Our Changing Attitude Toward the Bible


Text: I Peter 1:22-25

 

I.         A new translation of the Bible came out last month, called “As Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures.”

            A.        Actually, “translation” is not a good description of it. As my wife commented, it doesn’t even make a good paraphrase.

            B.        Several examples were given in the news release.

                        1.         Mark 1:4 - “John, nicknamed ‘The Dipper,’ was ‘The Voice.’ He was in the desert, inviting people to be dipped, to show they were determined to change their ways and wanted to be forgiven.”

                        2.         Mark 1:10-11 - “As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God’s spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’”

                        3.         Matthew 23:25, “Take a running jump, Holy Joes, humbugs!”

                        4.         Matthew 26:69-70 - I won’t give the translation, but suffice it to say that instead of mentioning that Peter cursed when denying Jesus, this version gives what the author imagines Peter (called Rocky) said, including profane language.

                        5.         I Corinthians 7:1-2 - “Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner.”

                        6.         I Corinthians 7:8-9 - “If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated.”

            C.        The examples from Corinthians is why this version made the news. It was headlined as a Bible which promotes fornication

                        1.         Of course, no book would be without endorsements.

                        2.         Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury said of John Henson’s version, “Some of John’s versions will startle; but only because we have forgotten what the impact might have been in the ancient world of a small library of books written in the dialect of the streets and shops, with many of the leading characters identified by slightly outlandish nicknames.” ... “John’s presentation of the Christian gospel is of extraordinary power simply because it is so close to the prose and poetry of ordinary life.”

                        3.         John Rackly, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, “John Henson has the exciting capacity to awaken fresh interest in material that seems familiar. He is never dull, sometimes provocative and occasionally inspirational.”

                        4.         Derek Rawcliffe, “Nowadays we have a generation that has never read the Bible and knows nothing about Christ. This translation bridges the gap by really putting it in the language of today’s street population and making it attractive to them.”

            D.        Mr. Rawcliffe’s comment is the most significant.

                        1.         The reason for perverting the text of the Bible is because people aren’t reading their Bibles. Therefore, a translation is made to bring something to them instead of bring them to God.

                        2.         Actually, this is just one a series of such works. There was one once written in African-American street slang.

II.        People become free with God’s word because they do not believe it to be inspired.

            A.        Hebrews 1:1-2 - God has spoken to us.

            B.        II Timothy 3:16-17 - Comes from the breath of God

            C.        I Corinthians 2:9-13 - The very words were selected by the Spirit of God, not the writers.

                        1.         The same claim was made by Old Testament prophets

                        2.         His words were on my tongue - II Samuel 23:2

                        3.         His words were in my mouth - Jeremiah 1:9

            D.        It is inerrant; that is, it will not be proven false - I Peter 1:22-25

                        1.         Every word is tested - Proverbs 30:5

            E.        It is complete

                        1.         Jesus promised that the apostles would be guided into all truth - John 16:13

                        2.         II Peter 1:2-3 - It contains everything we need to live a godly life.

III.       They are willing to distort what is written - II Peter 3:15-17

            A.        Yet we find that even the smallest matters were considered significant.

            B.        Jesus said that not the least pen stroke would pass away - Matthew 5:18

            C.        Jesus used seemingly minor points to make significant statements

                        1.         A short visit of a queen to see Solomon is used to illustrate why the Jews stood condemned before God - Matthew 12:42

                        2.         The Flood is used to illustrate the certainty and suddenness of God’s judgment - Luke 17:27

                        3.         A short reference to the death of Lot’s wife is used to make the point that God means what He says - Luke 17:32

            D.        Look at how these points were proved!

                        1.         Jesus uses the tense of a verb to make a point - Matthew 22:31-33

                        2.         Paul used the lack of a plural to make a point - Galatians 3:16

            E.        Yet we have people willing to alter the text – changing tenses, plurality, gender, and even meaning! All because they think they can improve on God’s work – but then they don’t really believe it is from God.

IV.      The distorted view of man’s position

            A.        The saddest part is that men feel they must change God’s word to make it relevant to modern men.

            B.        The Bible contains the authority of God

                        1.         They cannot be broken - John 10:35

                        2.         When man puts his own ideas first, he invalidates the word of God - Mark 7:6-9, 13

            C.        God has said His word is unchanging

                        1.         God and His righteousness endures - Isaiah 51:6

                        2.         God’s words remain - Isaiah 40:8

                        3.         Jesus’ words will not die - Matthew 24:35

                        4.         This is the gospel - I Peter 1:25

            D.        It is man who is in trouble, so do we walk toward trouble or lead people away from sin?

                        1.         People think God is unfair - Ezekiel 18:25, 29

                        2.         People think God is like them - Psalm 50:21

                        3.         Man forsakes God and does not fear - Jeremiah 2:19

                        4.         Man thinks he is without sin - Jeremiah 2:35

                        5.         In seeking to justify himself, he condemns God - Job 40:8

                        6.         God grows tired of man - Malachi 2:17

V.        An illustration of the religious world’s changing attitude

            A.        This is a compilation of Methodists’ teachings on the topic of divorce and remarriage from 1896 to 1984, done by David Tant.

            B.        "No divorce, EXCEPT FOR ADULTERY, shall be regarded by the Church as lawful; and no Minister shall solemnize marriage in any case where there is a divorced wife or husband living; but this rule shall not be applied to the innocent party to a divorce for the cause of adultery, nor to divorced parties seeking to be reunited in marriage." (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church—1896)

            C.        "The Ministers of our Church shall be prohibited from solemnizing the rites of matrimony between divorced persons, except in case of innocent parties who have been divorced for THE ONE SCRIPTURAL CAUSE." (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South—1914)

            D.        "No Minister shall solemnize the marriage of a divorced person whose wife or husband is living and unmarried; but this rule shall not apply (1) to the innocent person when it is clearly established by competent testimony that the true cause for divorce was adultery OR OTHER VICIOUS CONDITIONS which through mental or physical cruelty or physical peril invalidated the marriage vow, nor (2) to the divorced persons seeking to be reunited in marriage." (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church—1940).

            E.        "In view of the seriousness with which the Scriptures and the Church regard divorce, a minister may solemnize the marriage of a divorced person only when he has satisfied himself by careful counseling that (a) the divorced person is sufficiently AWARE OF THE FACTORS LEADING TO THE FAILURE of the previous marriage, (b) the divorced person is SINCERELY SEEKING to make the proposed marriage truly Christian, and (c) SUFFICIENT TIME HAS ELAPSED for adequate preparation and counseling." (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church—1960)

            F.        "Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable, but RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT OF DIVORCED PERSONS TO REMARRY. We express our deep concern for the care and nurture of the children of divorced and/or remarried persons. We encourage that either or both of the divorced parents be considered for custody of the minor children of the marriage. We encourage an active, ACCEPTING, and enabling commitment of the church and our society to minister to the members of divorced families." (Discipline of the United Methodist Church—1984).

            G.        May we realize the importance of what God said, for it is the living and abiding word of God. It is not subject to the whims of man’s beliefs.



Examples from the “As Good as New” Bible


Mark 1:4 - “John, nicknamed ‘The Dipper,’ was ‘The Voice.’ He was in the desert, inviting people to be dipped, to show they were determined to change their ways and wanted to be forgiven.”


Mark 1:10-11 - “As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God’s spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’”


Matthew 23:25 - “Take a running jump, Holy Joes, humbugs!”


I Corinthians 7:1-2 - “Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner.”


I Corinthians 7:8-9 - “If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated.”




Methodist Teachings

on the Topic of Divorce and Remarriage from 1896 to 1984

 

"No divorce, except for adultery, shall be regarded by the Church as lawful; and no Minister shall solemnize marriage in any case where there is a divorced wife or husband living; but this rule shall not be applied to the innocent party to a divorce for the cause of adultery, nor to divorced parties seeking to be reunited in marriage."

(The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church—1896)

 

"The Ministers of our Church shall be prohibited from solemnizing the rites of matrimony between divorced persons, except in case of innocent parties who have been divorced for the one scriptural cause."

(The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South—1914)

 

"No Minister shall solemnize the marriage of a divorced person whose wife or husband is living and unmarried; but this rule shall not apply (1) to the innocent person when it is clearly established by competent testimony that the true cause for divorce was adultery or other vicious conditions which through mental or physical cruelty or physical peril invalidated the marriage vow, nor (2) to the divorced persons seeking to be reunited in marriage."

(The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church—1940).

 

"In view of the seriousness with which the Scriptures and the Church regard divorce, a minister may solemnize the marriage of a divorced person only when he has satisfied himself by careful counseling that (a) the divorced person is sufficiently aware of the factors leading to the failure of the previous marriage, (b) the divorced person is sincerely seeking to make the proposed marriage truly Christian, and (c) sufficient time has elapsed for adequate preparation and counseling."

(The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church—1960)

 

"Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable, but recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry. We express our deep concern for the care and nurture of the children of divorced and/or remarried persons. We encourage that either or both of the divorced parents be considered for custody of the minor children of the marriage. We encourage an active, accepting, and enabling commitment of the church and our society to minister to the members of divorced families."

(Discipline of the United Methodist Church—1984).