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 has been replaced by an anemic, ‘How does this version render the passage?’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…)