earth/nature reverence in two other passages, and we have also looked at two altered psalms; then we examined a verse from John and found that The Message offers a different understanding of the relationship between the Father and Christ. Eugene Peterson’s “horoscope” verse was also examined.

The fact is, there is so much wrong with The Message it would take a book (maybe two books) to cover it all. Some other “Scriptures” in The Message you might want to investigate by comparing them with the real thing are: Romans 8:35-37, Matthew 6:9-13, Ephesians 2:1-3, Galatians 5:19-21, and Romans 16:19-21. There are many others.

It is rather amazing how the earth reverence insertions and the altered or deleted passages about homosexual sin play into current political correctness. The Message is seemingly made for worldly churches. But I have often wondered if The Message is the precursor to a sinless, Christ-less “Bible” that will be used by the false church.

That “Bible” will have so-called sins included in it, but more along the lines of the 12 Steps—more generic in nature. A “Christ” figure will be included as well—but not the sinless Savior, our King of kings. Homosexuality will not be a sin but will be treated with reverence.

Christian use of The Message is not a good thing.

The Message is not a translation of the Bible. It is not a para-translation, as its publishers have so cleverly called it. Nor is it a paraphrase, because Eugene Peterson has omitted, and he has added.

The Message should not be used by the body of Christ at all.

To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Carl Lentz with Katie Couric http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3wLm6pPvRY.
2. Carl Lentz, Huffington Post interview with clip of Lentz preaching (go to18:01 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrdJd1vD2MM.
3. Ibid.
4. Carl Lentz, LOVE IS RED Conference (go to14:38 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wqXIAS9B0A.
5. Ibid.
6. There Goes The Neighborhood (go to 6:19 in video) hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_60hICs834.
7. Tim Evans, On Being Gay (http://www.courage.org.uk/articles/article.asp?id=219)
8. Berit Kjos, “What kind of message is The Message?” (http://www.crossroad.to/Bible_studies/Message.html).
9. Michael J. Cusick, “A Conversation with Eugene Peterson” (Mars Hill Review, Fall 1995, Issue No. 3, http://www.marshillreview.com/sojo/peterson.shtm), pp. 73-90, quoting Peterson.

To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word

The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word, click here.

The-Awesome-Wonder-of-God-s-WordThe Awesome Wonder of God’s Word

By Warren B. Smith

Several years ago I was at a church conference in Olathe, Kansas. In the middle of citing a verse from the book of Jeremiah, the speaker suddenly looked up from the text with a huge smile on his face. Looking out at us, he joyfully exclaimed—“I love the Bible!” I immediately and enthusiastically agreed. What an amazing book! It tells us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. While it lifts us up and shows us the way to salvation, it tells us who Jesus is, and it tells us who He is not. God’s true authentic Word—we would be totally lost without it. However in today’s compromised church, spiritual experience seems to be the name of the game. Consequently, there seems to be more interest in a word from God rather than in the Word of God. Lest we become compromised ourselves, we must never take God’s Word for granted. What a gift, what a treasure, what a wonder the Holy Bible is. It truly is the Word of God as it inspires, nurtures, guides, and sustains us in our walk with the Lord. God’s Word is awesome—so awesome, in fact, that God magnifies His Word above everything else (Psalm 138:2). And when one reads through the Scriptures to see what the Bible says about the Bible, it is an amazing thing to behold. The following verses are just some of what God’s Word says about God’s Word.

God’s Word

God’s Word is the Word of God
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1Thessalonians 2:13)

God’s Word is Magnified by God Above His Own Name
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

God’s Word is Good
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

God’s Word is Right
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. (Psalm 33:4)

God’s Word is Awesome
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. (Psalm 119:161)

God’s Word is Inspired
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God’s Word is Sure
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. (Psalm 93:4-5)

God’s Word is Pure
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalm 12:6)

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psalm 119:140)
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

God’s Word is Tried
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalm 18:30)

God’s Word is True
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)

God’s Word is Truth
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)

God’s Word is Precious
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

God’s Word is Sweet
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)

God’s Word is Wonderful
Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. (Psalm 119:129)

God’s Word is our Song
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. (Psalm 119:54)

God’s Word is our Joy
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

God’s Word is our Delight
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. (Psalm 119:92)

God’s Word is Powerful
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

God’s Word is Light
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. (Psalm 119:130)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

God’s Word will make you Wise
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

God’s Word Quickens
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. (Psalm 119:107)

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalm 119:50)

God’s Word is like Fire
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)

God’s Word Cleanses
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)

God’s Word Upholds
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm 119:116)

God’s Word gives us Understanding
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:104)

God’s Word Delivers
Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. (Psalm 119:170)

God’s Word is our Counselor
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. (Psalm 119:24)

God’s Word is not Bound
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (2 Timothy 2:9)

God’s Word will not Return Void
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

God’s Word is Everlasting
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:144)

What is Our Response to God’s Word?

We are to Tremble at God’s Word
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 66:5)

We are to Rejoice in God’s Word
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (Psalm 119:162)

We are to Praise God’s Word
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (Psalm 56:4)

In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. (Psalm 56:10)

We are to be Comforted by God’s Word
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

We are to Hope in God’s Word
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:114)

They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (Psalm 119:74)

My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:81)

I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Palm 130:5)

We are to Trust in God’s Word
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. (Psalm 119:42)

We are to Desire God’s Word
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. (1Peter 2:2)

We are to Study God’s Word
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

We are to Meditate on God’s Word
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. (Psalm 119:48)

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. (Psalm 119:99)

We are to let the Word of God Dwell in Us
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)

We are to Live by the Word of God
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

We are to Order our Steps in God’s Word
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)

We are not to Corrupt the Word of God
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17)

We are not to Handle the Word of God Deceitfully
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

We are not to Add or Subtract from God’s Word
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:6)

We are to Glorify God’s Word
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

We are to Gain our Faith from Hearing God’s Word
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

We are Saved by God’s Word
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

We are to be Doers of God’s Word
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

We are to Hold Forth the Word of God
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16)

We are to Preach God’s Word
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2)

We are to Continue in God’s Word
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

We are to Resist Temptation by God’s Word
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:3-4)

We are not to Forget God’s Word
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. (Psalm 119:16)

I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. (Psalm 119:141)

We are to Hide God’s Word in our Heart
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)

We are to Keep God’s Word
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8)

But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. (Psalm 119:1-2)

My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. (Psalm 119:167)

We are to Stand Fast in God’s Word
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

We are to Battle Using God’s Word
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16-17)

We may be Slain for the Word of God
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held… (Revelation 6:9)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

God’s Word Stands Forever
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. (Psalm 119:152)

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:6-7)

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

A Homeless Man & God’s Word

Years ago, I directed a storefront ministry in Northern California that served the homeless mentally ill. One afternoon a young man came in and told me how he had recently been released from prison. He said he had noticed that men who had become born again Christians in prison were getting out of prison early. He said he wasn’t stupid. He got himself a Bible, went to the Bible study, and feigned being born again. Sure enough, he got an early release. He told me that when he left the prison that last day, he hung his Bible on the prison’s front gate and just walked away. He had outsmarted the system and was leaving prison and all that Bible stuff behind. But while he left his Bible hanging on the prison gate, he was surprised to find that the Word of God had been firmly planted within his heart. Recognizing that God’s Word was active and alive in his life, he soon committed his life to the Lord. Now he truly was born again and only too happy to call himself a Christian.

God’s Word is Awesome Because God is Awesome

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalm 33:8-12)

Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. (Psalm 119:161)

To order copies of The Awesome Wonder of God’s Word, click here.

 


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