Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy 400th Birthday!

~ From 1611 and Still Going Strong ~

2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible also known as the Authorized Version (AV).  The actual birthday is May 5, 2011. 

The King James Version holds a unique position in Christian history, secular history, literature, and technology. It has often been described as the single most important publication in all of history.

Importance ~ Without doubt it is the most important English translation of the Holy Bible. 

Impact ~ It has made a profound impact on the English language and on literature! 

Uniqueness ~ There were in fact other English Bible translations prior to the KJV and many since. It is also interesting to note that it was not the most popular translation when it was published. But no one translation nor one book has impacted the world like the KJV. 

Longevity ~ The KJV is nearly twice as old as the United States. The Declaration of Independence, our national Constitution, and our Bill of Rights are youngsters compared to the KJV Bible. 

Popularity ~ For many decades it was the best-selling book in the world. Estimates are that somewhere between 2.5 and 6.5 billion copies have been sold. 

Survival ~ Arguably no other book has suffered such ferocious attacks or has been so closely scrutinized. Attacks have continued for four centuries by many enemies. Most of those foes are gone but this book lives on. 

Debate ~ Avid readers have always discussed its meaning. Some take it at face value for what the words say. Others have gone to significant lengths to find a secret code locked in its pages. An extreme example is when some speculated that William Shakespeare—who was 46 at the time—was one of the master translators of the KJV. Their reasoning: The 46th word of the 46th Psalm is the word “shake” and the 46th word from the end of the 46th psalm is “spear.” 

On-Going Fan Club ~ There are many Christians alive today who believe the KJV is the only acceptable Bible version. Virtually all theologians hold the KJV in high regard. 

Errors ~ Conservative Christians believe the Holy Bible to be the God-inspired (literally “God breathed”) Word of God without error in the original manuscripts. But that does not mean that translations are flawless. The KJV we read today is not identical to the original KJV. Literally hundreds of changes have been made to the vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Also printer errors have been corrected. 

Probably the worst printer error occurred in 1631 when the royal printers left out the word “not” in the seventh of the ten commandments. It read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

Another famous error was what became known as the Vinegar Translation which instead of including the parables of the vineyards it included the parables of the vinegar. 

Selected passages from the KJV ~ “All Scripture [original manuscripts] 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 Tim 3:16-17). 

“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13). 

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23). 

Closing Questions ~ Are you born again? Do you possess eternal life so that you will also live and abide forever? If not click here

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tree Miracle

~ It’s All In The Seed ~ 

Christmas is near and the family is sitting by the fire. As the young daughter looks at the Christmas tree she asks, “Where did our Christmas tree come from?” Mom begins to tell her where they bought it…  “But where did it come from?” interrupts the child. 

To the best of her ability mom explains that pine trees have pine cones—which contain seeds. These seeds contain the essence of a pine tree. The pine cone falls to the earth and from the seed we get a pine tree! Mother confesses that she doesn't fully understand it but she believes it, and knows it is true. She goes on to explain that a significant portion of our food comes from seed and most of our remaining food comes from animals that eat seeds and/or products of seeds. 

The seed is an extremely fascinating and miraculous part of God’s grand design of creation. In a tiny seed there is life! Some seeds are so small we must use a microscope to see them, others are quite large. Seeds reproduce their own kind of life—a tiny orchid seed will never produce a coconut, and vice versa. Virtually all seeds can live in a dormant stage for years. Scientists have found some seeds over four thousand years old which they believe still contain life.

On several occasions Jesus Christ used seeds in His parables. “God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it” (Matthew 13:31b-32, The Message).

Jesus took time to explain some of the parables in which He used seeds, for example: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:37b-43)

This year as you look at Christmas trees think of Jesus Christ—the One who died for our sins on a tree at Calvary! Consider Jesus Christ the Creator of all seeds and the sustainer of our lives (both physical and spiritual). By Him all things consist, are held together, and produce after their own kind (Colossians 1:17). 

This CHRISTmas season consider how Jesus Christ came as a baby to Bethlehem that He might bring us to eternal glory with Him forever and ever. How strange it is that when we see a pine cone fall from a tree to the earth we know it contains seeds which contain the essence of a pine tree, yet we lack the simple faith to understand that the Creator of the universe could come to earth as a man. Although Christ was a true human being, He also contained the essence of God—in fact was truly God!—as well as truly man. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holy – 3 of 3

~ Implications ~

What Is the Opposite of Holy?

As previously noted, the word "profane" (or common) is used in many translations of Scripture to denote that which is the opposite of holy. For example in Ezekiel we read, "Her priests do violence to My law and profane My holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common: they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26-26). Later we read, "They are to teach My people the difference between the holy and the common" (Ezekiel 44:23).

Earlier in Scripture the Israelites were clearly told not to treat that which was set apart to God as common. The twentieth to twenty-second chapters of Leviticus is a rich area of study with regard to holy and profane. For instance, in these chapters our LORD repeatedly warns about profaning (or making common) His holy name.


In the New Testament, the word "saint" is used as a name for all believers. Those who know Jesus Christ personally are called saints. The word saint simply means "holy one." Returning to our primary definition of holy, that of being "unique," or "set apart," or "distinctive," we see the radical implications of how we are to live our lives.

We are to be those who are in the process of sanctification. Those who are becoming more and more distinct (unique) as we become more and more like our master, Jesus Christ. "We ... are becoming transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Or as Paul exhorts us, "I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2). From this passage it is clear that we have three choices; we can be transformed into a distinctive human being, we can remain conformed to the world, or we can be "double minded" (James 1:8 and 4:8) and end up being deformed. The choice is ours.

Jim Elliot, one of five young missionaries martyred for the cause of Christ by Auca Indians in Ecuador, once prayed, "Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God."

COMMENT: There are many quotable phrases from Jim Elliot in the book “JIM ELLIOT: A Christian Martyr Speaks to You” edited by myself.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holy – 2 of 3

~ Definitions ~

What Does Holy Mean?

Like many words, the word "holy" is used in more than one way in Scripture. If you were to ask a number of Christians in your local church to define holy or to give some synonyms, the typical responses would be such words as pure, righteous, immaculate, and sinless. While those words are all encompassed in the concept of holy, they are very limiting as opposed to the use of the word holy in the Word of God.

In a very fundamental sense, holy is a description of the uniqueness of God. It is interesting that most people have a different reaction to the word holy than to omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, or any of the great attributes of God. And we also know that Scripture nowhere commands us to "be ye eternal for I am eternal," nor do we read that we are to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and so forth.

There is no adequate way to convey holy in the English language (or any other language), and there is no way to begin to grasp the depths of this characteristic of God. Some theologians have rightly pointed out that the word holy encompasses all of God's attributes. At the same time, since we are commanded to be holy—we must seek to understand what it is we are to be.

A primary and basic meaning of the word holy in the Word is "separate," that which is "set apart" or is "a cut above." In Christian circles we often talk about sanctification as being "set apart" and as being the process of becoming holy. While this is a correct concept, we may have oversimplified to the point of losing the significance of the meaning. Holy is that which is so different and "totally unique" as to be a magnitude above the highest!

Holy means "peculiar." Something which is holy is "very special." Holy is unique and not ordinary. In this regard we find that in contrast to holy, the King James Version (and others) uses the word "profane" to describe that which is ordinary or common.

When this key aspect of the meaning of holy is comprehended, the mysterious idea that holiness somehow encompasses all of God's attributes becomes quite clear. God is holy (unique) with regard to His purity and righteousness. God is also holy (unique) with respect to His all-knowing, holy (unique) by His ever-presence, and holy (unique) in His eternal nature.

This connotation of "separate from the rest," of uniqueness, provides insight into why many physical objects in the Scriptures were referred to as holy. Why, even the ground is termed as holy (for example Exodus 3:5). Additionally, the Scriptures mention holy anointing oil, holy water, holy house, holy place, holy bread, holy instruments, holy seed, a holy ark, and of course the holy of holies; many things and places are described as holy. The nation Israel was termed a holy nation because they were God's people, a unique people, set apart for God.

In the New Testament we read regarding Christians that they are "a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). Perhaps the use of the word holy to describe many ordinary objects is one reason we have tended to let go of the primary definition of holy when it comes to describing God and instead to emphasize the concept of purity and righteousness. In doing so, we have lost much of the richness of the meaning.

It is also instructive to recognize that many things that were set apart and deemed holy in the Old Testament were set apart in order that they be undefiled, or kept pure. This provides more understanding of how we have drifted to the meaning of purity.

It should also be noted that the word "Pharisee" connotes the meaning of "one who is separate." Certainly we would not want to associate our God with the Pharisees—the Pharisees were unique in some negative ways. The emphasis of a holy God is clearly that of "positive uniqueness" or "above all else."

When we understand holy as uniqueness, we see that the holiness of God really is a summary attribute which represents God's deity and exclusiveness. The word holy calls attention to who and what God is—totally different than anything or anyone else. God's knowledge is holy knowledge. His justice is holy justice. His mercy is a holy mercy. His spirit is the Holy Spirit.