Some time ago I came across this paper that I had written several years ago. I believe it would be beneficial to publish it again at this time, with some modification. I hope it may serve to enhance the reader’s respect and love for the sacred scriptures, and encourage him/her to read it more carefully.
I accept the Bible as the word of God without reservation! I believe it was verbally “breathed-out” of God, every word of it. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). I understand that the Bible was not written in English. It was given by “inspiration of God” in the Hebrew and common Greek of the time when it was written.
This generation lacks reverence and respect for the word of God. Efforts to destroy the Bible have been continual and violent through all the generations from the time it was written to this present time. Satan has been unrelenting in his persecution and efforts to destroy it in the hearts of men and women. In spite of the persecution, it stands as strong today as it did in the days of the apostles. There is something unique about the Bible that distinguishes it from all other books ever written.
The Bible is a book that stands apart from all other books that exist. It makes claims that, if not true, would indict it as the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon man. The writers, Christ, the central figure, the subject matter, the doctrine, and the promises of it would be as evil as Satan himself, IF the Bible is not all it claims to be.
But if the Bible is what it claims to be, it is the word of God and is not in any sense the word of man (1 Thess. 2:13). This Book is not just the theme of religious thought that has come down to us through the ages. It is the very words of God given to the apostles, with no addition, no subtraction or no modification by any of them. In fact, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the apostles forbade anyone to add to the word given (Rev. 22:16), or to take from the words given (Rev. 22:17), or to change them in any way (Gal. 1:6-9). It is sin whether this is done by teaching something not in the word, or by failing to teach what is revealed; or by trying to modify the word by translating it in an “in-other-words” type translation. This does not respect the revelation of God, nor the inspiration of the Bible.
I like to preach and teach about the inspiration of the word of God because that is what separates it from all other religious literature. I have heard men from the pulpit, in the classroom, and I have read articles that leave the impression that the men who wrote the Bible were speaking from their own experiences and wisdom instead of being verbally directed by the Holy Spirit. I am sure many of these men believed in the God-breathed message of which the apostles spoke and wrote, but we should make sure that those who hear us understand that fact.
All of the apostles testified that the message they preached and wrote came from God. Moreover, they affirmed that the Holy Spirit gave them the words to reveal the message from heaven. The apostle Paul wrote: “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:2-5). The mystery pertains to that which was in the mind of God, which only God could reveal. God made known this revelation by the Holy Spirit through WORDS. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:9-13). That affirms verbal inspiration of God!
“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you (Matt. 10:19-20).
The Holy Spirit by Paul wrote to Timothy to “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 Tim. 4:2-4, ASV). Paul affirms that he wrote the commandment of the Lord by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:2-5; Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). The charge he wrote to Timothy was by the inspiration of God. Those who turn away their ears from this truth, are turning away from God’s inspired revelation and are turned to false doctrines. That is where most of our problems begin.
The revelation of the New Covenant began on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of Jesus into the heavens (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4). God has chosen to reveal His mind by Christ through the Holy Spirit. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds . . .” (Heb. 1:1-2). This revelation of Christ is made by “speaking words” given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” . . . “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:10,13). One cannot have respect for the words unless he has respect for the Person who gave the words, and he cannot have respect for the Person who gave the words unless he has respect for the WORDS!
Don’t you let anyone tell you that words do not make a difference in the translations into other languages from the original Hebrew and Greek spoken by the Holy Spirit. If a translation does not “carry across” the exact meaning of the WORDS of the Holy Spirit, it is not the true word of God. This is serious. The publishers of new and liberal translations are spending millions to convince Bible readers that their new versions are more accurate than the older versions. That claim is not so! They are striving to accomplish two things:
- Make money on the best seller of all times—the Bible. A new translation is copyrighted and the publishers can make millions on it. A “copyrighted” book cannot be copied and sold by any but the copyright holder. But the Bible itself cannot be copyrighted. It is older than the population of the earth, and will live forever (Matt. 24:35). Who alive can copyright the BIBLE? But men can write a TRANSLATION different from other translations and copyright that difference. That is what is being done, and money is the key objective, not the accuracy of the words of Christ to the world.
- To promote the doctrinal distinctions of denominationalism. The Mormons wrote their own Bible to promote their cause. Jehovah’s Witnesses wrote their Bible for the same purpose. How would the Mormons get along with a Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation? or the Jehovah’s Witness get along with the Book of Mormon? The Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and Presbyterian have their creeds and manuals to promote and preserve their distinctive differences from other denominations. These books advance division rather than the unity spoken of in the word of God.
Now some brethren among churches of Christ are doing exactly the same thing by promoting the various modern translations that curse the harmony of the people of God, and weaken their faith. A dozen different modern English translations that say different things on the same subject cause the same damage to the faith that the creeds of denominationalism and the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness translations cause to this generation.
I may be branded as an old diehard for the King James Version and the American Standard Version of 1901. All I know of God’s word I have learned from these translations. I have found no doctrine or truth that cannot be sustained completely by them. I have found no error or false doctrine that can not be uprooted by them.
The King James was used in the famous debates of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with denominational errors. The greatest preachers, writers and debaters of the Restoration Period used the King James translation. That includes Alexander Campbell in his distinguished debates and books, Benjamin Franklin, David Lipscomb, James A. Harding, C. R. Nichol, R, L. Whiteside, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., N. B. Hardeman, and A. G. Freed are among the many well-known preachers and educators of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who used the King James translation and American Standard translation of 1901 in their preaching, writing and debating. The Restoration of the church on American soil was accomplished with the King James translation. There is not one single point of doctrine of Christ that is not made clear and complete by these two translations. They were translated by scholars who believed in and had reverence for the verbal inspiration of God. Modern translations do not reflect that character in the translators. In fact, some of them have expressed in print their unbelief in the verbal inspiration of God; some have expressed their rejection of Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God. Some of them do not believe in heaven or hell. This is not the conviction or attitude that would produce an accurate translation, void of denominational error and unbelief.
The word of the truth of the gospel (Col. 1:5) is powerful because it is the uncorrupted mind of God given by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Every attempt to add to it (Rev. 22:16) or take from it (Rev. 22:17) or modify and change it in any way, whether by faulty translation or by the pulpit perversion (Gal. 1:6-9), it ceases to be the word of God. An “in-other-words” translation is as wrong as a denominational creed. Satan is clever and bold; he uses whatever means possible to destroy the faith of us and our children. He will even be with us when we worship God. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1:6). What better way could he influence men to disobey God than to lure them into accepting a substitute for the word of God in the form of an inaccurate translation of the verbally inspired word of God?