walk in the word
Category: God’s Word
It is a serious thing to tamper with the Word of God. Revelation 22:19 says: if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city. Note that the emphasis is not on the concepts or the thoughts, but on the very words. God doesn’t want people messing with His book; He doesn’t want people changing it; He doesn’t want people adjusting it. Yet there are some very troubling trends in the church today. Let me mention three.
First, the emphasis on study notes over the sacred text. It really bothers me to turn through the pages of a Bible and find that the notes are written in the same font right alongside God’s Word. Some people spend more time reading the notes than what God actually wrote, or else they give them the same authority as the verses. Now I am not saying, “Lose your study Bible.” I’m saying that when you pick up God’s Word, make sure you’re learning it—that you’re a student yourself and not so reliant on others that you can’t come up with your own insights. People have been understanding God’s Word without notes for thousands of years. Are we to suppose that the most educated group of people who ever lived must be treated like a bunch of morons who can’t understand anything? That they need someone’s interpretation of every single word?
Here’s a second trend that concerns me: marketing the package instead of the content of the Bible. Years ago all you needed to say was: “Hey. I’ve got a book that will change your life.” But that’s not enough anymore. Now we’ve got to package the Bible for each demographic segment of society: the High School Bible, the College Bible, the Worship Bible, the Seeker Bible, the Revival Bible, the Senior’s Bible, the Little Kid’s Bible. It’s out of control! Where did this idea come from? Did it come from people who want to get God’s life-changing truth into the hands of people, or from those who want to profit from the Word of God? Next we’re going to have the Farmer’s Bible, but then we’ll need a Crop Farmer’s Bible because the crop farmer is a lot different than a livestock farmer! Is this where we’re headed?
Here’s the third trend: the emphasis on readability over accuracy in translation theory today. For two thousand years people translated the New Testament with one primary agenda: accuracy. They tolerated translations that were awkward at times because they believed that the Holy Spirit chose the words; they wanted to know what God really said. But nowadays people are like, “Just make it readable. People will never understand that; smooth it over.” So they are dumbing down the Bible. It’s getting scary. If you pick up some of the modern translations, they’re really nothing more than paraphrases.
I thought it would be kind of fun to produce a Gen-X Bible. So I worked on Luke 15:14 from the story of the Prodigal Son: “So the dude looks in his bag for a bit more green and it’s like bone-dry. To make it worse, there’s was like no food anywhere—not even a can of bean dip or something. You know how bad you can get the munchies if you’ve been partying. So this guy is completely bent over with a hunger problem and his formerly full pockets are way empty.”
Is that where we want to go with the Bible? I’m telling you, that’s where we’re headed. We need a group of people who will stand up for verbal inspiration. The Holy Spirit chose the words, and the words matter! If it’s awkward to understand them sometimes, then stretch yourself! Remember: God wrote a book; the Holy Spirit chose the words. Some people say, “But Lord, we’re helping people understand Your Word.” God’s like, “Whew! I couldn’t have done it without you.”
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