What Bible should I Buy

A Bible these days is a major expense, unless you want one with such tiny typeface one can barely read it. Over the past 50 years I collected a whole book case shelf of them and I can give you some experienced advice. If you are serious about Bible study you will eventually want more than one.

King James Version:  There is a good reason people fall back on this translation in spite of the “thees and thous and hath and believeth” and other old-timey words. King James followed the turbulent times of Queen Elizabeth and there was wrangling among the religious groups about which Bible was the real word of God. The King brought together all the leaders of these factions and said, translate this Bible and we will make it the law of the land as far as religious reading is concerned. The result was that, for its generation, it is  accurate.  It is the most quoted for the following 400 years, for example Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address.

Amplified Version: The Lockman Foundation printed this many years ago and it makes a good study Bible. It is much larger because each line contains synonyms for many of the key words.  For example,

Matthew 6:33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Passages fleshed out like this make for good places to meditate on his word.  Because it is so much larger you should consider a leather binding because the hardcover makes it bulky to handle.  The same is true of The Message.

New American Standard Bible: This version too is from the Lockman Foundation and is my Go-To version. For example, consider this verse from the King James.

1 Corinthians 15:33    Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Now from the NASB. 1 Corinthians 15:33 New American Standard Bible   33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Isn’t that what you just told your teenager?

The Message: This is a modern translation by Eugene Peterson, who translated the American Bible society version that limits the English language to a high school educated person. Given its use of slang, people think it is a paraphrase.  It is not.  I prefer it myself for all the historical parts of the old Testament. Here is an example.

Matthew 6:33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

This is like having the Lord sitting at your side in an easy chair and speaking to your directly. This Bible too should have a leather cover as it is heavy.

New International Version: This is popular in some places.  I put it last because I found some areas where it is not translated from the Greek as closely or as properly as I would prefer.

This passage in Romans is mistranslated in the NIV.

Romans 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death
NIV What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

In the King James the adjectives properly modify the nouns; in the NIV they do not. (I am pretty good with Greek.) But that is personal and it is after all God’s word. If someone gave your that version do not throw it out.

JB Phillips New Testament translation: Phillips was a contemporary of both JRR Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, Bible students together. JB is down to earth.

Here is an example from the King James, Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

JB said:  No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law’s demands—indeed it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.

Phillip died before finishing his translation of the Old Testament. Wags at the time referred to it as “Phillips’ 66.”

Jerusalem Bible: This is a Catholic edition. I especially like its version of Deuteronomy which as you know is not light reading.

Common English Bible: This is in wide use because it is plain, clear and not far from the King James.  The New King James Bible modernizes the words and is also in wide use. As you might suspect the Jewish Bible is a version translated by a Messianic Jewish believer and is appropriate to that audience.  With so many foreigners coming to the faith, it is an option for many people, especially Muslims who will appreciate the history.

The point of having a Bible for your children is this – will they read it  If it is too arcane or difficult of course they won’t. A Bible purchase should be appropriate to the age and background of the reader.  As we change, so should our Bible reading habits.

Getting through the Bible in one year is approximately three chapters  day. Now that’s not all that hard, is it?

What is the “Generation” that will not Pass Away?

If there is a scripture that a critic could site as being false, this might be it.  (And there are those always looking for a way to cut Jesus down a peg.)

Luke 21:30-33 (PHILLIPS) “Look at a fig-tree, or indeed any tree, when it begins to burst its buds, and you realise without anybody telling you that summer is nearly here. So, when you see these things happening, you can be equally sure that the kingdom of God has nearly come. Believe me, this generation will not disappear until all this has taken place. Earth and heaven will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Some versions of the Bible actually say this:

Luke 21:32 (ERV) 32 “I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living.

The Kingdom of God is in our hearts, yes, but now after 2,000 years plus, we can hardly say this has happened in fullness.

But let’s look at the passage more closely. Generation comes from a root word that has greater meaning in the 20th century. That is the word “gene.” From this basic word we get the word genus, or a type of living thing. There are no genes in minerals, as far as we now know. Genes are in people and people pass their genes down to their offspring. Here is the dictionary definition:

noun, plural genera [jen-er-uh] (Show IPA), genuses.
1.Biology. the usual major subdivision of a family or subfamily in the classification of organisms, usually consisting of more than one species.
2.Logic. a class or group of individuals, or of species of individuals.

If we look at this passage in the light of what we now know about genes, it makes sense. The type of people who will bring in and completely understand the Kingdom of God are those whose genes were planted in the 1st century believers, an actual species of believers who are Kingdom people.

That is the group that will not pass away. This also explains this peculiar verse, which I notice is often mis-translated!

Psalm 22:30 A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

Every man was believed to have the promise to conceive a generation which in Jewish tradition is 40 years. Jesus brought forth seed, i.e. children, His born-again believers. That is His generation. But Jesus did not serve a full 40 years; He lived only 33 years. The generation He has been promised will serve out those additional 7 years.

We are now approaching the 7,000 year. Man has been here now 6,000 years; the 7th thousand-year will be the millennium when we enjoy a thousand-year reign of peace. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it. At the end of that 7th thousand-year, Jesus will have received his full 40 year generation as a father.

You can see how any other translation of this passage misses the mark.

God has Called us to Peace in Marriage

The Bible was written for every person, a book that has become so attached to Christians and Jews we forget its universal application.  We Christians know our rules but there are rules for the rest of humanity because God is interested in every man on the planet no matter where he lives, what his religion, or background or language.  As Creator He wants to keep tabs on his creation and keep it as best as He can.

The rules for marriage are the same for all peoples. It begins with the idea that marriage is for two people who do not engage in sex before marriage.  There are good reasons for this, not just disease, but when a marriage starts on a clean slate it does better down the road. It reduces suspicion which an active sex life before marriage creates.

God also makes it clear that He is the center of the home.  Marriages in every generation have the same problems. When we see movies set in ancient times we think they might have been spared the agonies of infidelity, or war or conflict, mothers-in-law and food shortages.  But the nature of humanity is the same in all epochs; only the tools and times change. A home where there is warfare, spoken or silent, is not a happy place.  It is no place for children or adults. A God-less home is a rocky start.

The blessing of marriage is that it sandpapers off the sharp edges in our personality. We learn to get along with others, and they learn to get along with us.   Any marriage in which one person is dominant can see trouble down the road.

But the opposite can be true as well. where there is too much agreement it can become jaded and boring.  Marriages, like businesses, need a mission statement and cooperation from everyone. A husband who demands his own way for 25 years should not be surprised when his wife leaves so she can have some life of her own.

Marriages require mutual accountability, but many men believe that as head of the home, the wife is accountable to him and he is accountable to no one. This is a recipe for failure. The woman can also be dominant and end up letting her husband defer to her when he should be taking the reins. Out-of-balance marriages like that collapse as well.

In the 20th century Christian churches got this notion that if the husband was not saved it was the wife’s fault.  I do not know where the idea came from but it ended up in many divorces.  Not one word in the Bible says that women are to save their husbands.  That is Jesus’ job.  And neither should they discipline them.

The Bible makes the community of faithful men leaders responsible for the discipline of men (husbands) who are out of order in some way.  If the man does not accept the correction of other men he is usually ostracized and since he wants (and needs) the company of other men he returns and learns his lesson. Modern churches have failed in this mission. God does not want his ministers taking sides against either husbands or wives.  The church leader may not be able to save a marriage but neither need he appear to be on any side but that of the Lord.

Counseling often never gets to the root of the problem because the participants will talk about surface issues, like sex, or problem children, housekeeping and time management, money issues and the problems of marriage rather that the root cause.

The result is that in the 21st century only 28% of believers are in church on Sunday. Women got tired of being blamed for marriage failure and found something else to do on Sunday morning. Church business suffers because now there are not enough women to maintain those church duties which kept churches going.

What is the answer?  It comes from the scriptures.  God knows that there are some people, both male and female, who as an act of their will, WILL NOT knuckle under to God in any form. The Bible says basically “Let ’em go.”  If they are determined to have their own way, God has a lesson plan for them which they will sorely regret. Judgment begins at the house of God, but that does not mean after death; discipline can happen throughout one’s life.  And not just husbands – wives as well.  The price of Self Will on the Throne of your life is pricey indeed.

“God has called us to peace.” If a situation is impossible, splitting up the home in order to have peace may be the only final answer. God hates divorce, it is true, but he hates war in the home just as much.

I Corinthians 7:15 but God hath called us to peace.

Fake News Drives Good News off the Stage i.e. Muslim Conversions

After the “Arab Spring” and the Islamic terrorism of 2011, the people saw the “real Islam without its mask” Arabs will turn to the Lord, wrote Asher Intrater, a Jewish writer in Jerusalem in his book, Alignment, (available free download online.)

“Despite the horrendous bloodshed of the past few years (over half a million people brutally murdered and ten million people losing their homes), their prediction of a wave of evangelism has proved true. Millions of Muslims are turning to faith in Yeshua (Christ) all over the world. At the time of this writing (2017) , one very trustworthy estimate speaks of over 3 million Muslims coming to faith in Egypt alone.”

“We often hear Arab Christians say, “The best evangelists for Christianity have been ISIS. They are turning people away from Islam in multitudes.”

900 American bankers commit suicide in the past three years. Did you know that? Of course not.

In Venezuela coroners and doctors are not permitted to list starvation as a cause of death for fear people will find out communism (socialism) is a failure. Did you know that? Of course not.

Truthful news reporting will return to print and media when the public demands it and refuses to be duped any more. Yes, that’s you.

It’s not Peter who Stands at Heaven’s Gate

Who knows where the idea that Peter greets everyone at the entrance to heaven. Maybe because of what Jesus said, That Peter’s confession (rock) would be the foundation of faith?

No, it’s Abraham.  How do people get into heaven? By faith. Who is the father of the faithful? Abraham.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all

Just thought you’d want to know.

Symbolism of Women in Dream Interpretation – part 1

The Bible is filled with women participants. For the purposes of dream interpretation, these are pictures of various churches and personality types both for good or ill, depending on their history and profile. These three you will recognize – the whore, the prostitute and the harlot.

The whore does it for carnal pleasure.

The prostitute does it for profit.

The harlot promises to do it but never comes through.

Whores and whoremongers are linked together. The “Mongers,” an old-timey term, are the salesmen- the pimps or the Johns in today’s language…that is, sex peddlers.  In the spiritual sense however, it refers to those who use religion to justify their behavior and expand their interests into the occult, like seances, and studying false religions or embracing false religions into either Jewish or Christian religious services. It might be exciting to talk about astrology in church but it is called whoring in the Bible.

The prostitute does it for money; she (or he) brings profit either to themselves or others, the whoremongers. A prostituting church is one that condones sin because the people who are giving substantial tithes are supporting the church and “we con’t want to offend them.” But God is offended.  Keep in mind that the natural is never as offensive to God as the spiritual motive.   He looks on the heart as it says in 1 Samuel 16:7.  That does not mean that churches which ask for money are prostitutes; institutions need money to function. If churches which ask for money annoy you maybe God is reminding you of payments you owe Him!

The Harlot Church is mentioned in Revelation.  This religious system makes a big pretense of being the Truth but never has anything to show for it.  We wonder why 73% of Christians no longer go to church.  This might be the reason – all talk and no do.

A dream about any of these women, or women in the Bible who fit this profile should give you a chance to examine what you are doing religiously or morally and how it reflects something in your life that needs exposure or change. Dreams are God’s subtle way of speaking to us when He knows, if He talks to us directly it will probably scare us to death.

 

 

Apologies – Hoping for Forgiveness

The past 12 months have been one death, disease, accident, surgery one after another. Car totaled, cat to vet ($600), new car battery died, phone died, internet died.

BUT now all is resurrected. I’ve not been able to keep up with my readers but all these tribulations hopefully are at an end and I can resume more regular posts.

Thank you for your patience.

Cornelia Scott Cree, Essayist

God is Not a Tight Wad

For many years I’ve watched every slice of bread and cringed if there was ever a need to throw away food.  It was a sure sign I had been neglectful and sloppy.  Furthermore I couldn’t afford it. No eggs ever magically appeared in my refrigerator; no butter regenerated in a dish. So this summer when I was frequently forced to discard food, I blamed myself and tried to reform.  But it happened again and again.

When you have a repetition of something God has a lesson in mind. It had never occurred to me before, but He has quite enough food available for the human race, myself included, and perhaps I need to believe him for generous servings instead of 40 years of penny pinching.

I have a friend who never eats leftovers; that seems to me to be a conceit of ego rather than of food safety.  It must be nice to think that you do not need to lower yourself to the level of eating yesterday’s cold steak.  But the opposite is true. My anguish over food loss was just another form of faithlessness.

I am not supposed to be spending my life chasing every toast crumb, but neither am I to assume God can’t provide.  He certainly has on many occasions.  I can remember one year where I had fewer than 3000 dollars income. Looking back I cannot imagine how I lived at all.  In fact, when I made out my income tax, I added 2,000 dollars because I thought the IRS might believe I had lied.  Well yes, but I did not want them asking me any questions because I don’t know to this day how I survived.

Just as I once learned to live on little now I must adapt myself to the knowledge that God can be generous to a fault – that He can lavish attention on me and provide not just enough to get by, but more than enough, not just for me but for others as well.

I got so excited about the prospect of excess I paid out 20% in tithe!  Of course I can’t do that forever, or at least I don’t think I can, but when He said give to those people who needed it I did not say to myself, “That is not tax deductible.”

God is not interested in my tax deductible status – He’s interested in my obedience. And not doing His will when he makes His will clear simply because I don’t think He can replace the money or the food.  That makes me no better than the “wicked” servant to buried the talent in the ground. And I have enough faults without being called wicked.

Have You Signed the Manhattan Declaration?

About 10 years ago I signed this document. My signature means that even on the penalty of imprisonment in the United States of America I will stand behind the words of the Bible on the moral law and the sanctity of persons.

With the media shutting down Christian websites and calling them “dangerous” this declaration is more important than ever. Facebook and Google both censor Christian speech and belief; Quora, a question and answer site, blocks anyone who calls homosexuality a sin, or evil behavior.

Sign the Manhattan Declaration today:

The Manhattan Declaration is a clarion call to the church to take a stand on three vital issues:

  1. The Sanctity of Life.  A culture of death inevitably cheapens life in all its stages and conditions by promoting the belief that lives that are imperfect, immature or inconvenient are discardable.
  2. Dignity of Marriage.  Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Marriage is the first institution of human society – indeed it is the institution on which all other human institutions have their foundation.
  3. Freedom of Religion.  No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions.

Read the full Manhattan Declaration here.

More than 550,000 people have signed the Manhattan Declaration.  See a list of charter signers of the Manhattan Declaration here.

Sign the Manhattan Declaration here.  (NAME, EMAIL, and ZIP are required fields.) By signing the Manhattan Declaration, you will also receive the Manhattan Declaration newsletter as well as the Colson Center’s daily BreakPoint commentaries.

Please read this.

Bad Arguments vs. Skeptics

A guest blog post. https://apologiainstitute.com/5-bad-arguments-you-shouldnt-use-against-skeptics/