“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
The foundation is the word of God. The word of God is comprised of God’s specific, written, inerrant words.
Consider the importance of God’s specific words. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23) He continually talks about the keeping of His words. Many think this is just about His commandments or His teachings or His general ideas.
But the Bible is consistently specific about the importance of the actual words that have been written. As if specific words were the indispensable foundation blocks of His teachings.
The modern Evangelical church really doesn’t believe this. Oh, they say they do. But not really. They think it is the teachings or principles that are the foundation as opposed to the words themselves. Or the “essence of the word” that is important.
Whatever the heck “essence” means.
Truth is Based Upon Specific Words
And so, they are more than willing to quote from a version of the Bible that will support their teachings.
But how do we maintain the same gospel, from church to church, if the words are not settled? If you and I could play around with the words that form the instructions of any game, you and I would never be able to play. We would be arguing over whether you really have to “go directly to jail” or if you are actually allowed to “collect $200 dollars”. (a little Monopoly lingo here.)
Because, after all, it’s all just a game. Isn’t it?
We don’t handle much of anything else in our life with the casual flippancy that we seem to have for the Bible. Most things in life are very word-specific. Even the warranty on that DVD you bought at the store. The legalese matters. A word in the fine print means that you can’t open it. If you do, you own it.
But, with the Bible, it is all open and free. Everyone has a chance to put in their own two cents. Pick a text, any text, and translate it. Make the translation say whatever your specific group wants it to say. Choose a translation that speaks to you.
Meanwhile, the Lord is waiting for us to believe that His words are settled. And therefore, not open to change by the next batch of presumptuous scholars that will “improve” upon what He has preserved.
Comparing A Few Translations
Consider the following comparison from one of the most foundational passages in the Bible. Here is John 3:16 quoted from a few of the more popular translations.
(KJV) King James Version: “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?”
(ESV) English Standard Version: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
(NIV) New International Version: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
(NLT) New Living Translation: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
So, what is it about these versions that stands out?
It is the term, “begotten“, which is used in the KJV; but is removed in these other versions.
The Incarnation Doctrine is Based Upon Specific Words
The term, “begotten“, has to do with a son born in the flesh. As in, “Noah begat three sons…” Physical sons born of a physical mother and father.
But the Lord Jesus Christ existed in eternity past with the Father and the Spirit. We know nothing of Jesus Christ being “born” at some point in eternity past. We only know that the Triune God has existed “from everlasting to everlasting“. And that Christ enjoyed fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit from before the foundations of the world.
So, this special word, “begotten“, proclaims the specific truth that God was made flesh. An identification no other Person in history can claim. “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 1:14)
Again, why would anyone eliminate this word from the scriptures? Is this not foundational to both the Christmas message and the indispensable gospel doctrine of the Incarnation?
It is eliminated because this is how the Westcott and Hort Greek Text subtly undermines the word of God. Major changes were made to the Text; followed by the subtle removal of words in the Translations of that Text by various Bible societies and individuals.
These changes have effectively challenged and/or removed the foundational truths of the gospel from modern Bibles.
In this subtle way, doctrine is affected by the repeated paper-cut principle. Dying the death of a thousand tiny cuts. Cuts that are often overlooked by the undiscerning reader; all the while moving doctrine away from its true heading by minor deviations of the compass.
Leaving us all in a ship blown by the winds of popular religious apostasy; and Evangelical flippancy with God’s word.
In this way, truth is bled off through the clever pattern of changes that are missed by most readers. Especially by those who have been brought up in churches that do not stand upon the Hebrew Masoretic Text (Old Testament) and the Greek Textus Receptus (New Testament). Where the King James Bible is increasingly denigrated and mocked by leadership in most Evangelical and Fundamental churches.
Much more will be said of this as we go through this year. Check out the word, “begotten“. And do your own test. Where else has it been eliminated in the new versions?
And for what purpose?