Category Archives: BIBLE VERSIONS AND MANUSCRIPTS

What does “under colour” mean in Acts 27:30?

WHAT DOES “UNDER COLOUR” MEAN IN ACTS 27:30?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Acts 27:30 includes a bizarre “King James expression:” “And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,….” What should we make of “under colour?” We have no need to grow angry at, vilify, or throw out the Authorized Version. All we need to do is a little study to learn something about our English Bible and our English language!

The Greek word rendered “under colour” is prophasis, appearing a total of seven times in the King James Greek New Testament. Notice the other six occurrences, how our 1611 scholars translated the term other ways:

  • Matthew 23:14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence [prophasis] make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
  • Mark 12:40: “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence [prophasis] make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”
  • Luke 20:47: “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew [prophasis] make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.”
  • John 15:22: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke [prophasis] for their sin.”
  • Philippians 1:18: “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence [prophasis], or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:5: “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke [prophasis] of covetousness; God is witness:….”

The tenor of all these passages is someone appearing to behave uprightly while in reality accomplishing a sinister goal. In other words, they put on a nice show to cover or mask their real intentions. But, what does “colour” have to do with all this? (The King James scholars were British, so they would insist we use “colour” as opposed to “color”—we will happily oblige!). 🙂

“Colour” can be used in the sense of “the hue of the light reflected (bouncing) off an object”—as in yellow, purple, green, blue, red, and so on. This meaning is absurd in the context of Acts 27:30. We should totally disregard that sense in this passage. A less common definition is “an outward often deceptive appearance.” Yet another, but related, sense is “an appearance of authenticity.” These concepts not only best agree with Acts 27:30, they also correspond to how the word appears elsewhere in the King James English Bible and King James Greek Bible.

All that said, we return to Acts 27:30 to define the word with some light commentary: “And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour [pretense—or as the King James scholars prefer, “pretence!”] as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,….” These men pretended as if they were throwing out anchors from the front of the ship, so as to stabilize and “brake” the ship before ran aground (become stranded on shore). In actuality, they were attempting to release the dinghy or lifeboat so as to escape from the larger vessel!

“[27] But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; [28] And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. [29] Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. [30] And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, [31] Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. [32] Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.”

Also see:
» What about “fetch a compass?”
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» “The Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

“Thou shalt not kill?” or “Thou shalt not murder?”

IS THE KING JAMES BIBLE IN ERROR—“THOU SHALT NOT KILL?” SHOULD THAT BE “THOU SHALT NOT MURDER” INSTEAD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

NO! … and NO!

Strangely, we find critics of the King James Bible in the most unexpected places— supposed “Christian” institutions! Ironically, they who “love and believe the Scriptures” viciously deride and pick them apart after professing to find “mistakes.” We cannot grasp the absurdity of these who proclaim to not be interested in opinions—all the while expressing their opinions as to which Bible words could be “better translated.” These preachers and teachers are allegedly “not the final authority,” but then they disparage and “correct” the Book they claim is their final authority. How they censure the unsaved for mocking and refusing to trust the Scriptures, but they themselves, touting “textual improvements,” are equally guilty of unbelief. They ridicule Bible doubters and then proceed to erode people’s faith in the Bible! Behold, the madness of sinful men!

What of the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill?” This brief study will demonstrate (once again) how the protests of the King James Bible critics are unwarranted and, quite frankly, rooted in ignorance. Before speaking evil of something they know not, they should study the English language much more than they have already—if they studied it at all. Unless they have first examined the evidence, they are not qualified to make any authoritative analyses or offer any “corrections.”

Notice the sixth of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). That word “kill” greatly troubles some people. It bothers them nonstop. Desperate to take a swipe at the King James Bible, they cannot help but complain that the word “murder” is more acceptable. The following modern English translations use “murder” here—Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Living Bible, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, New King James Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness “bible”), and The Voice.

In fact, people will argue that this verse is one reason to justify throwing out the “erroneous” King James Bible and using the “more accurate” modern versions. Were our 1611 (King James) translators mistaken in utilizing “kill” instead of “murder” in Exodus 20:13? Is that a correct evaluation of the verse?

The reason why the King James Bible says “Thou shalt not kill” is that God forbids all instances of any human taking the life of another person. “Kill” is generic but “murder” is specific. Contrary to what we hear and/or believe, they are not interchangeable! All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder. Murder is the intentional, premeditated killing of another; it involves planning, malicious thoughts beforehand. Killing, however, can be deliberate or accidental. (If you want to see how God distinguishes between murder and manslaughter, see Deuteronomy 19:4-10.) Almighty God does not condone anyone taking the life of another human (whether deliberate or accidental). Consequently, He uses that word “kill” in His Book—“Thou shalt not kill.” This prohibition goes beyond murder. (If the modern versions stand in Exodus 20:13, we can say that it is acceptable to accidentally kill another!!)

The Hebrew word (Strong’s #H7523) translated “kill” in Exodus 20:13 is “ratsach” (pronounced “raw-tsakh’”). It means “to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), especially to murder:—put to death, kill, (man-) slay(-er), murder(-er).” The word appears 47 times in 40 verses, and our King James scholars rendered it as follows: “slayer” (16 times), “murderer” (14 times), “kill” (5 times), “murder” (3 times), “slain” (3 times), “manslayer” (2 times), “killing” (1 time), “slayer” (with H310) (1 time), “slayeth” (1 time), “death” (1 time). It was rendered “kill” not only in Exodus 20:13, but (four other times) here too:

  • “And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill [ratsach] the slayer [ratsach]; he shall not be guilty of blood:…” (Numbers 35:27).
  • “That the slayer [ratsach] might flee thither, which should kill [ratsach] his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:…” (Deuteronomy 4:42).
  • “Thou shalt not kill [ratsach]” (Deuteronomy 5:17).
  • “And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed [ratsach], and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (1 Kings 21:19).

CONCLUSION

Friend, our 1611 King James translators were fully competent in the Bible languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). They were also quite knowledgeable in English. “Kill,” not “murder,” is the better word in the context of Exodus 20:13. This is the position that faith takes: the Bible is correct 100 percent of the time, and we are wrong whenever we disagree with it. The prideful, sinful human heart is offended, but so what!

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY?

The death penalty was something God instructed to be carried out by government rather than individuals (except in the case of avenging the death of a relative—see Numbers 35:27 above, for example). The Sixth Commandment forbids individuals taking the lives of others, so that does not detract from capital punishment (governmental involvement). See our related study linked below.

Also see:
» Should Christians support the death penalty?
» Which belongs in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”
» Is “excellent” a King James mistranslation in Philippians 1:10?

What about snake-handling?

WHAT ABOUT SNAKE-HANDLING?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).

Friend, have you ever heard of handling venomous serpents in religious services? As you read in the above verse, the Holy Bible indeed mentions such a practice. Yet, should we participate in it? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Situated mostly in the “Appalachian” (eastern) and southeastern United States, roughly 100 snake-handling churches exist today on the North American continent. They are usually small assemblies with a Pentecostal or Charismatic background. A special room is maintained to keep the snakes until such “ceremonies.” Some practitioners say that snake-handling demonstrates one’s faith and salvation. Others believe it is necessary for salvation. Whatever the case, they all believe the “Holy Ghost” has come upon them and is now manifesting Himself. They supposedly express their faith in a literal interpretation of the Bible by picking up serpents. (Later, we will treat the Scripture verses to which they appeal.)

Obviously, such endeavors involve great risks. “Worshippers” will pet venomous vipers, hold them, let them slither across their bodies as they dance, sing, roll on the floor, jump, and perhaps “speak in tongues.” There are dozens upon dozens of documented reports of people dying from snakebites in such religious ceremonies. These injuries do not have to be fatal, as medical treatment can be sought. However, that treatment is often refused. They believe God will get them through the pain and help them survive, or He will take their life if it is their time to go. It is better to “do the will of God,” they say, than go to a hospital and receive anti-venom. One such minister, who died some years ago, was bitten nine times before a venomous snakebite killed him. He never once received any medical help and actually lost a part of a finger—then he ultimately lost his life!

SHOULD WE FOLLOW THE BIBLE LITERALLY?

Snake-handling religionists say that they “take the Bible literally.” At first glance, it seems they are correct. But, do they really follow the Bible literally? In the ensuing pages, we aim to evaluate that claim by examining the two passages they quote to defend their practice.

Their primary proof text, of course, is Mark chapter 16: “[16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [17] And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; [18] They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Indeed, the Bible does say that the above miracles “shall” result. Notice the certainty—it is not “might” or “may,” as in maybe so and maybe not. These supernatural abilities “shall” (not “may” but “shall”) be given to “them that believe.” There is a 100% probability—no question!—that these events will occur. If we take the Bible literally, it does endorse casting out devils (evil spirits). If we interpret the Bible at face value, it does sanction speaking with new tongues (languages never formally learned). If we take the Bible at face value, giving it the literal meaning, it says people will take pick up snakes and not be harmed. If we take the Bible literally, people will drink “any deadly thing” (poison) and they should have no fear of dying. If we are believers in a literal Bible text, we know people will “lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (rather than die). What are we to do, then? Should we practice these things?

Friend, here is what we cannot do. We cannot deny the Word of God. The Bible speaks of exorcism in Mark chapter 16. It mentions speaking with “new tongues.” God’s Word says to “take up serpents.” It speaks of “drink any deadly thing” and “it shall not hurt them.” It supports physical healing—laying lands on the sick and them being cured. By this point, friend, you may find the Bible revolting. You might even want to throw it away completely! Would it surprise you then that some, to sidestep this most vexing passage, have actually argued (because they firmly believed) that Mark 16:9-20 does not belong in the Bible text? Indeed, such people exist… more than you and I realize!!

FAULTY BIBLE TEXT? OR FAULTY ASSUMPTIONS?

It is a sad commentary, but people have been trained to discard any Bible verses they do not understand. Here is an excellent case in point. Textual critics have influenced many to believe and claim that Mark 16:9-20 is not (!) inspired of God because it is “not in the two oldest and most reliable manuscripts.” Of the 600-plus surviving manuscripts that contain Mark, only two omit the passage in question—Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. How can two manuscripts overrule the testimony of 600-plus others? “Scholars” argue that those two are “the most ancient” manuscripts, preferred because they are assumed to be closer to the original writings of the Apostles. This, of course, is a faulty assumption for two reasons.

Firstly, the notion that “minority is best” is silly. If God’s intention was to use two manuscripts to preserve His Word, then why did the saints of old bother to make all the thousands of copies we presently have? Why do textual critics scrutinize 5,500-plus New Testament manuscripts when all they “need” (claim to need) are Vaticanus and Sinaiticus? By their own admission, those two manuscripts have tainted and divergent texts—and the blemishes and discrepancies are “settled” by appealing to other manuscripts. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are not as reliable as they declare!!

Secondly, “oldest is best” means that alterations to the Bible text occurred long after it was written rather than immediately after. Such a claim is utterly foolish. False prophets and false teachers were conducting “ministries” while Jesus’ Apostles preached in the first century! It would be downright absurd to assume no one corrupted the Bible text until centuries later… especially since we have verses to prove there were Bible corrupters during the days of the Apostles!

Second Thessalonians 2:2 says, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” Here is a false letter—someone forged it and pretended like Paul wrote it! Paul himself reminded us in 2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Finally, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

IF MARK 16:9-20 BELONGS IN THE BIBLE TEXT, THEN SHOULD WE PRACTICE IT? (PART I)

At this point, you sense that this author is advocating the retention (rather than the deletion) of Mark 16:9-20. We should not throw it away simply because two faulty manuscripts eliminate it. The Bible shows us that God the Holy Spirit will preserve His Word through a multiplicity of manuscript copies (Deuteronomy 17:18-20; Psalm 12:6-7; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; et cetera). We do not “re-construct” a “lost” Bible text using a few ancient manuscripts. This is where the textual critics are in their thinking, and it is nothing but human viewpoint. It is not how God views His Word, and it is not how we should understand it either.

Dear reader, maybe you think of this author as a “kook” or “nut” for claiming the bizarre passage of Mark 16:9-20 as inspired of God, genuine, and worthy of our faith as the rest of Scripture. If we keep it in the Bible, does that mean we have to practice its baptism for salvation, casting out devils, speaking with new tongues, taking up serpents, drinking any deadly thing, and laying hands on the sick for them to recover?

Let it be known that this passage is actually a “Bible buffet” like none other—a “pick-and-choose” frenzy!!! You will never find someone doing all of verses 16-18, but only snippets. Most Protestants reject the baptism for salvation, but Roman Catholics and Catholic-sympathizing Protestants enjoy verse 16. Some people like to cast out devils and speak in gibberish today in religious services (verse 17). As noted earlier, an even smaller group of church members will pick up snakes (verse 18). Who drinks the poison and survives (verse 18)? Of course, a great number will grab the end of verse 18—lay hands on the sick to heal them. Mark 16:16-20 is not this either/or situation that Christendom has made it out to be. One or two sections of the passage should not be seized; all of it goes together, and all must be taken. All of it is valid at once and it all works exactly as the verses say.

If you have been following thus far, another question has been surely prompted. “Brother Shawn, if these verses are true, then why do people die while joining in ‘faith healing,’ why do they perish from snakebites, why do they lose their lives after drinking poison? Is this not contradictory to the Bible’s declarations? Does God not care to keep His people from such evils? Did He not promise to protect believers in Jesus Christ?” Dear friend, these are wonderful questions. As Bible believers, we have no need for embarrassment or disappointment. God’s Word has the answers. If we are truly willing to look in His Book with open hearts and minds, sincere in our quest, we will be inundated with a flood of illumination. Watch and see!

“NO FAITH?”

Whenever the verses do not work like they say they will, religionists dismiss the activity and dispel the awkwardness by declaring, “The sick person died because of a lack of faith! If he had faith in God, the snakebite would not have been fatal! She should have drunk that poison believing the Lord would protect her! It was just that person’s ‘time to go!’” As you can imagine, friend, these comments are but little comfort to grieving loved ones. Furthermore, such excuses draw the mockery and ire of Bible-haters and Christ-rejecters everywhere. Their response runs along the lines of: “Look at those ignorant hillbillies believing in their book of fairytales! We are people of logic and not blind superstition! Organized religion is the enemy of progress in our society! I abandoned the Bible years ago because of such nonsense! No thank you, I can do without that ‘Jesus’ they praise and worship with snakes and poison!”

How can the average Christian respond? Other than silence, there is a weak answer. They adopt the aforementioned view of the textual critics: “That passage of Mark 16:9-20 is not inspired of God, so it was not backed by the power of God anyway.” This position, while often assumed to be the “safe” one, just undermines the authority of the Bible. It further confuses the minds of the lost people mocking the Book they already hate! To take a negative view of Holy Scripture is to agree with them. As they see it, if Mark 16:9-20 is not of God, why bother to believe ANY of the Bible is? We want to be careful here, friends. Be quite careful here. The Gospel of Grace is in jeopardy.

Mark 16:9-20 belongs in the Bible text, but that still leaves us with a problem. Suppose you take the verse of snake-handling as your own, and you have full confidence in God’s Word—“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them…” (Mark 16:18). So, you take up a rattlesnake, you let it slither on your body, and then it strikes you, sinking its fangs deep into your skin. As you collapse to the floor, the venom coursing through your veins, you cry out with your last breath, “Oh, God, You said nothing would happen! I trusted Your Word and you failed me!” You die.

Any Bible skeptics observing the above situation have all the “proof” they need (they believe) to show “God” is nothing but a figment of our imagination. Snickering, they shake their heads. “Me? Believe the Bible? Never in a million years!” For the rest of their lives, they carry the memory of this appalling experience with them. They venture out on a perpetual crusade, shouting at every Bible-believer, “Go away! What foolishness your Christianity is! Let me tell you about that snake-handling episode I witnessed….” What is saddest of all is that they have been just as deceived as the snake-handlers—confusing Christianity with religion—and now they go around confusing millions of others. More and more people grow opposed to Scripture, all because of misunderstandings.

IF MARK 16:9-20 BELONGS IN THE BIBLE TEXT, THEN SHOULD WE PRACTICE IT? (PART II)

Does the existence of a passage in God’s Word automatically necessitate that we follow it as though it is applicable to us? To wit, can we be Scriptural (follow the Bible) and not do God’s will? Indeed, friend, we can. How dangerous it is to mishandle God’s Word! If we isolate Mark 16:18, we can say, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Yes, that is what the Bible says, so now let us go do that! Hold on just a second. There is another verse we should look at first.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). Friend, God says to go and build a giant boat of gopher wood. Man did not say that—GOD said it! When are you going to follow the Bible as it reads here? If you have any common sense at all, you would say, “Brother Shawn, God did not tell me to built that boat. God told Noah to build it.” You would be right, my friend. How silly of this author to grab a verse out of context! Maybe he should have read verse 13 first? “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Yes, you are correct. This author was wrong. A Bible verse is not necessarily written to us to follow.

You ask any snake handler, faith healer, or poison drinker if they follow Genesis 6:14 and they will laugh at you. They would be justified in finding levity in the matter, too. However, they are manifesting inconsistency. They refuse to take Noah’s verse as their own but they will steal Israel’s verse! They laugh at one instance of folly yet claim another for themselves! Such is the madness of religion, dear friend, the subtlety of Satan’s policy of evil and the deception of human emotions. Not only must we use the Bible, we must also rightly divide the Bible. It is most hazardous to be Scriptural and not also be dispensational.

Whether you recognized it or not, friend, you just rightly divided the Word of Truth! Instead of trying to follow Genesis 6:14, you knew God was speaking to Noah. You understood God was not addressing you. The LORD God gave Noah some information to believe and act in accordance with, but that was God’s Word to Noah. This is a simple illustration of the heart of dispensational Bible study. Second Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” When we “rightly divide” the Bible, we recognize distinctions God has made in His Word. It is important to see that God says different things to different people at different times in history. The Bible is a progression revelation; more information is disclosed as time passes.

The most fundamental right division that God has made in His Word—and we would do extremely well to recognize it—is between prophecy and mystery. We need to compare two verses to begin to comprehend how God has set up the Holy Bible. We will look at Acts 3:21 and Romans 16:25.

Acts 3:19-21: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

This is the Apostle Peter preaching to the nation Israel. It is what the Bible calls “prophecy”—defined as that “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” When God created man and commissioned him to function on the Earth, Adam was given revelation as pertaining to God’s earthly purpose. Notice Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:….” Since man’s creation, God has endeavored to establish His kingdom on the Earth. When Adam sinned, sided with Satan (the Devil), mankind became God’s enemy. Once the nations rebelled against God at the Tower of Babel, He responded by forming the nation Israel (Genesis chapter 12). Israel is the means whereby God will have an earthly people, individuals who can then accomplish His will on the Earth.

Now, we will look at another passage of Scripture. Turning to Romans 16:25-26, we read: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

In addition to prophecy, we have something in Scripture called “the mystery.” While God was unveiling prophetic information, He was simultaneously withholding mystery information. He never told anyone that secret until a certain point in time in the Bible. In Acts chapter 9, He began to show that secret to man. This event was the salvation and commission of the Apostle Paul. Paul thus wrote Romans 16:25-26—“the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now [as in Paul’s ministry] is made manifest.”

As we already discussed, God instituted the prophetic program to concentrate on establishing His earthly kingdom. However, what about Heaven? After all, Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” There is more to creation than Earth, so what is God’s method for establishing His kingdom in the heavenly places? We know nothing about that until we come to Paul’s apostleship. In Pauline doctrine, God reveals the secret of His will—how He will gather all governmental authority in His Son Jesus Christ, not just on Earth (prophecy), but also in the Heavenly Places (mystery). Paul’s books, Romans through Philemon, speak of God’s heavenly people. This group is called the Church the Body of Christ. We would do well to read summary verses.

Ephesians 1:9-10: “[9] [Father God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”

Colossians 1:16-20: “[16] For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

As Peter addressed the nation Israel (Acts 3:19-21), so Paul addressed the Gentiles or all nations. Romans 11:13 says, “For I [Paul] speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” What happened to God’s earthly program with Israel? Will He ever bring it to fulfillment? Is it abrogated forever because Israel crucified Christ? Have we replaced Israel? What is God doing today? Paul’s ministry and writings, Romans through Philemon, provide detailed answers. We have no reason to be ignorant, and yet that is exactly where most church members are today. They have not used the Bible rightly divided, and thus split off into thousands of opposing sects, denominations, factions. Immense spiritual darkness covers their hearts and minds. It is like they have no Bible, no revelation from God, at all!

Now, let us return to our previous comments about God’s earthly kingdom. The Bible says, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). In other words, God uses miraculous demonstrations—signs and wonders—to teach Israel various and sundry lessons (doctrine). When the Lord Jesus Christ showed up in the Books of Matthew through John, His earthly ministry, He had come to convert idolatrous, deceived Israel to Father God. Jesus was Israel’s long-promised King, so the good news God had for Israel was aptly termed “the Gospel of the Kingdom.”

Matthew 3:1-2: “[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 9:35: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”

Matthew 10:5-8: “[5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [8] Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Luke 8:1: “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,….”

The common theme in the above verses is, obviously, “the Gospel of the Kingdom,” but also miracles that confirm that message being preached. To demonstrate that God’s earthly kingdom was within Israel’s grasp, the signs of that kingdom were unmistakably evident. There would be no devil possession in the earthly kingdom of God (Zechariah 13:1-2); therefore, Jesus and His Apostles cast out evil spirits. There would be no bodily illness in the earthly kingdom of God (Isaiah 35:3-6); consequently, Jesus and His Apostles performed healing miracles. These were “the powers of the world to come,” Hebrews 6:5 remarks. Such “gifts of the Holy Ghost” signified that God’s earthly kingdom, “the world to come,” was near (Hebrews 2:3-5). Israel could have entered by faith in Jesus Christ!

All this was said—and yes, this author understands, it is a lot—simply to bring us back to Mark 16:16-20. The background has been painstakingly laid (thank you for your patience, dear reader), so now we can notice and better understand the context of the passage under consideration. Verse 15 is the context, so we need to begin there. Jumping in at verse 16, 17, or 18 is completely unwise!!

Mark 16:15-20: “[15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. [16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [17] And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; [18] They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. [19] So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. [20] And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Verse 15 introduces this whole section as involving the preaching of “the gospel.” What is that Gospel message? Is it the Gospel of Grace that we preach today, as commonly assumed? No! Just days earlier, the Lord Jesus spoke of this gospel of the kingdom” in Matthew 24:14—“this” is a highly important word. The signs and wonders of Mark chapter 16 do not apply to our Gospel. It applies to “the gospel of the kingdom”—if, if, and I know that is a big if!!!—we believe the Bible instead of blindly following religious tradition. Look at the close of Mark chapter 16: “[20] And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Does this not sound like what we were just discussing about validating the Gospel of the Kingdom? Indeed, it does! Do you see, friend, how the Bible just flows together so beautifully when we rightly divide it, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and keep religious tomfoolery and church tradition out of it?

Some argue that there is not one instance of snake-handling in Scripture (this, other than their “oldest is best” textual argument previously mentioned, is their “strongest” reason for rejecting Mark 16:18). While it is true that no Apostles ever took up venomous serpents to “worship God,” there is an interesting account in the Bible of a deadly viper attacking Paul and it not harming him. This is the second proof text of today’s snake-handling crowd, so it behooves us to examine it now.

Acts chapter 28: “[1] And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. [2] And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. [3] And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. [4] And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. [5] And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. [6] Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”

It may help if you re-read that lengthy excerpt, dear friend. What was Paul doing? Was he handling snakes while singing hymns and dancing around that campfire? Of course not! He was gathering wood for the fire, and, without warning, a snake lashed out at him and bit him. This is certainly not like the serpent-handling of modern religion. Paul was not playing around with snakes to “praise God.” He was not seeking injury or deliberately attempting to put himself in harm’s way as fools do in religion today. Now, that may sound harsh, but it must be said. Today’s snake-handling is just plain foolishness.

There is no one operating in faith with snake-handling today. It is not the God of the Bible working. The Spirit of God will only do what the Word of God says, and the Word of God says the Holy Spirit is not doing this today. Such abilities have no relation to us the Church the Body of Christ. We are not waiting for the earthly kingdom of God. We are not looking for the signs of the coming kingdom on Earth. We are not preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Hence, we never read in Paul’s epistles (Romans through Philemon) about laying hands on the sick, casting out devils, and picking up venomous serpents. They are signs of Israel’s kingdom program, and that program is temporarily suspended while God is dealing with us in the Dispensation of Grace. Read Romans chapters 9-11 for all the details. Also see our “Can you explain Paul’s ‘Acts’ ministry?” article linked at the end of this study.)

So, you probably want to ask another question: “Brother Shawn, what is the explanation for what snake-handlers are doing today? If it is not God the Holy Spirit, then who or what is behind such a practice?” Such people feel an adrenaline rush, an emotional high, and they misinterpret it as the Holy Spirit of God coming upon them. “His presence” is actually nothing but deceptive emotions completely out of control! We naturally fear wild and dangerous creatures, and our bodies react by producing adrenaline (which “stirs us up” to fight or take flight!). Moreover, religion can have an extremely powerful influence over our hearts and minds, just as alcoholic beverages (Revelation 17:2). Therefore, we have to constantly (daily) stay in the Bible rightly divided. It guards our minds and hearts against Satan’s policy of evil. Do not forget, you can follow God’s Word and be completely out of God’s will. Not only do we use and quote the Bible, we use and quote the Bible rightly divided!

In addition, here is something else to consider about Acts chapter 28. Notice how the Holy Spirit is careful to write in verse 6 that there was not so much as swelling on Paul’s body. Not only did he not die, there was absolutely no indication he was even bitten!! He did not cry out in pain or fall to the ground. You look at snake-handling religionists’ bodies today, friend, and you see various scars. Some have permanent bodily impairment—missing or deformed fingers, limited hand dexterity, and so on. (And, of course, you can find them in the cemetery as well!!) They speak of suffering “excruciating” pain. One such minister claimed he hoped to never die in such a horrible manner. He eventually died from… of all things… a fatal snakebite!

Okay, so we understand that Mark chapter 16 is indeed God’s Word, but it is not God’s Word to or about us. What do we do now? Is there any hope in understanding this mysterious passage as it relates to Israel’s program? Will anyone ever successfully/safely practice the snake-handling passage of the Bible? Yes! (Just not us, and just not today!)

IF MARK 16:9-20 BELONGS IN ISRAEL’S PROGRAM, THEN WHAT PURPOSE IS THERE OF SNAKE-HANDLING?

The operating system of Israel’s program is the Mosaic Law (also called the Old Covenant). If Israel disobeyed God’s Word, she would be punished. He would use hardship to try to correct her misbehavior. Leviticus chapter 26 details those curses or chastisements. Notice: “[21] And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. [22] I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. [23] And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; [24] Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.”

Did you catch verse 22? What will the LORD God do to rebellious Israel? Will He not send wild animals to attack and kill them? Yes, He will. As an illustration, read 2 Kings chapter 2: “[23] And he [Elisha the Prophet] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. [24] And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. [25] And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.” These young people mocked JEHOVAH God’s messenger, and so the LORD God introduced a new phase of intensified judgment (the chastisement phase described in Leviticus 26:22).

Numbers chapter 21 speaks of God judging Israel for her unbelief and wickedness: “[5] And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. [6] And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. [7] Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. [8] And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. [9] And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Paul’s commentary in 1 Corinthians 10:9 summarizes—“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.”)

Before the Lord Jesus Christ ever spoke of those serpents in Mark chapter 16, God had already judged Israel with wild beasts—including venomous snakes. He used His creation, the animal kingdom, to punish the faithless, idolatrous Jews. Notice now Jeremiah 8:17: “For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.” Remember, God sent literal snakes to kill rebels amongst the Jews in Moses’ day, and Jeremiah says it will happen once more.

As we look beyond our Dispensation of Grace, friend, to when Israel’s program resumes, God must finish Israel’s stages of punishment. The curses of Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28 will be brought to the full, and then God will cause all these times of suffering to disappear with the Second Coming of Christ. Israel, believing Israel, will be blessed of God as they enter His earthly kingdom. Unbelievers will be consumed in His wrath, but Israel’s believing remnant will survive!

The Apostle John provides the final piece of the “snake-handling” puzzle. We read in chapter 6 of the Book of the Revelation, yet future from us: “[7] And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. [8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Notice the wild beasts are consuming humans like never before. Unbelievers will perish. However, believing Israel will physically survive because God has promised them victory over serpents (and, by extension, all harmful creatures). Mark 16:15-20 is part of the Divine commission that Israel will follow in the end-times. Friend, it has nothing to do with us! Remember, dispensational Bible study! Notice the audience of the passage before you claim the passage as your own!! This is taking the Bible literally!

By the way, before we summarize and conclude, let us listen to Exodus chapter 4: “[1] And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. [2] And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. [3] And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. [4] And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: [5] That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.”

Snake-handling was one of the signs the LORD God gave Moses the ability to perform to convince unbelieving Israel. If you continue reading the passage, the second was the miracle of physical healing (verses 6-7—another Israeli kingdom sign, remember!!). Snake-handling symbolizes spiritual deliverance, exorcism (casting out devils—Satan is a snake or deceitful being in character, as Genesis 3:1, 2 Corinthians 11:3, and Revelation 20:2 show). No matter what Satan would do, God would ultimately deliver Israel from Satan’s grip. This was the purpose of Moses’ snake swallowing up the snakes Egypt’s satanic magicians had “conjured” (Exodus 7:10-13). Israel will have similar victory in the end-times, freedom from Satan’s control. The snake will harm the unbelievers, but Israel’s believing remnant will survive!

CONCLUSION

Particularly in the southeastern United States, one will discover small religious groups that participate in snake-handling ceremonies. Why this extreme behavior? Is it Scriptural to handle venomous vipers with the understanding that they will not harm us? What are we to believe if deadly snakes do strike and kill Christians?

If you follow religious news, you will occasionally find an article about an individual who has died at church because of a snakebite. This person was said to be “weak in faith.” Had he or she believed God when holding the snake, the snake would not have bitten. While we should certainly take the Bible literally—as we do any book, right?—there is a second key to keep in mind when approaching the Scriptures. We have to be very careful to look at contexts. If we take the Bible literally when it endorses snake-handling, should we not also take it literally when it says such a practice is not given to or about us members of the Church the Body of Christ?! We cannot claim a passage in “faith” when faith is also believing the passage when it says we are not its audience! Mark 16:15-20 is all about the Gospel of the Kingdom; it has absolutely nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Israel during the end-times.

First Corinthians chapter 14: “[37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [38] But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” In snake-handling circles, “the Holy Ghost takes control of them.” It is all about “feelings.” Yet, if the Holy Spirit were truly leading them, they would listen to these verses that the Holy Spirit penned! Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), and God through him commands us no such things about handling snakes, drinking poison, healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, water baptizing, and so on.

The test for spirituality today in this the Dispensation of Grace is not whether or not one handles venomous snakes, speaks in tongues, drinks poison, heals the sick, raises the dead, or even keeps the Saturday Sabbath. According to the Holy Spirit (see verses above), spirituality today is measured according to whether or not an individual pays attention to Pauline revelation. The Lord Jesus Christ committed to Paul the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1-2), so it naturally follows that the Spirit of God would lead us to listen to the words He spoke to us in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Again, there is nothing in Pauline revelation about taking up venomous snakes. Such instructions have a special place on the Bible timeline (future from us). When we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we recognize that those directions do not apply to our time. Friend, right division is literally a life-or-death situation in this case. Playing with harmful snakes may be fatal… and we will die such a painful death while quoting Scripture!!

Also see:
» Does Mark 16:18 teach that chemotherapy will not harm us?
» Should I speak in tongues?
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?

Did Jesus ever claim to be God?

DID JESUS EVER CLAIM TO BE GOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Skeptics of the true and full Deity of Jesus Christ argue that He never claimed to be God. Can we substantiate or refute their accusations? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Concerning His temptations, we read in Matthew 4:5-7: “[5] Then the devil taketh him [Jesus Christ] up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, [6] And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” It is interesting that, in verse 7, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16—with “Lord” synonymous with “LORD”/“JEHOVAH.” In other words, Jesus used the warning about tempting JEHOVAH God and told Satan he should not tempt Him. Why? He was JEHOVAH God in human flesh. The Lord Jesus took a passage about God and applied it to Himself. Jesus thought He was JEHOVAH God and He claimed He was JEHOVAH God. (See parallel, Luke 4:9-12.)

Matthew 9:2 reports: “And, behold, they brought to him [Jesus Christ] a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” “This man blasphemeth,” the audience said in verse 3. “Who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7). Who alone can forgive sins? According to the witnesses, Jesus said He was God by forgiving the man’s sins.

Christ Jesus declared in Matthew 12:8, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” (See the parallel verse, Mark 2:28.) The Sabbath Day honored JEHOVAH God (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus Christ claimed that He was “Lord even of the sabbath day.” Who did Jesus believe He was? JEHOVAH God!

Turning to Matthew chapter 19: “[16] And, behold, one came and said unto him [Jesus Christ], Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (See the parallel passage, Mark 10:17-19.) This man approached Jesus and addressed Him as, “Good Master.” Jesus inquired why he called Him “good,” seeing as to “there is none good but one, that is, God.” In other words, Jesus asked, “Are you calling Me ‘God?’” (This truth is obscured in modern English translations. Here is one of many reasons why we use the King James Bible!)

After Israel’s religious leaders unsuccessfully attempted thrice to trap Jesus in His words, He offered them a spiritual riddle (which they could not answer). Matthew chapter 22: “[41] While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, [42] Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. [43] He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, [44] The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? [45] If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? [46] And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (See parallels, Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44.) The only way Jesus could be both “Lord” of David and “son” of David is if He were fully God (“Lord”) and fully Man (“son of David”). Of course, the unsaved religious leaders had the Old Testament Scriptures but no spiritual enlightenment because they chose to be ignorant.

Now, we get to the strongest passages on this subject. Matthew 26:63-66 is our first: “[63] But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. [64] Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. [65] Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. [66] What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.” (See parallels, Mark 14:61-64 and Luke 22:66-71.)

While various denominationalists vehemently reject the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, they still have these verses in their Bible versions (and they cannot deny it!). During Jesus’ trial, the high priest commanded Him to declare once and for all if He was “the Christ, the Son of God” (verse 63). Jesus replied, “Thou hast said” (verse 64)—paraphrased, “You have said it!” Still, Jesus added: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (verse 64). The high priest was immediately outraged: he tore his garments and twice pronounced a charge, “Blasphemy!”

Evidently, what flustered the high priest was not so much Jesus’ reply “Thou hast said.” No, what deeply rattled him was that Jesus took it a step further: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” The Lord did not have to say, “I am the Son of God,” to be accused of blasphemy. No, He merely had to declare, “You will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” “Sitting on the right hand of power” was surely Messianic, as Psalm 110:1 predicted many centuries earlier that Christ would sit at the LORD’s right hand. Moreover, the “coming in the clouds of heaven” was especially inflammatory, as the high priest recalled Psalm 68:4: “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH [JEHOVAH], and rejoice before him.”

It would be downright preposterous to say that Jesus never claimed to be God Himself. After all, Israel’s religious accused Him of blasphemy and purposed to put Him to death (see Leviticus 24:11-16)! They assumed He was making Himself to be God—otherwise they would not have bothered to execute Him!

Mark 11:17 reports: “And he [Jesus] taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” The Jerusalem Temple, Jesus said, was my house.” In John 2:16, He said of the same Temple: “And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” The Temple was both Jesus’ Temple and His Father’s Temple. Who was Jesus claiming to be, then? On whose behalf was He speaking?

On to John 5:17-18: “[17] But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. [18] Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” Why do they want to take the life of Jesus? See, the unbelieving Jews are well aware of whom He declares to be. There is nothing difficult for them to understand, and if we let the verses speak (without wearing our denominational eyeglasses), we will see them for what they really say as well.

We read in John 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Here is an interesting form of the verb “to be.” Jesus did not say, “Before Abraham was, I was.” No, He said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Why did He say it this specific way? Notice the cross-reference, Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” This was JEHOVAH God speaking to Moses, and JEHOVAH said His name was, “I AM THAT I AM,” or the shortened form, “I AM.” John 8:58 is Jesus claiming to be the JEHOVAH God of Exodus 3:14! (By the way, the “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation says in John 8:58, “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.” Furthermore, there is no Exodus 3:14 marginal reference—they know exactly what Jesus said, but they hide this truth from their readers and members so as to uphold their theological traditions.)

After Jesus healed the blind man, John 9:35-38 says: “[35] Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? [36] He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? [37] And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. [38] And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” How could Jesus be a servant of the God of the Bible if He allowed someone to worship Him? Apparently, He assumed He deserved that worship. He believed He was the God of creation! (Compare Acts 10:25-26 and Revelation 19:10.) By the way, the 1901 American Standard Version has a footnote here that asserts Jesus was nothing but a mere “creature” and not at all the “Creator!” Friends, you cannot get more blasphemous than these “Bible translators!!!”

While Jesus walked in the Temple, He had an interesting conversation with unbelieving Israel in John 10:29-33: “[29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. [30] I and my Father are one. [31] Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? [33] The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

The cults emphasize verse 29—“Jesus said His Father is ‘greater than all,’ meaning Jesus is not God!” Yet, they deliberately skip verse 30 for obvious reasons—“I and my Father are one.” Both Jesus and Father God are one in Deity: both are fully God. How do we know this is what Jesus meant? Why, we read verses 31-33. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Who did they believe Jesus claimed to be? (Years ago, I spoke with a friend brainwashed in a Deity-of-Christ-denying cult. His face turned red and he grew quite angry when his whole argument centered on verse 29 was demolished after I had him read verses 30 and 33!!! He refused to discuss the matter any further, and I politely left his presence. That was the last time we spoke in-person about Scripture.)

We read in John 19:6-7, at Jesus’ trial before Judaean Governor Pontius Pilate: “[6] When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. [7] The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (See Leviticus 24:11-16.) The only way they could justly put Jesus to death is if He had professed to be Deity! This is right along the lines of John 10:29-33 and John 5:17-18 (already discussed).

John 20:28 is our last Deity verse of Christ’s earthly ministry: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” If Jesus were not God, then why did He allow Thomas to apply such titles to Him? Jesus should have said, “Thomas, do not called Me ‘my Lord’ and ‘my God.’ I am but a Man, and not God.” Why did Jesus not rebuke Thomas? Thomas’ words were warranted, highly appropriate; they needed no criticism! The “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” still endeavoring to maintain their church tradition, answers by arguing that Thomas uttered an expression of amazement. In other words, “O wow, O Lord, O God, Jesus, You really are alive! It actually is You!” This is a flimsy and wanting interpretation, as Thomas would have then been guilty of taking JEHOVAH’S name in vain (Exodus 20:7). Thomas would be worthy of death! There is no way Jesus would have let someone use God’s name so flippantly. It is for this reason that we reject the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” here as well.

“Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Also see:
» “No man hath seen God at any time?”
» Why did Jesus say, “My God, my God?”
» Does it matter what Bible version I use?

Who is the wounded man of Zechariah 13:6?

WHO IS THE WOUNDED MAN OF ZECHARIAH 13:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Zechariah 13:6 is one of the most debated verses in the Book of Zechariah: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Some Bible teachers suggest that this “wounded” man is the Messiah (Jesus Christ). However, most commentators claim that it applies to the false prophet of the earlier verses. Can we shed some light on the subject by looking at the context?

“[3] And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. [4] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: [5] But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.”

The man in verse 6 has wounds in his hands, which he claims he received “in the house of my friends.” Although it is argued that the false prophet was wounded in his pagan religion mutilation practices, this explanation for the wounds seems unlikely. At this author sees it, it does not appear to fit verses 3-5. What makes people—including this author—believe that Zechariah 13:6 refers to Jesus Christ?

The Prophet Zechariah had already stated in chapter 12, verse 10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Israel is converted nationally after seeing Him with His identifying wounds. The Apostle John quotes the verse in Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

John and Zechariah point back to what King David wrote centuries earlier in Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” In John 19:37, we read of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion: “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10 applies not only to the Second Coming, but also the First Coming (Calvary).

It is better to make Zechariah 13:6 refer to Jesus Christ. It really makes no sense for a false prophet to be wounded in his hands—especially in the house of his friends (whatever that would mean?!). However, we know that Jesus Christ was wounded in His hands. Notice what the Apostle John reported.

John 20:24-28: “[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. [26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. [27] Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27 quote this to pertain to Jesus Christ. Hence, Zechariah 13:6 likely points to Messiah as well. The false prophets would be in verses 3-5, but Messiah would be in verses 6-7. It is this author’s personal belief that verse 6 should not be paired with verse 5 but with verse 7. Zechariah 12:10 is one verse about Messiah’s Second Coming and Zechariah 13:6 is another. In between, we have a parenthetical passage (12:11–13:5).

Let us now hear from an opposing view. One commentator says the following: “Considerable discussion also surrounds the identity of the individual who possessed ‘wounds between your arms’ (13:6). Some have identified him with Christ, the wounds supposedly referring to His crucifixion. But Christ could neither have denied that He was a prophet, nor could He have claimed that He was a farmer, or that He was wounded in the house of His friends. Obviously, it is a reference to a false prophet (cf. vv. 4,5) who was wounded in his idolatrous worship. The zeal for the Lord will be so great in the kingdom of Messiah that idolaters will make every attempt to hide their true identity, but their scars will be the telltale evidence of their iniquity.”

We agree with the above quote that Christ would not deny Himself to be a prophet, or claim to be a farmer. However, Christ is not speaking in verses 3-5 anyway. He is speaking in verse 6. That is, the words spoken in verses 3-5 do not automatically disqualify Messiah from speaking in verse 6. We can have a change in speakers between verse 5 and verse 6, and this author believes that to be the case.

The same expositor later wrote: “The phrase [NKJV—wounds between your arms] cannot refer to Messiah, but it is a continuation of the false prophet’s behavior in vv. 4,5. When the false prophet denies any association with pagan practices, others will challenge him to explain the suspicious wounds on his body. False prophets would cut themselves to arouse prophetic ecstasy in idolatrous rites (Lev. 19:28; Deu. 14:1; 1 Ki. 18:28; Jer. 16:6; 48:37), but they will claim the scars represent some attack they suffered from friends.”

Again, although bringing to light some useful insight, this author thinks that the commentator is wrong in suggesting Jesus Christ could not say that He was wounded in the house of friends. The Lord Jesus Christ most definitely could claim that. He came to His own people, the nation Israel, but they did not receive Him. The culmination of their rejection of Him was when they crucified Him on Calvary’s cross. This crucifixion would be the source of the wounds in His hands. The Jews of all people should have accepted Him, for their Hebrew Bible had predicted His coming for many centuries. He was the fulfillment of their Abrhamic Covenant. Alas, they were willing to turn Him over to the pagan Gentiles for a most brutal execution. Read these sermons spoken to Israel during early Acts. This is the Holy Spirit condemning unsaved Israel for not only wounding but actually killing God’s Son!

Acts 2:22-24: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

Acts 3:13-18: “[13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Acts 5:29-31: “[29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. [30] The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [31] Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 7:51-53: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE MODERN BIBLE VERSIONS ONLY OBSCURE TRUTH AND ADD TO THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:6 is totally misconstrued in modern English Bible versions—only making the discussion more confusing. The following (eye-opening!!) sampling of excerpts from popular contemporary translations demonstrates just how dangerous and mystified modern Bible scholarship is. There are great variations of this one verse. It would be downright hilarious, except it is a most serious matter. The precious Word of God has been brutally butchered and—in this author’s view—His only begotten Son has been blasphemed and mocked.

The two most perverted modern English Bible renderings of Zechariah 13:6 will be read first.

The Living Bible: “And if someone asks, ‘Then what are these scars on your chest and your back?’ he will say, ‘I got into a brawl at the home of a friend!’” (Whoever it is, he was fighting and got injured!! Forget trying to put Jesus Christ in this verse—and even the mutilated false prophet with his graphic rituals would not fit here!!)

The Message: “And if someone says, ‘And so where did you get that black eye?’ they’ll say, ‘I ran into a door at a friend’s house.’” (Preposterous!! The man got a black eye after running into a door?!?!?! Stupid!! Nothing of the sort is implied in the Hebrew!!! And, to think this is marketed and purchased under the guise of it being a “Bible!!”)

Wounded (general) — Contemporary English Version: “And if any of them are asked why they are wounded, they will answer, ‘It happened at the house of some friends.’” (Where are the wounds located on the body?! We are not told.)

Wounds in the midst of thy handsDouay-Rheims Catholic Bible 1899: “And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.”

Scars on your chestGod’s Word translation: “When someone asks him, ‘What are these scars on your chest?’ he will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Deep cuts on your bodyNew Century Version: “But someone will ask, ‘What are the deep cuts on your body?’ And each will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Wounds on your bodyNew International Version: “If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’”

Wounds between your armsNew King James Version: “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” (New American Standard Bible and American Standard Version agree.)

Wounds on your chestNew Revised Standard Version: “And if anyone asks them, “What are these wounds on your chest?” the answer will be “The wounds I received in the house of my friends.” (New Living Translation, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New English Translation agree.)

Wounds on your backRevised Standard Version: “And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” (English Standard Version agrees.)

Ritual wounds on your chest and backThe Voice translation: “And if anyone happens to say, ‘How did you get these ritual wounds on your chest and back?’ then the answer will come back—another deception—‘Oh, I received these at my friend’s house.’” (Notice how the translators added an interpretation—the word “ritual” without manuscript support!)

Wounds between your handsNew World Translation (“Jehovah’s Witness” “bible”): “And one must say to him, ‘What are these wounds [on your person] between your hands?’ And he will have to say, ‘Those with which I was struck in the house of my intense lovers.’”

Also see:
» Who are the “three shepherds” of Zechariah 11:8?
» Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

WHICH BELONGS IN ROMANS 8:16 AND ROMANS 8:26 IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE—“THE SPIRIT ITSELF” OR “THE SPIRIT HIMSELF?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Notice the following verses as they appear in the Authorized Version King James Bible. Romans 8:16 reads: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:….” And, verse 26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” 

Textual critics and their followers fault the King James Bible because it uses the pronoun “itself” when referring to God the Holy Spirit. As you can see, it was surely not a mistake because the word appears twice. Why did our 1611 translators use this pronoun instead of employing the term “Himself?” Did they not regard the Holy Spirit as a Person? Were they denying the Deity of the Holy Spirit? Let us investigate!

Usually, when people criticize the King James Bible and offer some “better translation” or “better reading,” they are not qualified to make such a determination. I know because I used to be one of those people. Ignorant of Bible history, ignorant of Bible languages, and ignorant of sound Bible doctrine, I too was a detractor of the King James Bible. What caused me to change my position?

Firstly, instead of questioning my Bible, I decided to quit playing the hypocrite. If I claimed to be a “Bible believer” then I had better believe the Bible. I stopped being a Bible doubter and turned into a Bible believer. Do not misunderstand me; I had trusted Jesus Christ alone as my personal Saviour many years earlier. However, during that time, I had been taught that the King James Bible had mistakes and that I could not trust it 100 percent. Nevertheless, one day, I determined that if the King James Bible was trustworthy enough for me to depend on its Gospel of Grace as means of my getting into Heaven, then surely the rest of it was also true and worthy of my faith. If I could rely on its testimony for the major issue (justification unto eternal life), then why not believe the rest of its words?

Secondly, I quit repeating what others said about the Bible versions issue and started doing firsthand research for many years. I read up on world history, church history, and Bible history. I compared various Bible versions (in English and Greek). The more I studied, the more I realized the less I had been told all those years prior. While many had downplayed it as petty, I came to understand the Bible versions issue to be one of the most important matters in life. After justification and salvation unto eternal life in Christ, the Bible versions debate is the second most critical issue. The third is dispensational Bible study (which time and space, unfortunately, do not allow us to discuss here).

Now, we reread Romans 8:16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:….” And, verse 26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The King James Bible is criticized for having “the Spirit itself… the Spirit itselfsince nearly all modern English versions say “the Spirit Himself…. the Spirit Himself” (including the New King James Version). To avoid controversy altogether, some versions will say “that very Spirit,” “the same Spirit,” or “God’s Spirit.” (Cleverly, they use neither “itself” nor “himself.”)

Notice the following classic anti-KJV rant as it pertains to this issue: “The King James translators did not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit. They called Him an ‘it.’ The word should be ‘Himself’ rather than ‘itself!’ The Holy Spirit is a ‘Him’ and not an ‘it!’” Some have even gone so far as to change the King James text when reading it aloud. One Bible commentator, for example, when writing about Romans 8:16, actually removed “itself” entirely and replaced it with a bracketed “Himself.” This is not an isolated incident. Many do it, which only further plays into the confusion.

The above careless handling of the Scriptures is the result of nothing more than laziness on the faultfinder’s part. He likely does not view this as an opportunity to make the truth clearer; he, in his sinful mind, sees it as a chance to sit in judgment of God’s Holy Word and take its place as the final authority. After all, the man has been taught to have an anti-King-James-Bible position at his seminary, Bible College, university, local church, Bible class, and so on. He has learned from so many that the King James Bible and its underlying Greek text is “marred with mistakes.” This brainwashing has caused him to imagine an error everywhere he looks in the Authorized Version. God needs his education to “fix” or “improve” the Bible. He cannot turn one page of the Authorized Version without making that damnable critical remark, “This is a poor translation… the ‘oldest and best’ manuscripts read, blah, blah, blah….” It is sad, but it is true. Long ago, I was there, my friends. Never do I want to return to such pathetic spiritual ignorance!

When a preacher or theologian complains “itself” should be “Himself,” the average Bible reader automatically shouts, “Amen!” After all, the speaker went to seminary for many years. They should be able to tell us “just what God meant in His Word,” right? Well, just remember, not everyone who stands in the pulpit with a Bible is a servant of the God of the Bible. Not everyone who names the name of Jesus Christ is a servant of Jesus Christ. Not everyone who reads Greek and Hebrew believes the Bible text in Greek and Hebrew! (The same could be said of English-speaking people and the English Bible!) No one will bother to research why “itself” appears where it does in the Bible text… but we will. We want answers, and we are determined to find them!

So, why did our 1611 translators write “itself” twice? Here is how the Textus Receptus, the Greek text underlying the King James Bible New Testament, reads at the problematic points of Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26:

Greek — Aτ τ πνεμαατ τ πνεμα
Transliteration — auto to pneumaauto to pneuma
Translation — itself the Spirit … itself the Spirit

Auto” must be rendered “itself” and not “himself” because “spirit” is a neuter noun (neither masculine nor feminine). You cannot have a male emphatic pronoun (“himself”) modify the neuter noun “pneuma,” and neither can you have a female emphatic pronoun (“herself”) modify the neuter pronoun “pneuma.” To be faithful to the Greek language of the New Testament, you must translate it as, “the Spirit itself.” (Since English and Greek are structured differently, we have to rearrange the words for the English to make sense—“itself the Spirit” in the Greek order is correctly read in English as, “the Spirit itself.”) The King James Bible is true to Greek here; you cannot say this about modern English versions. Contemporary translators altered the Bible text just to make it easy reading; of course, they did violence to Scripture in not adequately carrying the Greek thought.

The Holy Spirit is certainly a Person, but we do not need to violate the Greek Bible in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 to prove it. For example, the Holy Spirit is said to be God in Acts 5:3-4. The Holy Spirit has the ability to know information and teach with words, so He must be a Person rather than some inanimate force (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). The Holy Spirit is said to “dwell,” or live, within the Christian that is His “temple” (2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Corinthians 6:19). The Holy Spirit can speak and warn, as 1 Timothy 4:1 and Acts 28:25 say. The Holy Spirit can be “grieved,” or saddened, which certainly means He is a Person because only a rational Being has emotions (Ephesians 4:30). We could go on and on with dozens of other verses, but these are enough to prove that the King James Bible translators believed in the Deity and Person of the Holy Spirit. They were also superb Greek, Hebrew, and English scholars. Above all, they let that Holy Spirit use them in a mighty way. Now, we can benefit because we have their Holy Bible. Beloved, may we never get that critical, ungrateful, conceited, pessimistic attitude that so many anti-KJV people suffer from today.

CONCLUSION

Dear friends, we see that our King James Bible translators had a valid linguistic reason for handling Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 the way they did. They are unfairly criticized here (as in numerous other places).

“Spirit” in Greek (pneuma) is neuter, without gender; “itself” (auto) also being genderless, is the proper pronoun to modify “Spirit.” “Spirit itself”not “Spirit Himself”—is the correct reading in both verses. There is no mistranslation… except in the modern versions! The next time you hear someone complaining about “the Spirit itself” in the King James Bible as being wrong, just remember to write that individual off as ill-informed. Maybe they just do not know any better; or, perhaps they are willfully ignorant. Whatever the case, they are wrong. They do not have a clue about how the Greek language works and how our 1611 translators knew the Greek language more than they and all their “theological heroes” will ever know.

Here is indisputable proof of how English-speaking people have been trained to attack our King James Bible, the English Bible, in extremely unfair ways. May we guard against the Adversary’s subtle attacks of always trying to question God’s Word (Genesis 3:1)!

Also see:
» Is “excellent” a King James mistranslation in Philippians 1:10?
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?

What verse says the Bible is without error?

WHAT VERSE SAYS THE BIBLE IS WITHOUT ERROR?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Is the Bible without error? Where in the Bible can I find the Scriptures to back the statement that the Bible is without error?”

Thank you for that Bible question! First and foremost, it should be noted that we are not looking for a verse that explicitly says, “The Bible is without error.” That is not how we study the Bible or use the Scriptures to establish facts. But, there are Bible verses that cause us to believe the Bible is indeed without error, fully authoritative and entirely trustworthy. People do not like those verses; yea, they even wish those verses were not there. Nevertheless, those verses are there, and we will look at them in this study.

Consider the following:

  1. The Bible claims to be the Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation… Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).
  2. The Bible says, “God cannot lie” (Titus 1:2) and “it [is] impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
  3. The Bible claims to be God’s inspired Word, and it says God cannot Therefore, the Bible cannot teach lies. The Bible does not have mistakes. It has been said, “A man is only as good as his word.” To say that the Bible has errors means that God is not really much of a God.

Let us look at other verses. For example, consider Proverbs 30:5-6: “[5] Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. [6] Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” The Bible says “every word of God is pure.” The Bible is true. When we add to those pure words, we lie and we make the Bible a lie.

Now, Psalm 12:6-7: “[6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. [7] Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” The Bible says, “the words of the LORD are pure words.” “Pure” means “free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates.” Those preserved words of God are guarded against corruption or contamination. Psalm 119:140 says, “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” As one refines a precious metal to remove all impurities, so God’s Word is void of error and deception. The Holy Spirit has preserved it to be thus even today.

Let us look at Psalm 19:7-9: “[7] The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. [8] The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. [9] The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” God’s Word is “perfect,” “sure” (reliable), “right” (correct), “pure” (uncontaminated), “clean,” and “true and righteous altogether.” This is hardly the language of a Book filled with errors.

We read where the Bible is called the “scripture of truth” (Daniel 10:21) or the “word of truth.” If the Bible contains errors, then it could not be called the “truth,” could it? Notice:

  • Psalm 119:43: “And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
  • James 1:18: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
  • The Psalmist wrote, “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalm 119:30).
  • Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160).
  • Jesus Christ prayed to His Father, God, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth(John 17:17). If the Bible is “truth,” and Jesus said it was, could it contain errors? Of course not!

According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” God put that profit in His Word in order for “the man of God … [to] be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Scriptures contain everything God wants us to know so that we may do everything He wants us to do. If the Bible has mistakes, then that means God withheld some information, or that He was negligent in ensuring we received all the correct information He originally revealed. Could a Bible with mistakes “throughly furnish [equip]” us? No. The Bible would be lacking some information, or it would contain distorted information, and either deficiency would thus disrupt our Christian lives. The assumption is that the Bible is so reliable that you can base your life upon it!

The Bible had better not have mistakes. Remember, a lost person who believes the Gospel of the Grace of God found in the Bible—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)—is basing his or her destiny on a Book that better not have mistakes! A mistake in the Bible may very well literally mean the difference between Heaven and Hell!

Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” If we as Christians follow the Bible, the Word of God (and that rightly divided), that will guard us from committing sin. The assumption is that the Bible is true, for if it had errors, then we (following those errors) would commit sin. Psalm 119:11 indicates that the Bible must be true; otherwise, it is of no use to us in avoiding error.

According to Scripture, it is the standard whereby we gauge truth from error, sound teaching from false teaching. The Bible can save us from deception, Satan’s lie program. No book riddled with errors could deliver us from lies. Notice:

  • Isaiah 8:19-20: “[19] And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [20] To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
  • 1 Timothy 4:13-16: “[13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. [14] Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. [15] Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:13-17: “[13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:2-4: “[2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

How can you use an error-filled book to distinguish between truth and error? It does not make sense, my friend. The assumption of the Bible writers is that the Bible is true, true to the extent that it can be used to discern fact from fiction. If we are people of faith, we will simply share their attitude. The Holy Bible is our final authority.

In Luke 4:16-21, the Lord Jesus read from the Book of Isaiah (part of the Bible). Would Jesus have read from a Book riddled with mistakes? Evidently, Jesus thought there was a fully reliable, trustworthy Bible Book in His day. Psalm 138:2 says God “has magnified his word above all [his] name.” Would God exalt a Book with mistakes? Would He ever say that an error-filled book was “greater” than His very name? Of course not! The assumption is that God thinks so highly of His written Word, the Holy Bible, that He has placed it above all His name. His name is above all, and His Word is above all His name! Wow—the Holy Bible is some Book!

Jesus exhorted some individuals in John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Would Jesus suggest people read a book riddled with inaccuracies? Of course not. As the Lord Himself said, “The scripture cannot be broken [is true forever]” (John 10:35).

The Lord Jesus warned in John 12:48: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” On the day of judgment—whether the Judgment Seat of Christ (for Christians—1 Corinthians 3:9-15), or the Great White Throne Judgment (for unbelievers—Revelation 20:11-15)—the Word of God will be used to evaluate the people who heard and read it. God will hold all people accountable to whatever Bible doctrine they had access to. That means Bible preservation is necessary! There must be a reliable Bible for them to access, for God to hold them accountable to receiving, believing, and following it!

If we are going to take the Bible at face value, friend, the Bible claims to be trustworthy and fully authoritative, free from defects and erroneous information. But, here is a word of caution that everyone must understand. Not all “bibles” are actually Bibles!

*PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING ABOUT BIBLE VERSIONS AND PERVERSIONS*

Not every book that claims to be “The Bible” is “The Holy Bible.” There are books with mistakes that claim to be “the Bible,” that are marketed as “the Bible,” but are not the Bible. While they have seeds of truth, they are Satan’s cheap counterfeits (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Peter 1:20–2:3). Thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts exist; however, not all of them are reliable. We can look at verses in these texts and allow them to give their own testimony as to their reliability or faultiness. We can take the King James Bible, which is translated from the preserved Bible manuscripts, and compare it with the modern versions, which are translated from the counterfeit (that is, Roman Catholic) Bible manuscripts. It can be easily demonstrated that the King James text is far superior to the modern English versions. The many verses we listed earlier in this study are true of the Authorized Version King James Bible; they are not true of the modern English versions. Even a scant amount of honest research yields such a conclusion.

Whenever somebody says that there is a “mistake” in the King James Bible, they are simply trying to prove their pet theological belief—that there is no perfect Bible today. The idea that there is no perfect Bible today, no Bible today that carries the same authority as the apostles’ original manuscripts, results from prideful men who believe their seminary education will compensate for God’s negligence. They are trained to believe that God will use their (limited) wisdom of men to “reconstruct” the divinely-inspired text that was allegedly “lost” centuries ago. What fantasy! What delusion! They want to be the authority; they refuse to submit to a mere book, especially God’s Book!

There never was a “lost” Bible, friend. God’s people always have used God’s Word; it is just that forged Bibles (manuscripts and versions) have been used to sidetrack and dupe others. The 1611 King James Bible, its early English predecessors, and their source manuscripts have been used for centuries by the Church the Body of Christ. Unbelieving minds, those who hated the pure Bible text, took certain reliable manuscripts many centuries ago, deliberately altered them, and (the gullible) still take those manuscripts and translate them into new English Bible versions even now. This has been going on especially since the last 100 years. Organized religion (institutions and denominations) has spoiled the Bible text! Beware, beware, beware! The Roman Catholic Church is assaulting the Protestant Bible and most Protestants are totally clueless!

Verses in the New International Version demonstrate to us that it has mistakes. The same is true of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, Amplified, The Message, The Voice, Roman Catholic bibles, Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation, and so on. You can check Mark 1:2, Hebrews 3:16, Matthew 5:22 (cf. Mark 3:5), to name a few. We cannot find any such mistakes in the King James Bible. (I have not found any; so if you know of anything suspicious, please let me know.) These false versions (counterfeits) have caused people to doubt the Bible text as perfect. Friend, it is my hope and prayer that you will consider this information, and act accordingly.

Also see:
» Does it matter what Bible version I use?
» Must I study the Bible in its original languages to understand it?
» I am new to the Bible. Where should I begin?