Tag Archives: Bible reading

Something Many English Bible Translations Have In Common

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

You might recall that some weeks ago Presidential aspirant, Donald Trump, spoke at Liberty University. During his speech, he referred to a certain book of the New Testament as “2 Corinthians.” He took some heat over his having called the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians “2 Corinthians.” It seems some folks thought it revealed his ignorance of the Bible. Well, though I am not a Trump supporter, I want to point out that the objection to his reference to “2 Corinthians” actually revealed the ignorance of those who found fault with it. Here is why: I have been an avid Bible-reader for over 40 years, and I have noticed the very thing for which Trump was faulted. So, I looked at 9 of my English Bible translations, and each one refers to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians as “2 Corinthians.” Here is a list of the 9 translations I looked at: the King James Version, New King James Version, Modern English Version, English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible (updated edition), New International Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New Revised Standard Version, and the 1602 edition of the Geneva Bible New Testament. I don’t know what Bible translation Trump referred to at Liberty University, but it must have been one that said “2 Corinthians” at the top of the page he read from that day.

Now, here is another important fact related to this subject: there are several books in the Old Testament and epistles (letters) in the New Testament in which numbers are used by translators to identify them. In the Old Testament we find the books called 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles. And in the New Testament we find the epistles (letters) called 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1, 2 and 3 John. But we commonly refer to them as first and second, or as first, second and third. Here’s another interesting fact: in the Old Testament, at first there was one book of Samuel, one of Kings, and one of Chronicles. But each one was divided in half, so to speak, for the sake of convenience. They then were renamed 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 an 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. But the letters of the New Testament were written separately.

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Questions And Answers About The Bible

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

1. IS THE BIBLE THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes, and there are many good reasons to believe it is the Word of God. Instead of listing some of the reasons, here is a suggestion: read it with an open mind and discover its contents for yourself. I suggest you start by reading the New Testament, and then read the Old Testament. Note the many statements affirming it to be the Word of God. One of the most well-known is 2 Timothy 3:15 – 17. If you want to read a good article on this subject, read R. A. Torrey’s article called “Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is The Word Of God.” It was written in 1898. It is still in print, and can be read on the internet from a variety of sources.
2. WAS THE BIBLE (the Word of God) IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION IN 1611?
Yes. Two examples are the Wycliffe Bible and the Geneva Bible. These and some other pre-King James Version translations are still in print, and some, and maybe all, are also available on the internet. One of many interesting books on the history of old English Bible translations is by David O. Beale. It is called “A Pictorial History Of Our English Bible.” I have profitably read it two times.
3. SINCE THE BIBLE (the Word of God) WAS IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION, ARE THOSE TRANSLATIONS STILL THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes, of course. The Bible never ceases to be the Word of God.
4. WHAT, THEN, OF THE CLAIM MADE BY MANY SINCERE CHRISTIANS THAT ONLY THE KING JAMES VERSION IS THE WORD OF GOD IN ENGLISH?
Such a claim is plainly false, and should not be accepted. The King James Version is the Word of God in English, but so are the English Bible translations that preceded it. The publication of the King James Version did not in any way cause those translations to become less than the Word of God. The Bible is always the Word of God.
5. SINCE THE BIBLE (the Word of God) WAS IN ENGLISH PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE KING JAMES VERSION, IS IT POSSIBLE THAT ENGLISH BIBLE TRANSLATIONS PUBLISHED SINCE THE KING JAMES VERSION ARE ALSO THE WORD OF GOD?
Yes. Absolutely. There is no logical, defensible, justifiable reason to say this cannot be possible. But it is more than possible. It is a provable reality. There is no evidence whatever that the translators of the King James Version believed their translation was the final translation of the Word of God into English. They did not believe, as many wrongly believe in our day, that their translation alone was the Word of God for the English speaking people of the world. Nor should we. Good translations of the Bible into English have been made since the publication of the King James Version. Some examples are the New American Standard (updated in maybe 1995), the English Standard Version, the New King James Version, and the Modern English Version.
6. WHAT IF ONE HAS A STRONG PREFERENCE FOR THE KING JAMES VERSION, BUT WOULD LIKE TO READ A MODERN ENGLISH TRANSLATION THAT IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE KING JAMES VERSION AND THAT IS BASED ON THE SAME ORIGINAL-LANGUAGE TEXTS AS THE KING JAMES VERSION?
In that case, I recommend at least two translations: 1) The New King James Version (NKJV). 2) The Modern English Version (MEV). The NKJV has been in print for many years, and the MEV was published in 2014. I have been reading the NKJV for several years, and I have been reading the MEV for several months. I have read the old KJV at least 40 times, and as I read the NKJV and the MEV, it is easy to see the similarities they have to the KJV, and their differences from it. But their differences are not so great as to keep one from reading the NKJV and the MEV. If you don’t want to buy these translations, both of them can be read on the Bible Gateway website, and perhaps on other websites. I have a preference for the KJV, NKJV, and the MEV. But I refuse to make this preference a test of fellowship with other Christians.

God Deserves More Than A Minute A Day

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

“GOD’S MINUTE” is the name of a daily devotional book that was first published many years ago. And based on recent research on the internet, it is still available. I have perused the book, but have never read it. Each day’s reading is able to be read in one minute. What strikes me about the book is that, even if each day’s reading is good, it is very unfortunate if the average Christian has only one minute a day for God. “God’s Minute.” That’s all? Really? If Christians would re-set their priorities, the result would be remarkable. One major result would be that they would spend more time reading the Bible each day than doing less-important things. Maybe re-reading Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 would motive us to take more time to frequently read the Word of God.

WHY IS BIBLE READING IMPORTANT?

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

Bible reading is important for many reasons, all of which are found in the Bible itself. Below is the entire third chapter of the apostle Paul’s second letter to his preacher-friend, Timothy. It is quoted from The Modern English Version, which is based on the same original language texts as the King James Version. The MEV is also a literal translation of the original languages, in contrast to some modern English translations. As you read the following chapter, look for the reasons Bible reading is so important.

2 Timothy 3 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Last Days
3 Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. 2 Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from such people.
6 Those of this nature creep into houses and captivate silly women who are burdened with sins and led away with various desires, 7 always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds and worthless concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further, for their folly will be revealed to everyone, as theirs also was.
Last Charge to Timothy
10 But you have observed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, tolerance, love, patience, 11 persecutions, and afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—what persecutions I endured! But the Lord delivered me out of them all. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing those from whom you have learned them, 15 and that since childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Modern English Version (MEV) The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

Here are some reasons Bible reading is so important: 1) The Bible tells us what to expect in the last days, and we are seeing these things now. 2) It tells us to continue in its truths. 3) It tells us the importance of learning the Bible when we are young, for by it we learn how to be saved. (But it’s better to learn it late than never.) 4) It tells us it is inspired, which, simply defined, means it is from God, it is the Word of God.. 5) It tells us it is a profitable book in several practical ways. Therefore, be an avid Bible reader.

The MEV quote was taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com.

Dad Taught Me To Walk On Water

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

Dad was a remarkable man in a number of ways. Here are a few examples: He liked to read……. dictionaries and encyclopedias. He was also gifted in using a lathe to make wood objects. In very recent years, I learned that he had an unusual memory. My oldest brother, Dean, said that when he was young he went with Dad on one his jobs to lay either carpet or linoleum. They went to a house to measure the rooms in which the material was to be laid. Dad measured the rooms, but did not write down the measurements. They then drove back to the shop to cut the material. From memory, Dad cut it out, and they then brought it back to the house, and laid it. 

After we moved from a farm to Minneapolis, MN, when he was well into his sixties, he got a job as a custodian at a small college on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis. One spring, he, the custodian, was the speaker at the graduation. How often does that happen? But let me go back to when I was in grade school on the farm. One of my memories of Dad was that he taught me how to walk on water. Our farm was lakeside property, with the house being about 300′ from Drywood Lake. One day, Dad told me we were going to visit neighbors on the other side of the lake, and he said we were going to walk on the lake to get there. Fortunately, it was in the cold of winter, and the lake was frozen. But even so, I was apprehensive about walking across the frozen lake to visit neighbors because I had never done so before. I knew we could fall through the ice and drown. However, I followed Dad onto the lake, and we began the  walk to the neighbors. As I walked behind him, I could see and hear the ice crack, and I could feel it sometimes dip a little under our weight. It was somewhat scary, though it did not cause me to panic. Dad seemed confident that we were not in danger, and that gave me confidence to follow along.
We can draw a practical spiritual lesson from this experience that happened in the early 1960s. It is this: sometimes God asks us to follow him as he leads us into experiences in life that can cause us some or much anxiety. It can cause anxiety because it means following him on a path not known to us, and which might seem dangerous. He knows what lies ahead, but we do not. But, just as I had to trust Dad on that frozen lake many years ago, so we must trust God to never make a mistake about the path on which he chooses to take us. Therefore, whether the path is smooth or rough, harmless or dangerous, God can be trusted to get us to his chosen destination. All will turn out well in the end.
Psalm 56 has a statement that applies directly to this matter of trusting God even when we are fearful as we follow him. Below is Psalm 56 from the Modern English Version (aka The MEV). It was taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com.  Verse 3 is the key verse, and is in bold print.

Psalm 56

For the Music Director. To the melody of “Silent Dove at a Distance.” A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, O God, for man would crush me;
    all day long he who battles oppresses me.
All day long my enemies would crush me,
    for there are many who arrogantly battle against me.

3 In the day when I am afraid,
    I will trust in You.
In God whose word I praise,
    in God I have trusted; I will not fear.
    What can mere flesh do to me?

Every day they twist my words;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    when they wait for my life.
Should there be deliverance for them on account of wickedness?
    In Your anger cast down the peoples, O God.

You take account of my wandering;
    put my tears in Your bottle;
    are they not in Your book?
In the day I cry to You,
    then my enemies will turn back;
    this I know, that God is for me.

10 In God whose word I praise,
    in the Lord whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust, I will not fear;
    what can a man do to me?

12 Your vows are on me, O God;
    I will complete them with thank offerings to You;
13 for You have delivered my soul from death,
    even my feet from stumbling,
to walk before God
    in the light of the living.

Modern English Version (MEV)The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

To Live Right, We Must Think Right

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

If we want to live right, we must think right. That’s a “no-brainer,” as the saying goes. But the fact is, it is easy to become careless about what we allow into our minds. Many of us would not start smoking tobacco, knowing what it does to a smoker’s lungs. We don’t even want to spend much time in smoke-filled places for the same reason. So, we avoid such places to protect our lungs. We need to be even more cautious about what we allow into our minds, for what we allow into our minds either helps us or harms us.
Therefore, we must be on our guard when it comes to what we look at on TV, on the internet, in movies, and in literature. We must also be careful about the music we listen to. All of the above have the potential to put harmful thoughts into our minds, and if we allow such thoughts into our minds, the outcome will not be good.
Let me give just one example of a TV program that is not good for us. I have never watched more than a few minutes this program because of its blatant sensuality and sexuality. The ads for it on TV certainly emphasize this program’s sensuality and sexuality. What is the program? “Dancing With The Stars.” I am convinced that DWTS is so popular, not just because of the skill of the dancers, but also because of its sensuality and sexuality. This program is contributing to the acceptance of low sexual standards among it viewers because it diminishes the Biblical concept of the sacredness of intimacy and sex between a man and woman who are married to one another. Such intimacy is to be kept private, not hinted at on TV.
Now that these frank statements have been made, let me follow them up with the fourth chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian Christians. The key verse is verse 8. I put it in bold print to easily pick it out.

Philippians 4 Modern English Version (MEV)

4 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brothers, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved.

Exhortations

2 I exhort Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 I ask you also, true companion, help those women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with my other fellow laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let everyone come to know your gentleness. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things. 9 Do those things which you have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Acknowledgment of the Philippians’ Gift

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me. Regarding this, you did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 I do not speak because I have need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. 12 I know both how to face humble circumstances and how to have abundance. Everywhere and in all things I have learned the secret, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me.

14 Nevertheless you did well having shared in my affliction. 15 Now you Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 Even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again for my necessity, 17 not because I desired a gift, but I desire fruit that accumulates to your account. 18 But I have everything and abound. I have been filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, like a sweet fragrance, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now to God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Modern English Version (MEV)
The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

When My Friend, “Oh Shoot!” Larry, Became A Christian

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
I told in a Facebook post about two of my friends from years ago. One was Clifford, the humorous man with Down syndrome. The other was Larry, with whom Clifford and I would have lunch in my car while we listened to Paul Harvey’s radio program. Larry is the one who said “Oh shoot!” when I interrupted an interesting Paul Harvey story by asking Larry to thank God for our food.
Well, let me tell you about when and how “Oh shoot!” Larry became a Christian. We lived in Miles City, MT and his sister lived in Glendive, MT. One day she called me and said she was concerned about Larry’s need to become a Christian. She then asked if I would go and speak to him about accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior. I said I would, and got Larry’s address from her. Then a deacon of church and I went to visit Larry at his apartment. He let us in, and we spoke to him about the importance of accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior. I told him that without the Lord as his Savior he would never be allowed into heaven. Larry said he was ready to ask Jesus Christ to forgive his sins and to save his soul. So, we bowed our heads and I led Larry in a simple prayer, during which he told the Lord he needed him as his Savior. After Larry’s prayer, I showed him some Bible verses that reassured him that if he had, indeed, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he was now a forgiven and saved man, and would be allowed into heaven. Then, the deacon and I left his apartment and went back to my car to go home.
When we got in the car, I told the deacon that Larry’s prayer was so dry, figuratively speaking, that it made me wonder if he was sincere when he prayed to the Lord for salvation. But Larry soon showed the sincerity of his prayer to become a Christian. He did so by attending our church regularly, by reading his Bible, by letting me take him through some Bible studies for new Christians, by giving Gospel literature to those who might not be Christians, by being baptized as a profession of his faith in the Lord, and by joining the church. His life demonstrated by these and other ways that he had become a sincere Christian.
I have said all these things abut Larry to make one primary point: He proved that a person can be very sincere about accepting Jesus Christ as his or her Savior without showing a lot of emotion at the time. It’s not the emotion of a prayer to be forgiven and saved that proves its sincerity, but it is the changes that come into one’s life as a result of sincerely accepting the Lord as one’s Savior. The fact is, someone can cry a river of tears when they say what might be called “the sinner’s prayer to be saved,” but show little or no long-term proof that their heart was in that prayer. As someone else put it so well, we can call these persons “Alka-seltzer Christians” because they fizz for awhile and then disappear.

The Lord Jesus Christ himself spoke about this subject in one of his parables. The parable is found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and is quoted here from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 8, verses 1 – 15. The quote is taken from the Modern English Version, which was published in 2014. For those not familiar with the Bible, the numbers seen in the Bible verses are the verse numbers. ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all the way through number 15.)

Luke 8 Modern English Version (MEV)
Women Who Accompany Jesus

8 Afterward, He went throughout every city and village, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. With Him were the twelve 2 and some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had come out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who supported Him with their possessions.

The Parable of the Sower

4 When a large crowd had gathered together and people were coming to Him from every city, He told this parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on a rock. And as soon as it sprang up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 Yet some fell among thorns. And the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 And other seed fell on good ground and sprang up and yielded a hundred times the amount sown.”

When He had said these things, He cried out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

9 His disciples asked Him, “What might this parable mean?” 10 He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but to others they are in parables, so that

‘seeing they may not see,
and hearing they may not understand.’

The Parable of the Sower Explained

11 “Now the parable means this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are those who hear. Then comes the devil, who takes away the word from their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root, for they believe for a while, then in the time of temptation fall away. 14 That which fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed on the good ground are those who, having heard the word, keep it in an honest and good heart and bear fruit with patience.

Modern English Version (MEV)

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

This quote from the MEV was taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com.