Daily Archives: January 16, 2014

Bible Translations: What Is the 21st Century King James Version (Kj21)?

 

21st Century King James Version—History
Published in 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc. (Gary, South Dakota), the 21st Century King James Version of the Bible seeks to preserve the sacred message and beautiful language of the King James Version while making it easier to read and understand for the modern reader. Edited by William D. Prindle of Deuel Enterprises, the updates relied on the scholarship, skill and dedication of the original translators of the KJV, which have stood the test of time for four centuries. A revised edition with the Apocrypha (but without lectionary markings) appeared in 1998 as the Third Millennium Bible.

21st Century King James Version—Translation method
The 21st Century King James Version (KJ21) is based on the King James Version (KJV) of A.D. 1611. It is not a new translation, but a careful updating to eliminate obsolete words by reference to the most complete and definitive modern American dictionary, the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, unabridged. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have also been updated. Words which are either obsolete or archaic, and are no longer understood by literate Bible readers, have been replaced by carefully selected current equivalents. All language relating to gender and theology in the King James Version remains unchanged from the original. Also included are the cross references from the original KJV, plus many more.

21st Century King James Version—Pro’s and Con’s
The 21st Century King James Version has never gained traction in the Christian community, largely due to the fierce loyalty many KJV users have to the 1611 “authorized” King James Version. This is sad, as the KJ21 is indeed a much more readable and understandable English translation of the Bible than the KJV. The 21st Century King James Version fulfills its goal of updating the archaic language of the KJV while staying as close as possible to the original KJV.

21st Century King James Version—Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16–“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 8:58–“Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am!’ ”

Ephesians 2:8–9–“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God—not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 2:13–“looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,”[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Jesus Christ: Why Is the Humanity of Jesus Important?

 

The humanity of Jesus is equally as important as the deity of Jesus. Born as a human being while still being totally divine, the concept of the humanity of Jesus co-existing with His deity is difficult for the finite mind of man to comprehend. Nevertheless, Jesus’ nature—wholly man and wholly God—is a biblical fact. There are those who reject these biblical truths and declare that Jesus was a man, but not God (Ebionism). Docetism is the view that Jesus was God, but not human. Both viewpoints are unbiblical and false.

Jesus had to be born as a human being for several reasons. One is outlined in Galatians 4:4–5: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Only a man could be “born under the law.” No animal or angelic being is “under the law.” Only humans are born under the law and only a human being could redeem other human beings born under the same law. Born under the law of God, all humans are guilty of transgressing that law. Only a perfect human—Jesus Christ—could perfectly keep the law and perfectly fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from that guilt, which He accomplished on the cross, exchanging our sin for His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Another reason Jesus had to be fully human is that God established the necessity of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). The blood of animals, although acceptable on a temporary basis as a foreshadowing of the blood of the perfect God-Man, was insufficient for the permanent remission of sin because “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His human life and shed His human blood to cover the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. If He were not human, this would have been impossible.

Furthermore, the humanity of Jesus enables Him to relate to us in a way the angels or animals never can. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Only a human could sympathize with our weaknesses and temptations. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials which we are, and He is, therefore, able to sympathize with us and to aid us. He was tempted; He was persecuted; He was poor; He was despised; He suffered physical pain; and He endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death. Only a human being could experience these things, and only a human being could fully understand them through experience.

Finally, it was necessary for Jesus to come in the flesh because believing that truth is a prerequisite for salvation. Declaring that Jesus has come in the flesh is the mark of a spirit from God, while the Antichrist and all who follow him will deny it (1 John 4:2–3). Jesus has come in the flesh; He is able to sympathize with our human frailties; His human blood was shed for our sins; and He was fully God and fully Man. These are biblical truths that cannot be denied.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Preach the Word: Because It Sets Forth Divine Truth with Clarity and Certainty – John MacArthur

 

Pastors don’t know everything. In fact, an important part of shepherding God’s people is having the humility to take the time to search for the right answer instead of quickly and carelessly deploying the wrong one.

But it’s one thing to tell your congregation “I don’t know.” It’s another entirely to stand before them and say “I can’t know, and neither can you. But you should still listen to me.” That’s the hazardous message emanating from too many pulpits today—nobody knows what God’s Word really means.

I preach the Word of God because it is understandable. God revealed His Word in such a way that it can be comprehended with clarity (cf. Psalm 119:105, 130). If He had not done so, the Bible would no longer serve as an objective standard for life, since it could not be understood in a straightforward sense. Yet, because He has revealed His Word in a way that is universally comprehensible, all men are accountable to it.

If the clarity of Scripture is denied, the certainty of any biblical doctrine must also be rejected, since we can no longer be sure that the Bible actually means what it says. Once doctrinal certainty grounded in biblical authority is dismissed, personal convictions must also be discarded, since they no longer have any firm foundation. And if personal convictions disappear, spiritual community will also vanish, since true fellowship necessarily begins with shared values and convictions.

A healthy church is one that is motivated by a common affection for God and His Word, and one that really knows what it is to love one another. That affection, both for God and for others, arises out of the confidence that the Bible is true, that it is absolute, and that it can be understood.

Scripture is clear. Deny that simple fact and you forfeit all confidence and conviction. No wonder evangelicals who have drifted away from the centrality of Scripture seem to lack certainty and clarity about anything. Careful exegesis and doctrinal precision are inevitable casualties of postmodern uncertainty, too. Consider this shocking comment from a supposedly conservative minister:

If there is a foundation in Christian theology, and I believe that there must be, then it is not found in the Church, Scripture, tradition or culture. . . . Theology must be a humble human attempt to “hear him”—never about rational approaches to texts. [1][John Armstrong, “How I Changed My Mind: Theological Method,” Viewpoint (Sep-Oct 2003), 4.]

That is an amazing statement. It is ludicrous. How can we truly “hear him,” meaning God, unless we go to the place He has spoken—His Word? The only way I can ever be certain about anything is to approach every biblical text with a careful, rational, discerning mind to hear and understand accurately what God is saying.  Take that away and what basis is there for certainty about any truth?

One of the most popular writers in the Emerging Church movement—which embodied postmodern skepticism and relativism—succinctly summarized his mindset, saying, “Certainty is overrated.” [2][Brian McLaren, cited in Greg Warner, “Brian McLaren,” FaithWorks (no date). http://www.faithworks.com/archives/brian_mclaren.htm%5D In one of his books, he writes, “I have gone out of my way to be provocative, mischievous, and unclear, reflecting my belief that clarity is sometimes overrated, and that shock, obscurity, playfulness, and intrigue (carefully articulated) often stimulate more thought than clarity.” [3][Brian McLaren, A Generous Othodoxy (Grand Rapids: Youth Specialties, 2004), 23.]

The wife of another leading pastor from the Emerging trend celebrated her uncertainty, saying, “I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color.” [4][Kristen Bell, wife of Rob Bell. Cited by Andy Crouch, “The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today (November 2004).]

And so we often hear of a new hermeneutic, grossly mislabeled as the “hermeneutics of humility,” which essentially says, “I’m far too humble to say that I know what the Bible means, and anybody who claims to know what it means is arrogant.”

But what’s more arrogant than claiming that God has not spoken clearly enough for us to understand?

When I preach, the response that always pleases me most is, “The message was clear.” Clarity is critical and basic. Ambiguity is deadly and produces nothing. People who think the truth itself is ambiguous don’t know where to turn for salvation. They can’t be sanctified. They don’t find comfort. We get nothing from ambiguity except confusion. Clarity is the desired result of a good understanding of the biblical text. If a preacher is not clear to his hearers, it is likely because he is not yet clear in his own mind. That means more diligent study is required.

When I started in ministry, I committed myself to expository preaching—just explaining the Bible—because I knew there was nothing I could say that was anywhere near as important as what God had to say. The real goal of my teaching has always been to keep my own opinions out of it as much as possible—to get the meaning of the passage right and to make it clear to my hearers. Pastors need to remember from the very outset that when they go into a pulpit, they are there to explain the Word of the living God with clarity and precision, not to impress people with their own cleverness or amuse them with human opinions.

The Word of God is clear, and when I explain it accurately to my people, they understand it. That understanding is the first and most essential point of expositional preaching, because people cannot believe or obey truth they don’t understand, thus building their lives on the wisdom that comes from above.  A clear understanding of God’s Word forms the convictions that shape our lives and leads to deep affection for divine truth (Psalm 119:129–31; 19:10).

 

(Adapted from The Master’s Plan for the Church)
http://www.gty.org/products/books/451125


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Muslim Questions: What Is Islam, and What Do Muslims Believe?

 

Islam is a religious system begun in the seventh century by Muhammad. Muslims follow the teachings of the Qur’an and strive to keep the Five Pillars.

The History of Islam
In the seventh century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic visitations, which continued for about 23 years until Muhammad’s death, the angel purportedly revealed to Muhammad the words of Allah (the Arabic word for “God” used by Muslims). These dictated revelations compose the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Islam means “submission,” deriving from a root word that means “peace.” The word Muslim means “one who submits to Allah.”

The Doctrine of Islam
Muslims summarize their doctrine in six articles of faith:
1. Belief in one Allah: Muslims believe Allah is one, eternal, creator, and sovereign.
2. Belief in the angels
3. Belief in the prophets: The prophets include the biblical prophets but end with Muhammad as Allah’s final prophet.
4. Belief in the revelations of Allah: Muslims accept certain portions of the Bible, such as the Torah and the Gospels. They believe the Qur’an is the preexistent, perfect word of Allah.
5. Belief in the last day of judgment and the hereafter: Everyone will be resurrected for judgment into either paradise or hell.
6. Belief in predestination: Muslims believe Allah has decreed everything that will happen. Muslims testify to Allah’s sovereignty with their frequent phrase, inshallah, meaning, “if God wills.”

The Five Pillars of Islam
These five tenets compose the framework of obedience for Muslims:
1. The testimony of faith (shahada): “la ilaha illa allah. Muhammad rasul Allah.” This means, “There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” A person can convert to Islam by stating this creed. The shahada shows that a Muslim believes in Allah alone as deity and believes that Muhammad reveals Allah.
2. Prayer (salat): Five ritual prayers must be performed every day.
3. Giving (zakat): This almsgiving is a certain percentage given once a year.
4. Fasting (sawm): Muslims fast during Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. They must not eat or drink from dawn until sunset.
5. Pilgrimage (hajj): If physically and financially possible, a Muslim must make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once. The hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

A Muslim’s entrance into paradise hinges on obedience to these Five Pillars. Still, Allah may reject them. Even Muhammad was not sure whether Allah would admit him to paradise (Surah 46:9; Hadith 5.266).

An Evaluation of Islam
Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant differences. Like Christianity, Islam is monotheistic. However, Muslims reject the Trinity—that God has revealed Himself as one in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Muslims claim that Jesus was a mere prophet—not God’s Son. Islam asserts that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was created like Adam. Many Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross. They do not understand why Allah would allow His prophet Isa (the Islamic word for “Jesus”) to die a torturous death. Yet the Bible shows how the death of the perfect Son of God was essential to pay for the sins of believers (Isaiah 53:5–6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).

Islam teaches that the Qur’an is the final authority and the last revelation of Allah. The Bible, however, was completed in the first century with the Book of Revelation. The Bible warns against anyone adding to or subtracting from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6–12; Revelation 22:18). The Qur’an, as a claimed addition to God’s Word, directly disobeys God’s command.

Muslims believe that paradise can be earned through keeping the Five Pillars. The Bible, in contrast, reveals that sinful man can never measure up to the holy God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Only by God’s grace may sinners be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8–9).

Because of these essential differences and contradictions, Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. The Bible and Qur’an cannot both be God’s Word. The truth has eternal consequences.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1–4; see also John 3:35–36).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Humanity: What Is Human Nature? What Does the Bible Say about Human Nature?

 

Human nature is that which makes us distinctly human. Our nature is distinct from that of the animals and the rest of creation in that we can think and feel. One of the chief distinctions between human beings and the rest of creation is our ability to reason. No other creature has this ability, and there’s no question that this is a unique gift bestowed by God. Our reason enables us to reflect on our own nature and the nature of God and to derive knowledge of God’s will for His creation. No other part of God’s creation has a nature capable of reason.

The Bible teaches that God created human beings in His image. This means that He enables us to have some understanding of Him and of His vast and complex design. Our human nature reflects some of God’s attributes, although in a limited way. We love because we are made in the image of the God who is love (1 John 4:16). Because we are created in His image, we can be compassionate, faithful, truthful, kind, patient, and just. In us, these attributes are distorted by sin, which also resides in our nature.

Originally, human nature was perfect by virtue of having been created so by God. The Bible teaches that human beings were created “very good” by a loving God (Genesis 1:31), but that goodness was marred by the sin of Adam and Eve. Subsequently, the entire human race fell victim to the sin nature. The good news is that at the moment a person trusts in Christ, he receives a new nature. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Sanctification is the process by which God develops our new nature, enabling us to grow into more holiness through time. This is a continuous process with many victories and defeats as the new nature battles with the “tent” (2 Corinthians 5:4) in which it resides—the old man, the old nature, the flesh. Not until we are glorified in heaven will our new nature be set free to live for eternity in the presence of the God in whose image we are created.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Prayer: What Is a Prayer Cloth?

 

There are several biblical accounts that are the basis for the modern practice of using a prayer cloth to assist the pray-er to receive positive answers to prayer. Matthew 9:20–22 tells the story of a woman who had suffered severe bleeding for twelve years. She managed to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak, believing this simple contact would heal her. Jesus countered in verse 22, telling her, “… your faith has made you well.” In Matthew 14:34–36, men of Gennesaret had a similar thought. They called all the sick from the area and invited them to touch Jesus’ cloak. All who did were healed. Acts 19:11–12 relates how handkerchiefs that Paul had merely touched were carried to the sick, healing people of diseases and evil spirits.

Aside from the stories in the Bible, the first modern use of a prayer cloth may have been by the Mormons. As the practice faded in Mormonism, it grew in the Pentecostal church. It can now be found even in the Roman Catholic Church. Sometimes the cloths are anointed in oil or in the sweat of those who pray over it.

At its most innocent, the prayer cloth is merely a reminder that a group of people are praying for an ailing friend. The group may pray while holding the cloth, and then send the cloth to their friend, who keeps it near as a comfort. More disconcerting is the belief that the oil or sweat the prayer cloth is anointed with acts as a point of transfer that allows the blessings of God to enter the recipient. But the most disturbing trend is the use of prayer cloths as a fund-raising device among prosperity gospel televangelists. Such programs encourage viewers to send their name and address and perhaps a short prayer request. In return, the viewer receives a prayer cloth, instructions such as “place it in your Bible for one night” or “put it under your pillow” or “write your name on it,” and an envelope to return the cloth with a substantial donation. Variations on the prayer cloth include a “prayer fleece,” a “prayer cloud,” and coins. Some prayer cloths are designed specifically for financial gain.

There is nothing theologically wrong with sending someone a tangible reminder that friends are praying. There are, however, two major potential problems with prayer cloths. Acts 19:11 points out that the use of cloth in Paul’s ministry was “extraordinary.” Miracles are signs that a teacher is specifically chosen to reveal God’s word. Paul, a former enemy of the church, would have needed extraordinary miracles to confirm his new position as evangelist. But, with the completion of the Bible, we do not need signs gifts to identify God’s prophets. And God certainly does not need oil or sweat to more easily pass on the power of His Spirit.

Secondly, and most troubling, is the use of prayer cloths as a shameless money scheme. 2 Peter 2:2–3a reads, “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words …” While Paul pointed out that the work a pastor performs does merit compensation (1 Corinthians 9:14), nowhere does the Bible infer that prayers and spiritual favors can be bought and sold.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Question 54-Puritan Catechism

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Spurgeon 1Q. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity – as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good – to all such as keep this commandment. (Ephesians 6:2,3)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

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A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-13-Repentance and Faith

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Repentance and Faith

 

1. What is Repentance?

It is sorrow for sin, accompanied by a determination, with the help of God, to sin no longer.

2. Do we truly repent every time we are sorry for sin?

No; our sorrow may be from wrong motives.

3. Suppose our sorrow arises merely from the fear of detection or punishment?

In that event, it is not true repentance.

4. What kind of sorrow, then, is involved in true repentance?

A sorrow which makes us hate sin because it is sin, and because it is wrong to commit it.

5. What is Faith?

It is believing what the Bible tells us about Jesus, and trusting our salvation in His hands.

6. Is this belief an act of the mind only?

No; it is with the whole heart, so that we are led to love and obey Christ.

7. Are there many who…

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Monday Morning “Discernment” Quarterbacking: A Lesson on Grace

airō

I just read a story and watched a video provided by the Christian Post about a 28 year old school teacher, Alicia Gray, who “plead guilty to charges of second-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse and being a school employee who has had sexual contact with a student younger than 19, after she was charged last February.”  The headline reads, “Church Rallies Around Teacher Who Had Sex With Student, Films Video of Her Asking for Forgiveness“.

Not surprisingly and right on schedule, some Christians have taken up their stakes to crucify this young lady and her church, Deeper Life Fellowship, for the way they handled the situation. I have grown weary of how some are so quick to pass judgment on others hearts, seemingly having the eyes to discern the hearts of those who do not meet their standards. A breeding ground for such graceless activity is among…

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Tim Keller, The Gospel Coalition and the Promotion of Roman Catholic Mysticism

5 Pt. Salt

thegospelcoalition

Take pride in being “reformed”? Be careful my friends. New Calvinism is not Calvinism. It may usurp the terms and lingo, but it is not the same thing. New Calvinism is nothing less than a Roman Catholic theological carjacking by the Devil.

Tim Keller, and many other new Calvinists, are not truly reformed, Calvinistic theologians who proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are teachers and practitioners of Roman Catholic mysticism.

Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, and thus the Gospel Coalition, teaches the ways and methods of Roman Catholic mysticism, with particular reference to the sixteenth century Spanish mystic, St Teresa of Avila, of Luis de Granada, a Dominican priest, and the spiritual theology of Jordan Aumann and finally, the mystical beliefs and practices of Richard Foster, the founder of Renovare and author of The Celebration of Discipline. Dr Keller whole-heartedly endorses Foster’s spiritual…

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An Open Letter to My Denomination: Have We Lost Our First Love? – Thom S. Rainer

Dear Southern Baptists:

I could be writing to a broader audience. Perhaps I should be. And I know many outside our denomination will read this brief letter. I hope those readers will bear with me as I have a “family discussion.”

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GodLife: The Power of Encouragement

The Power of Encouragement

Four years ago, my husband and I were seeking God’s will for our lives. We felt the Lord calling us to ministry, but we needed His confirmation. Of course, we prayed a lot. And then we asked for advice from Christian friends, family, and potential co-workers. They helped us determine what path we should follow.

Just for You

Do you need help learning how to walk in step with fellow Christ-followers? Click the link for various ways to join with other Christians on our Connect page.

Personal Help

Do you need someone you can rely on for godly advice? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• That by His grace, you will stimulate your friends to love and good deeds
• That God will bring you a small fellowship of believers who will encourage you in your daily walk with Christ (Proverbs 27:17)
• For God’s guidance as you share His Word
• That God will help other believers to find the support of a small group, if they don’t yet have one
• To thank God for His triumph over evil

GodLife Family

Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to experience Christian guidance? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

Wielding The Sword Of The Lord Correctly

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

In this day in which the truth is said to be unknowable, Christians must rely on the only source of pure truth we have. There is no truth that we can say is the complete truth unless we take it from God’s Word. The Bible is pure truth and it is the authority we rely on in order to have a firm foundation in this lost and dying world that is consuming itself in rebellion against God.

What can we learn from Hebrews 4:12 about this?

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