Bible Versions

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Part One...File 7 of 7

Famine of the Word of God!
Bible prophecy never ceases to amaze me. I used to wonder how come the Bible predicted a 'famine' in the last days of 'hearing the Words of the Lord,' when there are still millions of "Bibles" being printed every year. Are not Christian shops, churches and homes bursting with Bible translations and paraphrases to suite every taste? What does this prophecy mean?

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.

I wonder no longer, because now I know that the predicted famine of the Word of God has already begun. The Real Bible is fast disappearing from Christian churches and homes. To be sure there are scores of modern translations and single Gospels available: but the Real Word of God, the King James Bible, is comparatively hard to find and is seldom read from the pulpit. Soon it will be as scarce as is bread during a literal famine.

A Solemn Warning

In the closing chapter of his book The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills pens this solemn warning. We all do well to take heed.
Quote: "In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them no matter whether it pleases God or not. 'We want a Bible version in our own idiom,' they clamor. 'We want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited vocabulary and a taste for modern slang.' And having thus registered their preference, they go their several ways. Some of them unite with the modernists in using the R.S.V. or N.E.B. Others deem the N.A.S.V. or the N.I.V. more evangelical. Still others opt for the T.E.V. or the Living Bible.

But God is bigger than you are dear friend, and the Bible version which you must use is not a matter for you to decide according to your whims and prejudices. It has already been decided for you by the workings of God's special providence. If you ignore this providence and choose to adopt one of the modern versions, you will be taking the first step in the logic of unbelief. For the arguments which you must use to justify your choice are the same arguments which unbelievers use to justify theirs, the same method. If you adopt one of these modern versions, you must adopt the naturalistic New Testament textual criticism upon which it rests. In other words, naturalistic textual criticism regards the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures as of no importance for the study of the New Testament text. But if we concede this, then it follows that the infallible inspiration of the Scriptures is likewise unimportant. For why is it important that God should infallibly inspire the Scriptures, if it is not important that He should preserve them by His special providence?

Where, oh where, dear brother or sister, did you ever get the idea that it is up to you to decide which Bible version you will receive as God's holy Word? As long as you harbour this false notion, you are little better than an unbeliever. As long as you cherish this erroneous opinion, you are entirely on your own. For you the Bible has no authority, only that which your rebellious reason deigns to give it. For you there is no comfort, no assurance of faith. Cast off, therefore, this carnal mind that leads to death! Put on the spiritual mind that leads to life and peace! Receive by faith the true Text of God's Holy Word, which has been preserved down through the ages by His special providence and now is found in the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Greek Textus Receptus, and the King James Version and other faithful translations." (Ref: G4)

Concerning the peculiar, yea dangerous, mind-set of the Westcott and Hort followers both past and present, Dean Burgon wrote:
Quote: "Phantoms of the imagination [That's where they begin.] henceforth usurp the place of substantial forms. Interminable doubts, - wretched misbelief, - childish credulity, -judicial blindness, - are the inevitable sequel and penalty. The mind that has long allowed itself in a systematic trifling with Evidence, is observed to fall the easiest prey to Imposture. It has doubted what is demonstrably true: has rejected what is indubitably Divine. Henceforth, it is observed to mistake its own fantastic creations for historical facts; to believe things which rest on insufficient evidence, or on no evidence at all." (Ref: P2)

Martyrs for the Word of God

Multiplied millions of true believers in ages past have died for the Word of God. Publishing the Bible was a major crime. To possess a Bible, or even portions of one, placed a Christian in a very dangerous position. During the dark ages the situation was immeasurably worse. One has only to study the history of the Waldensian Church to see how dangerous it was for true believers to possess the Scriptures. Multitudes perished by sword, famine, beatings, burning, hangings and torture. Many were slain with Bibles tied around their necks. One of the greatest Christian classics on this subject is Fox's Book of Martyrs: a book which in ancient days was chained - alongside the Bible - to the reading desks in many British churches. Make time to study this book. It tells of martyrs who died in their tens of thousands - yea millions - all because they lived and loved the teachings of the Real Word of God. Here is a quote from page 179 of this masterpiece concerning William Tyndale, the first man to translate the Bible into English from the original languages:
Quote: "…Tyndale thought with himself no way more to conduce thereunto , than if the Scripture were turned into the vulgar speech, that the poor people might read and see the simple plain Word of God. He perceived that it was not possible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures were so plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue that they might see the meaning of the text; for else, whatsoever truth should be taught them, the enemies of the truth would quench it, either with reasons of sophistry, and traditions of their own making, founded without all ground of Scripture; or else juggling with the text, expounding it in such a sense as it were impossible to gather of the text, if the right meaning thereof were seen."

In the book of Revelation we read that the Apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos for the Word of God!

Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the WORD OF GOD, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The prophecy of the Revelation goes on to tell of a great company of believers who would live and die for the WORD OF GOD! a martyrdom which is to be repeated in these last days. I will not exhaust the reader with frightening details; but this is what the prophecy says. Note carefully that these martyrs and their end-time kinsman were - and still are to be - slain for the WORD OF GOD! The main themes of the Word of God are the Son of God (Yeshua the Messiah) and the Law of God (the Torah). These martyrs, past and future, are slain because they loved the living and written Word of God and kept the commandments recorded in it.

The Basic Bible Study

" 'The textual critic J. Harold Greenlee has said, 'New Testament textual criticism is, therefore, the basic Bible study, a prerequisite to all other Biblical and theological work.'
Quote: This is not an overstatement of the importance of this issue. As believers we have the responsibility in our day and age of proclaiming the Gospel, the pure Gospel, the undiluted Gospel. We also have the right and privilege of being the next in the line of protecting God's Word and proclaiming it. Each individual Christian will make a decision on this matter, of which text is correct. Unmistakably, this decision will be made, consciously or unconsciously, by every single believer. This decision is made when the believer decides which edition of the Bible he will use to read and study; and if he chooses a translation based upon corrupted manuscripts which reflect views which omit the deity of Christ, His blood atonement, His virgin birth, then the decision has been made to extend this error to the next generation. If, however, today's Christian chooses a translation of the Word of God which is translated from the Traditional Text of the New Testament, the decision has been made to continue to see God's working through His providence in providing His Word in its complete form, not only for this generation but for those to come." (Ref:L1)

In my opinion, the quote you have just read is one of the most important in this whole publication, that

'New Testament textual criticism is, therefore, the BASIC BIBLE STUDY, a prerequisite to all other Biblical and theological work.'

If you stop to think about it, you will see how true this is: that before we even begin to study any book claiming to be 'The Holy Bible' we should check to see if that really is the case. I must confess that, like multiplied millions of other Christians, I just didn't do that. I blindly accepted every modern translation as the Word of God; some better or worse than others: but all equally holy. How wrong I was! How terribly wrong! But I thank the Almighty that He mercifully pardoned my ignorance, allowed me to live through a massive heart attack and bypass operation and then opened my eyes to the error of my ways - before it was too late! I could so easily have died on the operating table. God knows the surgeon warned me of that possibility. But JEHOVAH answered my prayer and allowed me to live and even to place this article on the Internet. Praise His holy name!

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June 1999
Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland