The Amazing Word

John 1:1-4 tells us that Jesus is the “Word”…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus, the “Word” is life! His words give life.

I want to share an amazing phenomenon here, discovered years ago by Periander A. Esplana, a Christian from Camarines Norte, Philippines. I read about it in G. A. Riplinger’s Hazardous Materials book. The examples shared further below were taken directly from this book, pages 1,181-1, 184.

We know that Jesus Christ is the Word. He also said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and What thou seest, write in a book…” Rev. 1:11

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. So here, Jesus is saying, he is not only “words“, he is “letters“.

Stay with me because this is just so awesome!

Example 1

This example is just for the FIRST VERSE and the LAST VERSE of the King James Bible.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Gen. 1:1

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Rev. 22:21

Count the number of letters in the first verse of the KJB: __44__

Count the number of letters in the last verse of the KJB:  __44__

 

Count the number of vowels in the first verse of the KJB: __17__

Count the number of vowels in the last verse of the KJB:  __17__

 

Count the number of consonants in the first verse of the KJB: __27__

Count the number of consonants in the last verse of the KJB:  __27__

Example 2

One of the most important verses in the Bible is 1 John 5:7. It distinguishes the Christian religion from all false religions (The chapter ends saying, “This is the true God…”) This verse identifies the trinity and states that Jesus is God.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

Jesus is not only “the first and the last,” he is “in the midst” of the New Testament in 1 John 5:7 (Matt. 14:24, 25; 18:2; Luke 5:19, 6:8, 9;24:36 “Jesus himself stood in the midst.” John 8:9, 8:59, 18:19, “Jesus in the midst,” 20:19, 20:26.)

Count the number of letters in the first verse of the KJB:   44

Count the number of letters in the last verse of the KJB:  +44

Count the number of letters in 1 John 5:7 of the KJB:           88

When the letters in the first and last verse are totaled, they equal the same number of letters in 1 John 5:7.

Count the number of vowels in the first verse of the KJB:  17

Count the number of vowels in the last verse of the KJB: +17

Count the number of vowels in 1 John 5:7 of the KJB:         34

When the number of vowels in the first and last verse are totaled, they equal the number of vowels in 1 John 5:7.

Count the number of consonants in the first verse of the KJB: 27

Count the number of consonants in the last verse of the KJB: +27

Count the number of consonants in 1 John 5:7 in the KJB:       54

The number of consonants in the first and last verse equals the same number of consonants in 1 John 5:7.

Example 3

As if the fact that the first and last verses of the KJV Bible match identically were not enough, (and they also match 1 John 5:7), it gets more interesting.

First verse letters= 44

Last verse letters=44                               Total 88

First verse vowels=17

Last verse vowels= 17                              Total 34

First verse consonants= 27

Last verse consonants =27                    Total 54

First verse words= 10

Last verse words =12                  

Words in 1 John 5:7= 22                          Total 22

Therefore, the total letters, consonants, vowels, and words in 1 John 5:7 equal the total of those in “the first and last” verses in the Holy Bible.

John 11:40 says, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God”

Do you have 1 John 5:7 in your Bible? If you aren’t reading a KJV, you don’t have 1 John 5:7 in your Bible.

Consider this. If God tells us that the very hairs of our heads are numbered (Luke 12:6-7) and that a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without His notice, that His Son is the Word, and the Alpha and Omega (letters!), how much more would God carefully preserve the most important tangible gift he’s left to us on this earth–His words of His Holy Bible?

Scholars today suggest that the Trinity of 1 John 5:7 does not belong in the Bible, in spite of manuscript evidence to the contrary. In spite of what we’ve seen here, which phenomenon only occurs when counting the letters of the King James version Bible.

For more information on this subject, check out AVpublications.com

Foundations

Samuel Gipp’s “Understandable History of the Bible” is a 557 page must-read for the serious Christian who is just embarking on the journey of learning more about where their Bible came from.

Where did our Bible today come from? 

Most existing manuscripts of the Bible are divided into two “manuscript families”. These two “families” disagree with each other in many areas. Every English Bible today proceeds, more or less, from one of these two groups. In general, these families are represented by the cities of Alexandria, Egypt and Antioch, Syria. Alexandrian manuscripts, or Antiochian manuscripts.

When you come to the issue of Bible translations, without any preconceived notions, just an honest desire for God to direct your paths by the light of His word, what should logically stand out based on the names of these regions?

For me, the city of Antioch grabbed my attention. In scripture, we recognize it as the birthplace of the first Christian church. All of its mentions are in a positive light…I will soon list them here for your personal study. One thing that I also recommend you do, is a scripture hunt for all the mentions of Syria in the Bible, it’s good stuff, mon!

Biblical references to Antioch, Syria

 Acts 6:3,4,5–“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:” One of the first deacons, Nicolas, was from Antioch! He is the only deacon whose home town is listed…why is that, I wonder?

Acts 11:19-21, “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that rose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” The first great Gentile awakening occured in Antioch!

Acts 11:22-24, “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” and much people was added unto the Lord.”

Acts 11:25,26, “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” So Barnabas seeks the young convert Saul…remember that Barnabas defended Paul’s conversion to the doubting disciples in Acts 9:26, 27. He finds Saul, but does he bring him back to Jerusalem? He returns with him to Antioch, the spiritual capital of the New Testament church. And in Acts 11:26, we find that born again believers were called “Christians” for the first time at Antioch.

Acts 11:27, 28, “And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” Jerusalem is spiritually abandoned…in Acts 11:29, 30 we see that the saints who God is blessing in Antioch, must send monetary aid to the saints who God is not blessing in Jerusalem.

Acts 13:1-3, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabus, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” First missionary journey originates in Antioch!

Acts 14:25-28, “And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down unto Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.”

Acts 15:23-27: “And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.” In Samuel Gipp’s The Answer Book, he says after this scripture, that after completing this mission, Judas returned to Jerusalem and oblivion, while Silas elects to stay in Antioch, and it is Silas who we find gaining a prominent place in Scripture as Paul’s missionary partner on his second missionary journey. This second missionary journey originated in Antioch, as Acts 15:40 illustrates.

“What was it that was so attractive to God that He chose it as the center of New Testament Christianity?

It might be noted that, Antioch although it was a cultural center, had not abandoned itself to pagan religion, pagan education and pagan philosophy as had such prominent sites as Rome, Athens, and Alexandria.

It might also be weighed that Antioch, unlike the above mentioned cities, or even Jerusalem, was located almost exactly in the middle of the known world, and was built at the crossing of the East-West trade routes. It even boasted a sea port, via the Orontes River. These are all important attributes for the capital of Christianity, which is known for its mobility.

It may be that many of the original autographs of Paul’s epistles were penned in Antioch.” S. Gipp, The Answers Book, pgs 43-44

Also, history records that by the end of the first century, there were over 100,000 Christians living in Antioch.

Okay, so that was the scoreboard for Antioch, which as we saw above, sybolizes the Christian’s new life apart from the paganism of the Gentiles’ religions and the ritualism of Judaism. Now, let’s see what God says about Alexandria, Egypt. He actually says a lot about Egypt…in the Bible, Egypt is a type of “this world”, and “the old life“. But He also brings up Alexandria. First a few of the more well known references to Egypt…for more you better buy Gipp’s book, he spends 18 pages (Chapter 5,” The Localities”) on this subject in his Understandable History of the Bible!

Biblical references to Alexandria and Egypt

  1. God called His Son out of Egypt, Matthew 2.
  2. God called Jacob out of Egypt, Genesis 49.
  3. God called Israel out of Egypt, Exodus 15.
  4. God called Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, Exodus 13.
  5. God never wanted His people to return to Egypt, Deuteronomy 17:16.

This one gives me chills. In Revelation 11:8, the context is God denouncing Jerusalem, and He compares it to Sodom and Egypt:“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

Now for the four specific scriptures referencing Alexandria:

It’s first mention is in Acts 6:9, “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Crenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.”  Okay, so Jews from Alexandria were partly responsible for the stoning of Stephen. Gipp points out that the blood of the first martyr was shed by people from Alexandria. We’re not off to a good start here.

Now we’re introduced to Apollos, from Alexandria. Acts 18:24, “And and certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.” Gipp says of Apollos,

“Here we find that an unsaved Jew from Alexandria named Apollos was fervent in spirit but was misinformed concerning the Gospel. Not knowing the true Gospel of salvation by faith through death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ he went to Ephesus and preached instead the baptism of Jon the Baptist as the way to salvation, (Acts 18:25). In Acts 19:3, we find some of his ‘baptized  believers’ who were no more saved than he was. Apollos was not saved and neither were his converts.

Later in the passage we see that Apollos is intercepted by Aquila and Priscilla (verse 26) and led to Christ. How do we know he got saved? Look at the radical change in the message he preached. In Acts 18:25, Apollos is preaching “salvation” through the baptism of John. In Acts 18:26 he gets saved. And in Acts 18:28 we find that his message had changed from preaching John’s baptism to ‘preaching Christ.’

But we must take note that in its second mention we find that Alexandria is synonymous with bad Bible teaching.”

Paul is arrested in Acts 21, and he is sent to Rome and eventually his death, on a ship from Alexandria! Acts 27:6, “And there the Centurion found a ship  of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.” We know the story, Paul’s ship is sunk by a tempest.  Paul spends 3 months on the island of Melita. He is then sent on his way to eventual death on another ship. Guess where this second ship is from? Acts 28:11, “And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” Okay, so no positive mentions of Alexandria, Egypt here either.

Above we gave you a little glimpse into Antioch and what it was like back then. Now it’s Alexandria’s turn.

“It must also be noted here that Alexandria was a center of education and philosophy. (Col 2:8). It received these terrible twins from Athens about 100 BC. (Acts 17:16). There was also a school of the Scriptures founded there by one Philo, who was an unsaved philosopher. Philo did not believe that the Bible was the inspired word of God. He interpreted Scripture both philosophically and allegorically. That is to say that philosophically he believed truth to be relative, not absolute. He did not believe that the Bible was infallible. By looking at the Bible allegorically he believed that men such as Adam, Noah, Moses, and David existed only in Jewish poetry and were not true historical characters…

He was succeeded as head of the school by Clement of Alexandria and later by Origen–men who shared his skepticism. These men carried manuscript corruption to new heights–or new depths, depending on how you view biblical infallibility.

It was Origen, deceived by the dual intoxicants of education and philosophy, who upon receipt of pure copies of Scripture altered them to parallel his twisted thinking.”

Origen, the first Bible critic, is responsible for the physical manuscripts which delete such verses as Luke 24:40, Acts 8:37, and 1 John 5:7, as well as the Alexandrian mentality that the Bible is full of mistakes and mistranslations. In other words, “the Bible is not perfect and can be improved upon.”

Samuel Gipp sums this topic up as follows:

“It is to be noted that the five uncial manuscripts which today’s scholars have used to supplant the Received Text of the Authorized Version all come from Alexandria. So here you have well over five thousand witnesses, the vast majority of which testify to the authenticity of the King James Bible, and just a literal handful of opposing witnesses and yet scholarship, deluded by their infatuation with Alexandria turns a blind eye to them and scuttles off to Egypt to bow their knees to a tiny gathering that God refuses to acknowledge.”

The big question is, can we afford to ignore the Bible on this issue? In 1 Kings 11:7, Solomon ignored the Bible’s directives concerning Egypt and ended up sacrificing his children to Molech. Where are we going to end up if we do the same?

Part 2, Where, historically, do the Alexandrian and Antiochian manuscripts go from here? Stay tuned.

King Josiah and me…

Recently, I reread the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings, and marveled at how applicable it seems in light of where God has opened the eyes of our understanding this past year.

Josiah became king at the age of eight. Ten years later, at age eighteen, God tells us in 2 Kings 22:8, that in the course of repairing the temple,a book of the law was discovered anew after evidently having been lost…interesting to note here, is that the scribe bringing news of this lost book, doesn’t seem to give its discovery the great importance it deserves. If you go to the passage and read verses 8-10, maybe you’ll see what I mean.

But King Josiah’s own reaction to this discovery is one of heartbreak. 2 Kings 22:11 tells us,

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.”

If you keep reading, in verse 13 he says to four of his trusted men,

“Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

God answers King Josiah, in verses 15-20, through Huldah the prophetess, but it is verse 19 that really speaks to me, in light of my own belief that God is calling us to greater discernment of modern bible versions in these end times,

“Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.”

King Josiah immediately called for the people and read the book of the law to them, and with the people, made a covenant to the Lord promising to walk in His ways, keep all his commandments, testimonies and statutes with their whole hearts and souls, according to every word in the book. ThKing Josiah cleansing the land of idols, 2 Kings 23 : 24en the king proceeded to purge his land from idols and all things pagan. It’s an amazing story of a king totally ignorant of the depths to which his forefathers had been disregarding God’s ways and His words. But God saw Josiah’s tender heart, his keen brokenness over the things he’d unknowingly done, and God had mercy.

Wow. I really identify with this. For me, discovering the KJV is like a treasure I found buried in a field…the more my eyes became open to the stakes of this issue, the more my heart was broken over my own areas of blindness, broken yet awestruck at God’s majesty and holiness. Now my daily prayer is for God’s word to be a “light unto my path”, to keep me from stumbling, from deception, to renew my mind, and transform my every way.

Sowing Seeds, Reaping Harvests

The Biblical concept of good trees bearing good fruit and good harvests, and bad seeds bearing bad, is interesting to contemplate.

Jack Moorman says this in the preface to his book, When the KJV Departs from the Majority Text,

“The debate over the King James Bible is as crucial as any we face today. A nation, church, individual is only as strong as its Bible. The harvest can only be as good and full as the seed sown. The final court of appeal is no longer final if there are others of equal standing. Many of God’s people no longer have an ultimate authority. ‘What does God’s word say?’ has been replaced by an anemic, ‘How does this version render the passage?’ Leaders and groups that have experienced growth in their ministries, give an impression of being bigger and more blessed than the Bible itself. Those who defend the God-honored version are made to appear divisive, while the ones introducing the new and criticizing the old; have a more balanced view.’ And so it goes.

Faithfulness to a school, church, mission board is often placed above faithfulness to that Book which brought these institutions into being.”

I can relate to sitting in past Bible studies and discussing whether someone else’s version would shed better light on our reading of God’s word. I never thought twice about it perhaps being the wrong approach. I’m also one who enjoyed using a Strong’s Concordance, and the Hebrew-Greek interlinear in the back of my Bible, never questioning what kind of men were behind these “English definitions” of God’s words, or which Greek and Hebrew texts they might be drawing from. I never stopped to wonder why God never suggests in His word that we might need a degree in linguistics to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, or to discern which is the “best translation”. God straight-forwardly tells us,

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth“…2 Timothy 2:15.

Before we rely on 20th Century Bible study tools, shouldn’t we check them out ourselves, and make sure that these men behind the lexicons, Greek and Hebrew texts and Bible dictionaries were godly men, who sought first and foremost to “rightly divide the word of truth“? I believe that every Christian must study these things themselves, not blindly trust that other “experts”  have done this homework for us. How else can we answer to God, in light of 2 Timothy 2:15? A practical place to start would be with this fully documented, eye-opening book, Hazardous Materials by G. A. Riplinger.

A friend and I were emailing about the dangers of having so many differing authorities, in terms of God’s word. Here’s what was said,

“In an age where absolutes are rejected in favor of relativism…I’m afraid we’re seeing how that plays out in the pulpits of America today. There can not be one absolutely correct version, according to modern scholars, there must be many from which to pick and choose. When a person doesn’t believe any version is inerrant/perfect, he can pick and choose whichever translation he prefers to make his points.  He is his own authority.  He is ‘free’ to ‘correct’ the KJV or NASB or any other version, since in the final analysis it is his preference that is his final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  Dangerous ground? There doesn’t have to be manuscript evidence or lack thereof – he can make his subjective choice rather than being ‘confined’ to the objective written word of God.  There is no sense of any version being the actual living words of the living God to whom he will be personally held accountable. With 200+ current English versions now on the market, there is plenty of wiggle room to justify a lot of beliefs, etc.”

Most Christians would automatically say that all Bibles are correct and accurate…but I say,  God promises to perfectly preserve His words from this generation forever. “Perfectly preserved” doesn’t quite equal “good and accurate”. How about a Bible today that contains the “inspired” and “infallible” word of God?

I believe that there is a “perfect” Bible out there, because I believe God’s promises, but out of the 200+ English versions, which one is it? Paul warns us about corrupt Bibles in 2 Corinthians 2:17, and gives a heartfelt plea for watchmen in Acts 20:29-31,

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. “

So back to Matthew 7:17 , the scripture on good trees bearing good fruit, and corrupt trees bringing forth evil fruit. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.d says of this verse, in his Understandable History of the Bible,

“It is undeniable that we in America have more ‘Bibles’ in our language than any other country. No, even England has not published as many ‘Bibles’ as America. Yet in America, we have situations where a six-year-old boy can take a gun to school and shoot a six-year-old girl to death…Two teenage boys can go to their high school and shoot fourteen of their fellow students to death. A mother can strap her two infant children into a car and then drive it into a lake, killing them both. High school girls can have babies and then leave them in a dumpster to die…”

How can this be true of a nation with so many Bibles in their language? I can think of more than one answer to this…perhaps, people are not reading their Bibles to begin with, or…

Could it be because Matthew 7:17 is true? If you sow apple seeds you will reap apples, if you sow orange seeds you will reap oranges. If you sow corrupted seed…what will you reap? 

Luke 8:11, “…The seed is the word of God.”

1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Matthew 7:18-20, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Food for thought. For 300 years, the KJV produced abundant fruit for God’s kingdom. Many say of the KJV, that the test of a translation is what God has done with it. The greatest missionary work in church history occurred between 1700 and 1900. Many great preachers such as Billy Sunday, Spurgeon, Moody, Whitfield, Edwards, Wesley, etc. saw great revival as they preached from their KJVs . The King James Bible was the Bible our great nation was founded upon. It was the Bible of the two spiritual Great Awakenings. It was the Bible that was used to teach our forefathers grammar and reading in public schools over 200 years ago.

One last thought from Samuel C. Gipp’s Understandable History of the Bible,

“There is no Bible that exalts Jesus Christ any higher than the Authorized Version. There is no Bible which is more hated by Satan  and the Roman Catholic Church than the Authorized Version. There is no Bible which teaches doctrine more clearly than the Authorized Version.”

When Gipp states that there is no Bible that more highly exalts Jesus Christ than the KJV, he is referring to the fact that modern bibles often remove references to Christ’s deity, that He is the “son of God”, and they also shorten the references to His name, calling Him “Jesus” instead of the KJV’s “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”.  We are not referring to single instances, but hundreds of instances depending on the version. His statements about it being hated by Satan and the Roman Catholic church are referring to the strong historical opposition to the pure line of manuscripts which form the KJV, for which so many millions of martyrs gave their lives.

Incidentally, Daystar Publishing has a bundle deal in honor of 2011 being the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. For only $30, you can buy four wonderful books (I know, because I own 3 of them!) at 30% off…Gipp’s Understandable History of the Bible, The Answer Book, Is Our English Bible Inspired, and A Charted History of the Bible.

(Please note, I am not advocating here, that we throw out all Greek and Hebrew study helps, obviously, just cautioning the need to prove which ones are pure and acceptable in His sight…)

Remember the Martyrs

KJVBiblePop quiz: What were the best-selling books in the Middle Ages?

  1. The Holy Bible–1611
  2. Pilgrim’s Progress–John Bunyan, 1672
  3. Foxes Book of Martyrs–John Foxe, 8 volumes, 1563 (note that modern copies of this book are severely truncated…leaving out around 6,000 pages)
Also interesting to note, is that the original title for Foxes Book of Martyrs was as follows:
“Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Day, Touching Matters of the Church, Wherein Are Comprehended and Describes the Great Persecutions and Horrible Troubles That Have Been Wrought and Practised by the Romish Prelates, Specially In This Realm of England and Scotland, From the Year of Our Lord A Thousand, Unto the Time Now Present. Gathered and Collected According To the True Copies and Writings Certified As Well Of the Parties Themselves That Suffered, As Also Out of the Bishops Registers, Which Were the Doers Thereof, by John Foxe.”
Imagine an eight volume set of books covering the tragic deaths of so many Christians being number 3 on the best-seller’s list. We’re talking  6,000+ pages here…could it be because people truly valued the sacrifices made by these brave men, women and children, and wanted never to forget the price paid by those who gave all to stand for Christ and the scriptures?

This past Sunday evening at Awanas, I shared some martyr “stories of the faith” with our AWANA Trek Clubbers. We’ve titled our contest theme this year “Track the Trek Tract Challenge”. Our goal with the Trek club is to hand out a certain number of tracts this year, and if we meet our goal, we’ll have a pizza party to celebrate. The kids earn tracts just as they earn Awana dollars, one tract per section signed in the handbook. They’ve enjoyed collecting and reading all of the tracts from chick.com before giving them away. Each week we share the unique places we’ve left tracts, and “track” how many we’ve left.

We’re also exploring a “Do Hard Things” theme. Hence, my wanting to share about the martyrs this past week. I think you all will be amazed by these stories as well.

With a blood-filled pen…

In 1557, Ralph Allerton was burned at the stake. Because he had no ink in prison, he wrote with his own blood, a report of his trial and a letter of encouragement to a widow. His bloody letters pleaded thus,

“I believe the Scripture to be true, and in the defence of the same I intend to give my life, rather than I will deny any part thereof, God willing.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 408

I have to admit, I never realized the Biblical extent of the stakes these martyrs were standing for…that they were not dying for their faith in Jesus–because their Catholic persecutors claimed to believe in Jesus also–but rather for standing strong in defense of the holy scripture, and the veracity of every single word contained therein. That is so important to understand. You see, in the Dark Ages (c. 500-1500), Rome taught that the scriptures could only be understood by a ‘language scholar’, by a priest or member of the laity. The Bible was illegal in the hands of the people. But the word of God was with the people regardless, and they stood firm against any tampering thereof.

For instance, John Cavel, in 1556, was burned at the stake along with five others, for refusing to go to a church that ‘corrected’ the Bible one week, and preached the gospel the next:

“John Cavel…answered, that the cause why he did forbear the coming to the church, was, that the parson there had preached two contrary doctrines. For first, in a sermon that he made…he did exhort the people to believe the gospel; for it was the truth, and if they did not believe it, they should be damned. But in a second sermon, he preached that the Testament was false in forty places, which contrariety in him was a cause amongst others of his absenting from the church.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 106

These saints had a choice–burn the Bible word by word, or be burned themselves.

Memorizing huge portions of scripture…

Adam Wallace was taken to be burned at the stake. The men who took him,

“…spoiled him of his Bible, which always, til after he was condemned, was with him wherever he went. ” He spent the night before he was burned at the stake, singing the entire book of Psalms by heart or “without book” as they called it then.” Foxe, vol. 5 pp. 637-641Titlepage of Great Bible, from the Hebrew and Greek Texts, c.1539

Memorizing whole books of the Bible was very common in those days. Paper being scarce, Bibles were a precious commodity, and also, people were poor. Persecution was everywhere. Christians took to heart as many scriptures as they could…and in this way, groups like the Vaudois or Waldensians were able to preserve the purity of the scriptures and protect them against the corruption of those days. It gives all new meaning to Psalm 119:11,

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 2, p. 475, says:

“We can safely say that they would have been able to reproduce much the same translation as we have…through long years of memorization and recitation…”

Here is what one “Inquisitor’s Tract” relayed in 1260,

For I have heard and seen a certain unlettered countryman, who used to recite Job word for word and many others who knew the whole New Testament perfectly” M. Deansley, The Lollard Bible, 1920, p. 62

This would have been of illegal proportions to the mind of an “inquisitor”…the title of which should ring alarms tolling back to history classes and the Roman Catholic Inquisition, when Christianity any other way than the pope’s way, was a sure ticket to torture and death. Keeping God’s word from the people was of primary importance. But these “unlettered” Christians, in the face of persecution, memorized the whole New Testament!

A blind  girl’s pennies…

 Joan Waste, a blind girl residing in the town of Derby, was burned at the stake at the young age of 22. Her crime was three-fold. She objected to the services being read in Latin, she was found the owner of a New Testament, and she denied the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation holding that the “bread and wine were just that”. Here is her amazing story.

Although blind, she was able to “recite many chapters of the New Testament without book.” With money earned from knitting and rope making, she procured a copy of the New Testament, and as she was able, she saved out “a penny or two” to pay people to read the Bible to her. She was reported to have held the hand of her twin brother on her way to her death. (Foxe, vol. 8, pp. 247-248)

Practical application: Beloved…contend for the faith!
Jude 1:3,

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

William Tyndale, martyred in 1536, who was the first to make an English translation directly from the Greek and Hebrew texts, has this to say to parents:

“Thou shalt buy them wholesome books, as the holy gospel, the epistles of the holy apostles, yea both the New and Old Testament, that they may understand and drink of the sweet fountain and waters of life”…”Bring thy children to the church, to hear the sermon; and when thou shalt come home, thou shalt ask them what they have kept in memory of the sermon…”   Foxe, vol. 5, p. 598

I wonder what William Tyndale would have thought of little league, Guitar Hero or Harry Potter.  What about us adults? I’m just as guilty of the many ways we keep so busy in the ways of the world, which are so far from God’s ways.  Surely too busy to memorize the 27 books of the New Testament.

Remembering the martyrs might be a good place to effect some change. In my house as well as yours.

Lessons From Church History

John Foxe, of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs fame, is an amazing source for authentic church history. I just have to share here some must-know history that you won’t learn in your typical Sunday School…

In 1583, on worldwide persecution, John Foxe writes,

…it was universally through all the churches in the world fierce and vehement, so in this realm of Britain also it was so sore, that, as all our English chronicles do testify and record, all Christianity almost in the whole land was destroyed, churches subverted, all books of the Scriptures burned, many of the faithful, both men and women, were slain.” The Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1, London: R.B. Seely and W. Burnide, 1836, p. 312

Can you imagine that kind of persecution, to almost wipe Christianity off the face of the earth? This was in the Roman Catholic Inquisition time period…estimates of 50-65 million Christians were tortured and martyred for not only their faith, but their refusal to forfeit their pure copies of the scriptures. You see, even back then, the early church fathers warned against corrupt Bibles, which were supposedly being “corrected” by the scholars or religious leaders of their time. Among these keepers of the faith were the Apostle John (2 John 1:7-11), the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:17), Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus (2nd century), Victor of Antioch (AD 425-440)…Eusebius (Eccleastical History)  here cites:

“The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within one hundred years (AD 90-190) after it was composed.”

Dean John Burgon in The Revision Revised on page 323 quotes Gaius (AD 175),

“The Divine Scriptures these heretics have audaciously corrupted (see 2 Corinthians 2:17)…laying violent hands upon them, under pretense of correcting them.”

Gaius speaks of the source of these corruptions that survived in the early papyri, P45, P46, P66, P75 and B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus).

When our family visited the subject of textual criticism and modern Bible translations, and fell amazingly in love with the King James Version Bible, not surprisingly, many well-meaning friends wondered how today’s leading scholars and Bible seminaries could be so wrong in claiming that 1% of all extant manuscripts, mainly the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts (cited above by early fathers as corrupt), are the best out there upon which to base our modern English translations. Well, it’s a multi-faceted answer, at the root of which you’ll find the theories of Westcott and Hort in the late 1800’s (two men who dallied with demonic spirit-guides), but the easy answer is, modern scholars base everything on the assumption that these two manuscripts were the oldest. Oldest is not necessarily purest, especially in light John Foxe’s quote above, “all books of Scriptures burned”…and recent discoveries (1950’s-60’s) of 92 papryi have vindicated the KJV Bible believers, causing Nestle’s 26th edition to be changed in 500 places to go back to the KJV reading!

I also want to say, that many good men are deceived. Even Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:13, says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Peter was so spiritual that his shadow healed people, but in Galations 2:14 we see that “he walked not uprightly”–a good man, but deceived. Later, Jesus, talking to Peter in Matthew 16:23, said, “Get thee behind me Satan…” 

The KJV has long been the butt of jokes at churches and seminaries, sadly defiled as Jesus was defiled. Jesus uses lowly people, the lowly form of things, the opposite of what the world uses to attract. He will not be associated wtih the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or the pride of life. God has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Interestingly in this case, the KJV is the most majestic book ever written, in terms of poetry, rhythm, language and harmony. For 400 years now, it has born undeniable fruit for God’s kingdom.  Hardly surprising, when you consider that the providentially preserved texts underlying the KJV, would produce anything less than a masterpiece? Let us not forget who was the original Author.Yet modern text critics would have us believe that the least harmonious and most abbreviated manuscripts, one of which was discovered in the trash can at a Catholic monastery, are the best.  

Another thing to consider when it comes to bearing fruit…over the past 100 years, we have had over 200 English versions of the Bible spring up…where are the great evangelists, when was the last great revival to sweep the land? Have American Christians been drifting closer to God, or further away?

Also, we need to be careful what sinners think, as opposed to what God says. The word scholar is rarely, if ever, used in a positive connotation in the Bible.  A few examples for you:

  • Mark 12:38, and Luke 20:46, “Beware of the scribes…” Scribes (writers) have great power. Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
  • Malachi 2:8 says the scholars “have corrupted the covenant…”, and 2:12.
  • Luke 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

This post is for those of you who always wondered why all Bibles are not equal. Perhaps, like us, when you read the Bible around as a family, using different versions, you wonder, “Why’d they change that?” Why, indeed.

Maybe the idea of corrupted Bibles startles you, as it did me. But why wouldn’t Satan want to attack God’s word, when it was the very first thing he did in the garden of Eden with Eve? He questioned God’s word, “Yea, hath God said?” He then misquoted God’s word, “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” Then he flatly contradicted God’s word, “Ye shall not surely die!” On top of that, consider that the word of God is our sword of the spirit, the only offensive weapon against the evil one in the hands of the Christian as outlined in the armor of God passage. It would suit Satan’s plans perfectly to get a suitable counterfeit into the hands of every believer. Why else were pure scriptures in the hands of Christians such a threat in the Dark Ages, resulting in so many Christian’s deaths, in so many Bibles being burned? In those days, Satan’s attack was overt, and obvious. Christians knew who their enemy was. Today, he is more subtle. We must be looking for the wolves amongst the sheep.

And why is it, that only the King James Version Bible is the one being reviled, questioned, argued against, when the modern versions have a multitude of unbelievable ommissions, attacks on the key doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ, very minor manuscript evidence (1% as opposed to the KJV’s 99% manuscript evidence!). Have we blindly been led astray like sheep?

God promised in Psalm 12:6-7,

“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.”

God promises to preserve His words perfectly, as silver burned to purity…forever. The question that burns to be answered…is where is this Bible?

And where are the corrupt ones we’re warned about in 2 Corinthians 2:17,

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:3,

 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

And lastly, Jeremiah 13:15, 17…

 “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken…But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.”

Don’t take my word for something this monumental. Pray about it, and research for yourself using God’s word as the light to your path. Church history is a great place to start. And if you are local to me, I have thousands of pages on the subject in my personal library that I would be honored to share to assist you in your journey.

This is a journey for which you must count the cost. At the very least, you could be misunderstood, criticized, laughed at behind your back, or called a church splitter. Yes, even in America. Even when there is no unity to compare to the unity of God’s people steeping themselves in His pure, holy, perfectly preserved words.

Rejoicing at having the privilege to share this here, as a sister in Christ,

Mary

What the word of God says about itself…

KJVBibleRecently I decided to study up on what God says about His word in the Bible. This study changed my life, as I fell in love with God’s word as never before! Did you know that God esteems His words more highly than His name? And He promises to perfectly preserve these words for us? And that heaven and earth shall pass away but His words will last forever? 
This is an important study in a world of Bible scholars claiming that only the original Hebrew and Greek contain the infallible, inspired words of God. Christians need to realize that there is no longer any original Hebrew and Greek…even in Bible days God’s people were relying on copies of scriptures. Does that make God’s words any less inspired, or do His promises to perfectly preserve those inspired words mean anything to us in modern times? If God and His words are our final authority, then this study is of paramount importance.
Here are my favorite scriptures on this subject, and I’m constantly adding to the list. Feel free to add more in comments! A study such as this truly humbles one…to think that God provided such a precious treasure trove for His people, common everyday mankind. A bridge across the great divide, to span thousands of years to eternity.
John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2 Timothy 3:16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
Jeremiah 15:16, ” Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”
Job 23:12, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Psalm 12:6-7, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them oh Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.”
Prov. 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
1 Cor. 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
1 Thess. 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Hebrews 4:12, “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.”
Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Romans 10: 16-17, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Psalm 19:7-14, but verse 7-8 is all I’ll share here,  “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Proverbs 22:20-21, “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” 
 
medieval_warriorWarnings for the Christian…to gird up for battle, be on the alert.
Eph. 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”…this one tells us that the sword of the spirit for the armed Christian is the word of God! How better for Satan to cripple the church today, than to attack the one offensive weapon named to the Christian–God’s word. Do you have God’s word? How can you know? Keep reading.
1 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Rightly dividing the word of truth”. How much reliance and faith do you have in modern translations/translators rightly dividing the word of truth? Which Greek and Hebrew are they using? There are many and they are not all equal. 
We are warned 3 times (that I’m aware of, maybe more) in scripture not to add to or subtract from the scriptures:
Rev. 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
 Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Proverbs 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Yet another red flag for the Bible believer: 
 2 Cor. 2:17, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Are there corrupt Bible versions out there today? Most certainly. Sadly most of us don’t know our Bibles forwards and backwards enough to recognize that key doctrines of the Christian faith are fading from modern translations. Be on the alert, beloved! Please do your homework on this subject.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump…” Galations 5:9, 1 Corinthians 5:6.
One last parting scripture,
2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
 The study of the “word” of God is a very enlightening one! Count the cost!