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How To Know God's Will

Monday, June 29, 2015

I am on a quest for truth... as are so many others. Upon seeking the truth, a question hit me and has continued to taunt me in my mind.

How is it that man differentiates his will apart from God’s? There is my will, and there is God's will.

I hear VERY MANY people say, "God's will for my life is to do this and that... "  Then I think, well, “If God were not part of your life, I think you would choose that same career path and life plan anyway.”

John 6:38 makes me wonder, did Jesus Himself have a will of His own apart from God’s?

Sincerely, Seeking His Will

Dear Seeking His Will,

The only way you can know God’s will is if He tells you. Many people claim to have visions from God or to ‘know in their heart that God’s will is ________’, but that is not how God communicates with us. God communicates with us through His Word (1 Cor 2:9-11). It is through hearing God’s Word that we gain an understanding of how our lives should be lived (Rom 10:17). The apostles wrote down the mystery of God’s will, so that we also can know what they knew (Eph 3:1-4). God wrote down once and for all His will for mankind in the Bible (Jude 3). The Bible contains everything that pertains to how our lives should be lived (2 Pet 1:3). The only way to know God’s will is through God’s Word – everything else is man’s opinion.

Even Jesus recognized the need to submit to God’s Word above His own. In the garden, Jesus made it clear that He did not want to die on the cross, but that He would subject His will to the Father’s (Lk 22:42). When the devil tempted Him, Jesus stated that a godly life is built upon God’s Word (Matt 4:4). Jesus Christ let God’s Word decide His future… not His own personal feelings. We must seek to imitate Christ (1 Cor 11:1). In all that we do, we must seek Bible authority. Let us go back to the Bible for our answers to all of life’s questions.

Day 129 - Ephesians 6

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

New International Version

Friday, June 26, 2015

I know the New International Version Bible is considered undesirable among the churches of Christ. What I'm wondering is... why? Are there verses in that version you believe to be translated incorrectly, altered, or just plain wrong? If so, can you name the verses in question? Thank you.

Sincerely, Textual Critic

Dear Textual Critic,

The New International Version (NIV) is designed for readability and widespread religious acceptance, not for accuracy. If you read the foreword of an NIV Bible, you will find an explanation of how they went about creating the translation. The following is an excerpt from that explanation:

The New International Version (NIV) is a translation made by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. It was conceived in 1965 when, after several years of study by committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals, a trans-denominational (emphasis mine – AYP) and international group of scholars met at Palos Heights, Illinois, and agreed on the need for a new translation in contemporary English. Their conclusion was endorsed by a large number of church leaders who met in Chicago in 1966.

One of the major goals of the NIV version was to create a translation that was acceptable to a great deal of religions- regardless of what the text said. Consequently, there are many verses left out of the NIV version. Matt 17:21, Matt 18:11, Matt 23:14, Mk 9:44, Mk 9:46, Mk 11:26, Mk 15:28, Lk 17:36, Lk 23:17, Jhn 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, and Rom 16:24 do not exist in the NIV version.

The American Standard, New American Standard, King James, and New King James are considered ‘word for word’ translations… meaning that they translate word for word what is written in the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. The NIV version is considered partially a ‘word for word’ translation and partially a ‘thought for thought’ translation. A ‘thought for thought’ translation does not attempt to keep all of what is found in the original text, but it is comfortable paraphrasing what the translators think the writers intended. This is a very dangerous proposition with the Bible. God says that every word of the Bible is divinely inspired (1 Cor 2:13, Matt 5:18). A great example of this paraphrasing is in Matt 5:44.

  • AV (word for word) reads: “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
  • NIV (thought for thought) reads: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

The NIV leaves out numerous important details from that verse because the translators deemed them ‘unnecessary’. There are literally hundreds of examples of this paraphrasing in the NIV.

The NIV also uses ambiguous synonyms for words because they thought the precise words were too archaic. The problem is that by using these synonyms, they make many verses mean very different things. Some examples are:

  • ‘Grace’ becomes ‘favor’ (Ex 34:9; Ps 84:11)
  • ‘Righteousness’ becomes ‘does what is right’ (1 Jhn 3:7)
  • ‘Believe’ becomes ‘trust’ (Jhn 14:1)
  • ‘Comforter’ becomes ‘Counselor’ (Jhn 14:16)
  • ‘Think’ becomes ‘feel’ (Php 1:7)
  • ‘Dead’ becomes ‘useless’ (Jas 2:20)

All of these details add up to a translation that is much easier to read, but no longer the exact words of God. The NIV sacrifices accuracy for popularity.

Day 128 - Ephesians 5

Thursday, June 25, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Three In One

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I would like your thoughts on taking a deeper look at the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I wonder to myself if enough emphasis is placed on Him.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - all three are one, yet at the same time They are divine individuals.

1 Cor 2:9-10 says: "Things which eye has not seen and ear not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God."

Before Jesus left this earth, He said the Comforter would come, which I believe is the Word of God. By reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.  What I am wondering is in our worship to God, it is easy to remember the Father and the Son, but do we at times take the Holy Spirit for granted, or is my perspective out of focus?

Sincerely, Emphatically Emphasizing

Dear Emphatically Emphasizing,

There is no doubt that we take the Holy Spirit for granted. We also take the Father and the Son for granted! Each of these individuals are distinct, and the easiest way to see this is at Jesus’ baptism. Jesus comes out of the water, the Father speaks from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove (Matt 3:16-17). They are one in purpose but unique in roles.

Jesus came to pay the price for sins (Matt 26:28), the Father planned and has oversight of everything (Eph 1:3-4), and the Holy Spirit revealed the plan to mankind through the Bible (Jhn 14:26, Jhn 15:26).

The problem is that we pray to the Father (Lk 11:2); we remember Christ in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:24)… but what about the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit functions in a much subtler way then either the Father or Son. Look here to see our response to a question about how the Holy Spirit works.

The following is my opinion, and so please accept it as such. The Holy Spirit is emphasized less because He wishes to be emphasized less. We assume that all of the Godhead desires to be equally worshipped and praised, but that isn’t necessarily true. The Bible (written by the Holy Spirit) seems to emphasize obedience to the Father, gratitude to the Son, and trust in the providence of the Holy Spirit. Of course, They are all worthy of obedience, gratitude, and trust. However, the emphasis seems to be placed differently upon each of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit functions more behind the scenes than either the Father or the Son, therefore I believe He wants them to receive the majority of the attention. Of course, we will know for sure when we get to heaven.

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