Letter to A Preacher
To Honor Jesus Christ, Glorify
God, Encourage Believers, & Warn All
information is offered with the hope that YOU can come to KNOW the Lord
I have not been to preaching in awhile at your church (though I have been to Sunday School). I thought I would write and tell you why. I hope you receive this in the spirit in which it is intended.
I myself am made daily more aware of the truth of "if any man thinks he knows anything as he ought, he knows nothing." There are many things I do not know. I am beginning to learn how ignorant I really am. There is one thing, however, that I DO know: the Word of God should be handled carefully since the believers' confidence in it is important.
Two Frenchmen that I have met through literature, one in the 16th century and the other in the 17th, said the same thing about the Word of God and man's ability to understand it. The first was John Calvin, the second Blaise Pascal.
"The knowledge of God without misery leads to pride. The knowledge of misery without the knowledge of God leads to despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ leads to both (misery and God) and is in all truth. Therefore, without the Bible (whose only teaching is Jesus) we know nothing, " and
"Humble thyself impotent reason." "The heart has reasons which reason does not know."
If Pascal can make these statements, then, we should have no problem with them either. (Pascal derived all the Euclidian geometric proofs on the floor of his bedroom when he was 9 years old and he made numerous mathematical and engineering discoveries before he died at the early age of 32.)
Near the end of a life of "genius" he had a "night of fire" in which he had "sweet renunciation." This was HIS GIVING UP (renunciation) of ALL THINGS - including the pitiful NOTHINGNESS of his mental accomplishments.
What does Pascal mean when he says that
KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS leads to MISERY?
1. Jesus said, "I can of MINE OWN SELF do NOTHING" (John 5:30).
This means that the Son of God Himself, the Savior of the world can do NOTHING on His own (without the Father). If HE can't, can WE do more than our Lord? Did not Jesus SUBJECT HIMSELF to the will of the Father?
2. In fact, Jesus "learned obedience by the things which he suffered " (Heb 5:8). If Jesus, who never sinned, had to learn obedience by SUFFERING, do you suppose we, whose "RIGHTEOUSNESSES are as FILTHY RAGS", are to have NO SUFFERING (misery)? Do WE not have to " LEARN OBEDIENCE", which means to have our will made subject to His will?
3. Job's example shows us the extent to which GOD goes to FORCE a man to come to the point of repentance. Job said "mine eye SEETH THEE, therefore, I ABHOR MYSELF and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). To those who say that Job brought upon himself the terrible events of the book (loss of family, health, and property), I say read the whole book especially the last chapter in which the LORD becomes angry at the men who claimed that Job brought the judgments on himself - BECAUSE of what they said. It is precisely BECAUSE the men did NOT repent of their attitudes toward themselves (maintaining that a man's situation is a result of his [their] own righteousness) that the LORD became angry at them. Job alone said, "MINE EYE SEETH THEE" and "I ABHOR MYSELF."
4. Psa 80:16 says "at the REBUKE of THY countenance." See also vss. 3, 7, 19. Coming face-to-face with Jesus (knowing Jesus) is a REBUKE which cause us to repent. Since Jesus said, "not my will but thy will," His example of obedience makes us NOTHING. See "I am NOTHING" in 1 Cor 13:2. "Man at his BEST STATE is altogether vanity" (Psa 39:4-5). "Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isa 64:16).
5. Coming to this knowledge requires us to go forward awhile, fall, go backward awhile and be "BROKEN, SNARED, and TAKEN" (Isa 28:13). This is the same thing as being knocked down (BROKEN), tied up ( SNARED), and dragged (TAKEN) kicking and screaming really. This is accomplished "HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE, PRECEPT UPON PRECEPT, LINE UPON LINE" within the Word of God.
6. You see, the "REST" and "REFRESHMENT" of Isa 28:12 we do NOT WANT to hear of it because we can NOT believe that our own works have NOTHING to do our coming to God.
John Calvin held the same view, i.e., man's innate mental ability is USELESS in the understanding of the Bible and its Christ, who "though he were a son, yet, learned he OBEDIENCE through the things which he SUFFERED (Heb 5:8)."
John Calvin taught the absolute necessity of the written Word of God and the illumination of it by the Spirit of Christ Himself as a prerequisite to knowing God (through His OBEDIENT Son).
To illustrate the extent of John Calvin's view of man (long since abandoned by the major denominations) I offer a few quotes. Emphasis is added unless indicated.
"As he is confronted by God [man] must crumple up into utter NOTHINGNESS."
"In our body and soul there is in the eyes of God NOTHING BUT REPULSIVE FILTH."
"The more outstanding a man is, the more he is unceasingly goaded by his ambition - an evil which sullies ALL his virtues so that they lose ALL merit in the sight of God. Each of us seeks his own, and hence ALL our own thoughts, words, and works (however well they appear) cannot stand the test of divine judgment."
"Our understanding is so smitten with blindness, our heart and its motions so evil and corrupt, in fact our whole nature so depraved, that we can do NOTHING ELSE BUT SIN until He Himself creates in us a new WILL ."
Therefore, John Calvin has said basically the same thing as Pascal: man's nature (including his natural mind) can NOT comprehend the Bible without GRACE. We may conclude, then, that at least two "giants" among "learned" men considered the Bible to be a spiritual book which is BEYOND THE REACH of INTELLECTUAL mastery.
If we follow this reasoning we will soon come to the logical conclusion that if comprehension (in any language) is a spiritual matter, then, so must also TRANSLATION be a spiritual matter. Therefore, translating the Bible is not just an academic exercise concerned with the mastery of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages. Modern scholarship (and any other scholarship), therefore, may be condemned outright as a completely effective translation tool.
Which brings me to why I am writing -
Some things you said about the King James Bible bothered me. You said on one occasion something to the effect that "you have to be careful about that King James Translation."
Since this statement could as easily be made (more readily in my view) concerning ALL modern translations (post 1881), one could conclude that there is no such thing on earth to be found in a bound volume which could BE the Word of God - because it could only CONTAIN some words of God.
In the light of this discussion I beg your indulgence to please consider the following passage.
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. -- Psa 12:6-7
The meaning of these verses are definitely different than, say, the NIV. The KJV says that the WORDS of the Lord are to be PRESERVED and the NIV says WE are to be kept safe. Now, both can not be correct and since God can not contradict himself, one is the Word of God and one is NOT the Word of God.
Well, what do we do here? If the message of the KJV is true (and I believe it is), then, the Word of God is preserved. Why would the Revision Committee "change" this verse to mean something entirely different? It is true that if this verse is left intact, it REFUTES the work of the Revision Committee before they begin.
If God promises to preserve His Word "for ever" and God can not lie, then, how could we have NOT had God's Word for 270 years (1611 - 1881)? We already know that EVERY WORD , not idea, OF GOD IS PURE (Pro 30:5).
There are two explanations for the Revision Committee's not translating this verse correctly (in addition to the fact that the ORIGINALS they were using were DIFFERENT as well as CORRUPTED):
a. they had NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANT
b. they REJECTED the fact that it could be true.
Why would they not know what it meant? Answer- the same reason anyone else would not know, the lack of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
Why would they reject the fact that it is true? Answer-there is a BIAS in the Revision Committee's work which INCREASES the importance of MAN's CONTRIBUTION and DECREASES the importance of GOD's CONTRIBUTION . This BIAS is illustrated perfectly in the following verse.
It seemed good to me also, HAVING HAD PERFECT UNDERSTANDING OF ALL THINGS FROM THE VERY FIRST, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus , -- Luke 1:3
This dramatically contrasts with "I MYSELF have carefully investigated everything from the beginning" of the NIV. Notice that the NIV is focusing on what I MYSELF have DONE.
Proud scholars WITHOUT THE SPIRIT do NOT BELIEVE the KJV is true. Their fleshly minds do NOT BELIEVE it is possible that one could have " PERFECT UNDERSTANDING of all things from the very first." Further, they believe that only through self effort ("careful investigation") can one arrive at understanding. In other words they are glorying in man and not God. They believe that spiritual knowledge is the product of intelligence and scholarly work.
The truth of Luke 1:3 in the KJV is exhibited in the book of Job.
For truly my words shall not be false: HE THAT IS PERFECT IN KNOWLEDGE is with thee. -- Job 36:4
In other words, the translator is IN THE BELIEVER from the beginning. Granted, HE will open our eyes when HE is ready, but HE is there nonetheless. You see, Calvin and Pascal were right - NATURAL thinking does NOT WORK with the Word of God, only the Spirit of Christ, the one with perfect understanding.
This principle is illustrated further, (both sides of it):
1. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the natural mind to know the things of the spirit.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: NEITHER CAN HE KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned. -- 1 Cor 2:14
2. Christ Himself enables one to understand the Bible.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, -- Luke 24:45
3. Furthermore, knowledge of God can take place ONLY if Jesus Christ reveals him to you.
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. -- Matthew 11:27
Now, we can return to Psa 12:6-7 and recall that the Words of God are purified in "a FURNACE of earth." Compare this passage with the following verse.
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Notice any similarities with the Psalms text? The "I" is God Himself and HE has refined us THROUGH AFFLICTION, a FURNACE. It is God HIMSELF that does this work. He has brought forth His Word through men. The perfect Word of God is brought forth through and in corrupted men. Amazing!
The Word of God is not hidden in a cave, neither is it in a vault in the Vatican, nor is it in the Greek Studies in seminary . It is IN man by the Spirit of God. By this I mean the REVEALED (ILLUMINATED) WORD OF GOD, not information, but revelation. Early on in this process, afflicted and hated men CLUNG to the manuscripts and protected them at the risk of their own lives (under the threat of death from the Vatican which vowed to KILL all Bible believers, Bible possessors, and Bible publishers.
Forasmuch as YE are manifestly declared to be the EPISTLE of Christ ministered by us, WRITTEN not with ink, but WITH the SPIRIT of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in FLESHLY TABLES of the HEART. -- 2 Cor 3:3
Most scholars are PROUD in heart, "an abomination to God." (Pro 16:5) They, therefore, do not understand that GOD PRESERVED HIS WORD through a miracle of the indwelt Spirit (not mastery of Greek, etc.) which caused the believers to reject error and receive the truth. Why did they do this?
Answer- God took away every other thing from their heart (via affliction) causing them to cling only to Him. This is what is meant by "He must increase but I must decrease" in John 3:30.
The believers themselves are, therefore, the vessels of PRESERVATION and the earthly AUTHORIZERS because they have been taken through the furnace here on "earth." In other words, the Textus Receptus, from which the KJV was derived, was received by the believers. Whereas, Aleph and B, from which the 1881 committee translated, were rejected by the believers.
God help us from "going down to Egypt" (seminary and man's wisdom) to find the truth. Let us find Him "in whom are HID ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3).
Please e-mail us with questions or comments today. If you need someone to lead a Bible study, let us know.