By Pastor K. Bruce Oyen
First Baptist Church
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.
If you want good information on some Biblical textual matters, the following article is very important to read. It is posted with the author’s permission.
Westcott & Hort versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior?
by Doug Kutilek
Note: This study was first composed in 1996 and published that year by Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute as research report no. 45, a thirteen-page booklet (ISBN 0-944788-45-9). It was an attempt to clarify issues in the “Bible texts and translations controversy” by carefully defining and explaining terms which are often bandied about by those who seem to have limited understanding as to their actual meaning. It has not previously appeared in As I See It and is presented here with minor alterations. It is supplied with extensive endnotes, which should be read.–Editor
The New Testament was inspired by God, and came from the pens of its writers or their amanuenses in infallible form, free from any defect of any sort, including scribal mistakes. However, it is evident from the facts of history that God in His providence did not choose to protect that infallible original text from alterations and corruptions in the copying and printing process. Scribes, and later printers, made both accidental (usually) and deliberate (occasionally) changes in the Greek text as they copied and propagated it. As a result, the surviving manuscript copies (as well as printed editions) of the New Testament differ among themselves in numerous though usually trivial details.
Many attempts have been made (even as early as the second century A.D.) to sort through the manuscripts of the New Testament and weed out the errors and mistakes of copyists, in order to restore the text to its original apostolic form. Those who have made such attempts through the centuries have differed one from another in the resources at their disposal, their own personal abilities as text editors, and the principles followed in seeking to restore the original text of the New Testament.
The two most famous such efforts at restoring the original text of the New Testament are the Textus Receptus, dating from the Reformation and post-Reformation era, and the Greek text of B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, first published in 1881. These two texts were based on differing collections of manuscripts, following differing textual principles, at different stages in the on-going process of the discovery and evaluation of surviving New Testament manuscripts, and, not surprisingly, with often differing results.  There is much dispute today about which of these texts is a more faithful representation of the original form of the Greek New Testament, and it is this question which will be addressed in this study: Which is the superior Greek New Testament, the Textus Receptus / “Received Text” or the “Critical Text” of Westcott and Hort?
Any proper and adequate answer given to this question must begin with the matter of definition of terms. First, what is meant by the term “superior”? This may seem an unnecessary question since it might be supposed that all would agree on the answer, namely, the superior Greek New Testament is that one which most closely preserves and presents the precise original wording of the original Greek writings of the New Testament. However, in the rather voluminous popular literature on this issue, some writers have argued that one text or another is superior because it is perceived to contain more proof-texts of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, or some other doctrine. In fact, to make a selection on such a basis is much beside the point. Additional supporting proof-texts of numerous doctrines can be found in various individual Greek manuscripts or ancient versions, though the readings in question are beyond dispute not the original reading of the New Testament.  “Which Greek text most closely corresponds to the original New Testament?”–this and no other consideration is proper in deciding which Greek text is superior.
Next, what is meant by the term, “Received Text”? This name was first applied to a printed Greek text only as late as 1633, or some 117 years after the first published Greek New Testament appeared in 1516. In 1633, the Elzevirs of Leyden published the second edition of their Greek text, and that text contained the publisher’s “blurb” in Latin: textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum, or, “therefore you have the text now received by all,” from which the term textus receptus, or received text was taken, and applied collectively and retroactively to the series of published Greek New Testaments extending from 1516 to 1633 and beyond. Most notable among the many editors of Greek New Testaments in this period were Erasmus (5 editions: 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535), Robert Etienne a.k.a. Robertus Stephanus (4 editions, 1546, 1549, 1550, 1551), Theodore de Beza (9 editions, between 1565 and 1604), and the Elzevirs (3 editions, 1624,1633, 1641).  These many Greek texts display a rather close general uniformity, a uniformity based on the fact that all these texts are more or less reprints of the text(s) edited by Erasmus, with only minor variations. These texts were not independently compiled by the many different editors on the basis of close personal examination of numerous Greek manuscripts, but are genealogically-related.  Proof of this is to be found in a number of “unique” readings in Erasmus’ texts, that is, readings which are found in no known Greek manuscript but which are nevertheless found in the editions of Erasmus. One of these is the reading “book of life” in Revelation 22:19. All known Greek manuscripts here read “tree of life” instead of “book of life” as in the textus receptus. Where did the reading “book of life” come from? When Erasmus was compiling his text, he had access to only one manuscript of Revelation, and it lacked the last six verses, so he took the Latin Vulgate and back-translated from Latin to Greek. Unfortunately, the copy of the Vulgate he used read “book of life,” unlike any Greek manuscript of the passage, and so Erasmus introduced a “unique” Greek reading into his text.  Since the first and only “source” for this reading in Greek is the printed text of Erasmus, any Greek New Testament that agrees with Erasmus here must have been simply copied from his text. The fact that all textus receptus editions of Stephanus, Beza, et al. read with Erasmus shows that their texts were more or less slavish reprints of Erasmus’ text and not independently compiled editions, for had they been edited independently of Erasmus, they would surely have followed the Greek manuscripts here and read “tree of life.” Numerous other unique or extremely rare readings in the textus receptus editions could be referenced.
In this connection, it is worth noting that the translators of the King James Version did not follow exclusively any single printed edition of the New Testament in Greek. The edition most closely followed by them was Beza’s edition of 1598, but they departed from this edition for the reading in some other published Greek text at least 170 times, and in at least 60 places, the KJV translators abandoned all then-existing printed editions of the Greek New Testament, choosing instead to follow precisely the reading in the Latin Vulgate version.  No edition of the Greek New Testament agreeing in detail with the text followed by the KJV translators was in existence until 1881 when F. H. A. Scrivener produced such an edition (though even it differs from the King James Version in a very few places, e.g. Acts 19:20). It is Scrivener’s 1881 text which was reprinted by the Trinitarian Bible Society in 1976. This text does not conform exactly to any of the historic texts dating from the Reformation period and known collectively as the textus receptus, and so consequently any one passing off the 1881 Scrivener text as a or the “textus receptus” is engaging in disinformation.
Furthermore, a careful distinction must be made between the textus receptus (even in its broadest collective sense) on the one hand, and the majority text (also known as the Byzantine or Syrian text) on the other. Though the terms textus receptus and majority text are frequently used as though they were synonymous, they by no means mean the same thing.  When the majority text was being compiled by Hodges and Farstad, their collaborator Pickering estimated that their resultant text would differ from the textus receptus in over 1,000 places ; in fact, the differences amounted to 1,838.  In other words, the reading of the majority of existing Greek manuscripts differs from the textus receptus in 1,838 places (Hodges and Farstad used an 1825 Oxford reprint of Stephanus’ 1550 text for comparison purposes), and in many of these places, the text of Westcott and Hort agrees with the majority of manuscripts against the textus receptus. The majority of manuscripts and Westcott and Hort agree against the textus receptus in excluding Luke 17:36 (here the original 1611 edition of the KJV has a marginal note: “this 36. verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies“); Acts 8:37; and I John 5:7 from the New Testament, as well as concurring in numerous other readings (such as “tree of life” in Revelation 22:19). Except in a few rare cases, writers well-versed in textual criticism have abandoned the textus receptus as a standard text. 
The question remains to be resolved: how shall we define textus receptus? It has been customary in England to employ the 1550 text of Stephanus as the exemplar of the textus receptus (just as an Elzevir text was so adopted on the continent of Europe), and so we will follow this custom. For our purposes here, the term textus receptus means the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament published by Robertus Stephanus.
The Westcott and Hort text is much simpler to define. This is the Greek New Testament edited by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and first published in 1881, with numerous reprints in the century since. It is probably the single most famous of the so-called critical texts, perhaps because of the scholarly eminence of its editors, perhaps because it was issued the same year as the English Revised Version which followed a text rather like the Westcott-Hort text.
It needs to be stated clearly that the text of Westcott and Hort was not the first printed Greek Testament that deliberately and substantially departed from the textus receptus on the basis of manuscript evidence. Westcott and Hort were preceded in the late 1700s by Griesbach, and in the 1800s by Lachmann, Alford, Tregelles, and Tischendorf (and others), all of whose texts made numerous revisions in the textus receptus on the basis of manuscript evidence; these texts, especially the last three named, are very frequently in agreement with Westcott and Hort, against the textus receptus. 
Likewise, it is important to recognize that the English Revised New Testament which came out in 1881 was not directly based on the text of Westcott and Hort, although in many particulars they are the same. The Greek text followed by the Revisers was compiled and published in 1882 in an edition with the KJV and ERV in parallel columns.  It is true that the Westcott-Hort text and the English Revised New Testament of 1881 are rather similar to each other, but they are not identical.
Though the Westcott-Hort text was the “standard” critical text for a generation or two, it is no longer considered such by any one, and has not been for many years. The “standard” text or texts today are the Nestle or Nestle-Aland text (1st edition, 1898; 27th edition, 1993) and/or the various editions of The Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies (1st edition, 1966; 4th edition, 1993). The last two editions of each of these sport an identical text, a new “received text,” so to speak. It is true that the Westcott-Hort text is part of the heritage of both the Nestle texts and the UBS texts. Eberhard Nestle originally used as his text the consensus reading of three editions of the Greek New Testament in his day, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, and Weymouth, later substituting Weiss for Weymouth.  The UBS editors used the Westcott-Hort text as their starting point and departed from it as their evaluation of manuscript evidence required. 
None of the major modern English Bible translations made since World War II used the Westcott-Hort text as its base. This includes translations done by theological conservatives–the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the New King James, for examples–and translations done by theological liberals–the Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, the Good News Bible, etc. The only English Bible translation currently in print that the writer is aware of which is based on the Westcott-Hort text is the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 
In a very real sense, the question of which is superior, Westcott and Hort, or the textus receptus, is passé, since neither is recognized by experts in the field as the standard text. However, since modern printed Greek texts are in the same respective families of text, namely the Alexandrian (Nestle, et al.) and the Byzantine (majority text), it is suitable to ask, “which one is superior, i.e., which comes closest to presenting the Greek text in its original form?”
What is perhaps the strongest argument in favor of the Westcott-Hort text vis-à-vis the textus receptus, is the fact that it has firm support from the oldest extant Greek manuscripts, plus the earliest of the versions or translations, as well as the early Christian writers of the 2nd through 4th centuries. Age of manuscripts is probably the most objective factor in the process of textual criticism. When Westcott and Hort compiled their text, they employed the two oldest then-known manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as their text base. Since their day, a good number of manuscripts as old and in some cases a century and more older than these two manuscripts have been discovered. With a general uniformity, these early manuscripts have supported the Alexandrian text-type which the Westcott-Hort text presents.  It is true that these papyrus manuscripts occasionally contain Byzantine-type readings, but none of them could in any way be legitimately described as being regularly Byzantine in text.  The agreement of some of the papyri with Vaticanus, especially p75 of the early third century, has been quite remarkable.
From the early versions, the critical texts have strong support in the various Coptic versions of the third and later centuries, plus frequent support in the Old Latin versions and the oldest forms of the Syriac, in particular the Sinaitic and Curetonian manuscripts whose text form dates to the second or third century (though there are also strong Western elements in the Old Latin and the early Syriac).  Jerome’s revision of the Old Latin, the Vulgate made before 400 A.D., also gives frequent support to the Alexandrian text. Of early Christian writers before the fourth century, the Alexandrian text has substantial support, especially in the writings of Origen, whose Scripture quotations are exceedingly numerous.
On the other hand, the Byzantine text-type, of which the textus receptus is a rough approximation, can boast of being presented in the vast majority of surviving manuscripts, as well as several important versions of the New Testament from the fourth century or later, and as being the text usually found in the quotations of Greek writers in the fifth century and after. The most notable version support for the Byzantine text is in the Peshitta Syriac and the fourth century Gothic version (though each of these versions has significant departures from the Byzantine text). A second-century date for the Peshitta used to be advocated, but study of the Biblical quotations in the writings of Syrian Fathers Aphraates and Ephraem has demonstrated that neither of these leaders used the Peshitta, and so it must date from after their time, i.e., to the late fourth century or after. Therefore, this chief support for a claimed second-century date for the Byzantine text-type has been shown to be invalid.
On the down side, the distinctively Alexandrian text almost disappears from the manuscripts after the 9th century, following, not insignificantly, the violent and destructive Moslem conquest of Mesopotamia, the Holy Land and Levant, and all of North Africa, destroying or enslaving the Christian community in all these locations, destroying churches and Bible manuscripts. On the other hand, the Byzantine manuscripts, though very numerous, did not become the “majority” text until the ninth century, and though outnumbering Alexandrian manuscripts by more than 10:1, are also for the far greater part considerably younger than them, most being 1,000 years and more removed from the originals.
Returning to the specific texts, Westcott-Hort vs. the textus receptus: in truth, both texts necessarily fall short of presenting the true original. Obviously, those readings in the textus receptus which are without any Greek manuscript support cannot possibly be original. Additionally, in a number of places, the textus receptus reading is found in a limited number of late manuscripts, with little or no support from ancient translations. One of these readings is the famous I John 5:7. Such readings as these are also presumptively not original. And if one holds to the “majority rules” theory of textual criticism, i.e., whatever the reading found in a numerical majority of surviving Greek manuscripts is to be accepted as original, then the textus receptus falls short in the 1,838 readings where it does not follow the majority text.
Besides these shortcomings, others also apparently occur in a number of places where a perceived difficulty in the original reading was altered by scribes in the manuscript copying process. Probable examples of this include Mark 1:2 (changing “Isaiah the prophet” to “the prophets,” a change motivated by the fact that the quote which follows in 1:3 is from both Malachi and Isaiah), I Corinthians 6:20 (where the phrase “and in your Spirit which are God’s” seems to have been added after the original “in your body,” which is the subject under consideration in the preceding verses), Luke 2:33 (changing “his father and his mother” into “Joseph and his mother” to ‘safeguard’ the doctrine of the virgin birth), Romans 8:1, end (borrowing from verse 4, in two stages, the phrase “who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit”), Romans 13:9 (the insertion of one of the Ten Commandments to complete the listing), Colossians 1:14 (the borrowing of the phrase “through his blood” from Ephesians 1:7), etc. 
On the other hand, the defects of the Westcott-Hort text are also generally recognized, particularly its excessive reliance on manuscript B (Vaticanus), and to a lesser extent, Aleph (Sinaiticus). Hort declared the combined testimony of these two manuscripts to be all but a guarantee that a reading was original.  All scholars today recognize this as being an extreme and unwarranted point of view. Manuscript B shows the same kinds of scribal errors found in all manuscripts, a fact to be recognized and such singular readings to be rejected, as in fact they sometimes were rejected by Westcott and Hort (e.g., at Matthew 6:33).
What shall we say then? Which text shall we choose as superior? We shall choose neither the Westcott-Hort text (or its modern kinsmen) nor the textus receptus (or the majority text) as our standard text, our text of last appeal. All these printed texts are compiled or edited texts, formed on the basis of the informed (or not-so-well-informed) opinions of fallible editors. Neither Erasmus nor Westcott and Hort (nor, need we say, any other text editor or group of editors) is omniscient or perfect in reasoning and judgment. Therefore, we refuse to be enslaved to the textual criticism opinions of either Erasmus or Westcott and Hort or for that matter any other scholars, whether Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Burgon, Hodges and Farstad, or anyone else. Rather, it is better to evaluate all variants in the text of the Greek New Testament on a reading by reading basis, that is, in those places where there are divergences in the manuscripts and between printed texts, the evidence for and against each reading should be thoroughly and carefully examined and weighed, and the arguments of the various schools of thought considered, and only then a judgment made. (Years of doing this very thing have led me to conclude that the critical texts are very much closer to the precise original wording of the Greek New Testament than either the textus receptus, or the “majority text,” though with exceptions in readings here and there).
We do, or should do, this very thing in reading commentaries and theology books. We hear the evidence, consider the arguments, weigh the options, and then arrive at what we believe to be the honest truth. Can one be faulted for doing the same regarding the variants in the Greek New Testament? Our aim is to know precisely what the Apostles originally did write, this and nothing more, this and nothing else. And, frankly, just as there are times when we must honestly say, “I simply do not know for certain what this Bible verse or passage means,” there will be (and are) places in the Greek New Testament where the evidence is not clear cut,  and the arguments of the various schools of thought do not distinctly favor one reading over another.
This means there will at times be a measure of uncertainty in defining precisely the exact wording of the Greek New Testament (just as there is in the interpretation of specific verses and passages), but this does not mean that there is uncertainty in the theology of the New Testament. Baptist theologian J. L. Dagg has well-stated the theological limits of the manuscript variations in the New Testament,
Although the Scriptures were originally penned under the unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit, it does not follow, that a continued miracle has been wrought to preserve them from all error in transcribing. On the contrary, we know that manuscripts differ from each other; and where readings are various, but one of them can be correct. A miracle was needed in the original production of the Scriptures; and, accordingly, a miracle was wrought; but the preservation of the inspired word, in as much perfection as was necessary to answer the purpose for which it was given, did not require a miracle, and accordingly it was committed to the providence of God. Yet the providence which has preserved the divine oracles, has been special and remarkable. . . . The consequence is, that, although the various readings found in the existing manuscripts, are numerous, we are able, in every case, to determine the correct reading, so far as is necessary for the establishment of our faith, or the direction of our practice in every important particular. So little, after all, do the copies differ from each other, that these minute differences, when viewed in contrast with their general agreement, render the fact of that agreement the more impressive, and may be said to serve, practically, rather to increase, than impair our confidence in their general correctness. Their utmost deviations do not change the direction of the line of truth; and if it seems in some points to widen the line a very little, the path that lies between their widest boundaries, is too narrow to permit us to stray. 
To this may be added the testimony of Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, the pre-eminent British authority on New Testament manuscripts at the beginning of the twentieth century. In discussing the differences between the traditional and the Alexandrian text-types, in the light of God’s providential preservation of His word, he writes,
We may indeed believe that He would not allow His Word to be seriously corrupted, or any part of it essential to man’s salvation to be lost or obscured; but the differences between the rival types of text is not one of doctrine. No fundamental point of doctrine rests upon a disputed reading: and the truths of Christianity are as certainly expressed in the text of Westcott and Hort as in that of Stephanus 
Even advocates and defenders of the supremacy of the textus receptus over the Alexandrian text agree in this assessment. One such writer was 19th century American Southern Presbyterian theologian Robert L. Dabney. He wrote,
This received text contains undoubtedly all the essential facts and doctrines intended to be set down by the inspired writers; for if it were corrected with the severest hand, by the light of the most divergent various readings found in any ancient MS. or version, not a single doctrine of Christianity, nor a single cardinal fact would be thereby expunged. . . . If all the debated readings were surrendered by us, no fact or doctrine of Christianity would thereby be invalidated, and least of all would the doctrine of Christ’s proper divinity be deprived of adequate scriptural support. Hence the interests of orthodoxy are entirely secure from and above the reach of all movements of modern criticism of the text whether made in a correct or incorrect method, and all such discussions in future are to the church of subordinate importance. 
These sober and sensible judgments stand in marked contrast to the almost manic hysteria found in the writings of some detractors of critical texts who write as though those texts were a Pandora’s Box of heresy. In truth, all text families are doctrinally orthodox. A dispassionate evaluation of evidence is very much to be preferred to the emotionally charged tirades that characterize much of the current discussion.
End Notes (to be read)
Note on additional resources
I have written and published research studies addressing specific questions regarding the effect of variations between printed Greek New Testaments and the issue of the doctrinal content of the New Testament. I affirm in each of these that in no respect is the doctrinal content of the New Testament altered, whether one follows the textus receptus, Westcott-Hort, Nestle-Aland or Hodges-Farstad. These include:
“Do ‘Critical’ New Testament Greek Texts Subvert the Doctrine of Blood Atonement?” As I See It, 5:8, August 2002
“Variant Readings and the Virgin Birth,” As I See It, 7:3, March 2004
“Variant Readings and the Virgin Birth Once Again,” As I See It, 7:9, September 2004
“I John 5:7: An Outline Study of the Evidence,” As I See It, 13:1, January 2010
By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
In a recent post, I told about the time when I was a teenager in Minneapolis, MN and my dad found my marijuana. That was in the late 1960’s. This post is about another day, the day when Dad made me mad. It took place in the same time period, and in the same location on Lyndale Ave. South.
To understand what happened, you have to keep in mind that at that time I was a frequent drug user, and I lived the lifestyle that went with it. This means I loved rock music. Some of my favorite rock musicians and groups were Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Cream.
So how did Dad make me mad? Well, one day I went home from somewhere, maybe from hanging out with friends, and was not expecting Dad to be home. I went in the front door, and there he was in the living room listening to music. He was hard of hearing, so the record player was turned up LOUD. But Dad was not listening to my favorite rock music. He was listening to a woman sing the hymn called “How Great Thou Art.” It was so contrary to the music I liked, and to the way I was living that it immediately made me mad. So mad, in fact, that I quickly walked to another room, slammed the door shut and yelled out, “Can’t you listen to some happy music?!”
Here’s a point I want to make from this event: Christian music has the power to confront a sinful lifestyle. It has the power to shine the light of Biblical truth into hearts and minds darkened by sin. It has the power to help people see their need of God’s forgiveness, which he gives to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Bible is God’s Word, and it says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) The Bible says, “In him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Ephesians 1:7) The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31) All of these Biblical truths, and many others, can be, and have been, expressed through Christian music.
But what if the musical style that is used to accompany the Bible’s truths is the same as the style used by rock musicians? The result is the joining together of music and words that contradict one another. Do rock musicians use sacred music to express their words? Of course not! The fact is, Christian words and rock music do not belong together. And when they are joined together, the message in the words gets diluted by the music. We cannot join words about sacred subjects to music that is secular and anti-sacred by its very nature. But, unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened in recent decades. Well-meaning Christians musicians have been the driving force behind this blending of the sacred and the secular and anti-sacred. Their goal has been to reach more people with the Gospel. But the results have not justified this blending of opposites, for by it Christians have become more like the world than different from it. Therefore, we need a reminder that this is not how it should be. Such a reminder is found in the Bible, in the first two verses of the twelfth chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians. The whole chapter is given below, and is taken from the Modern English Version (MEV). The Modern English Version was published in 2014, and is a new translation of the same Old Testament text and the same New Testament text from which the King James Version was translated. The MEV of Romans 12 was taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com. This website has important information about the Modern English Version.
Romans 12 Modern English Version (MEV)
12 I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sound judgment, according to the measure of faith God has distributed to every man. 4 For just as we have many parts in one body, and not all parts have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and all are parts of one another. 6 We have diverse gifts according to the grace that is given to us: if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; 7 if service, in serving; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with generosity; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil. Cleave to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with brotherly love; prefer one another in honor, 11 do not be lazy in diligence, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord, 12 rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer, 13 contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Do not pretend to be wiser than you are.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Commend what is honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to God’s wrath, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him a drink;
for in doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
At this time of year, many Christians around the world celebrate one of the most important truths of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. His resurrection is so important that, if it had not taken place, Christianity would have died right then and there. Everything about the Christian faith is connected to the reality of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament. It cannot be avoided , if we carefully and open-mindedly read the New Testament. It can be denied, but only by denying the undeniable evidence that it happened.
As stated above, the Lord’s resurrection is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament. It is recounted to, for example, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What follows is the history of his resurrection as found in John’s Gospel. It is quoted from a new translation/version of the Bible called the “Modern English Version.” This is an updating of the King James Version, and is based on the same original-language text as that venerable version. The MEV’s Committee On Bible Translation followed what is known as the principle of formal equivalence, about which that Committee says, “the meaning of which is to be as literal as proper English syntax and grammar will allow.” (For those not familiar with the Bible, it is divided into chapters and verses. In this case, the “20” means chapter 20. And the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 5, and so forth are the verse numbers in chapter 20.)
John 20 Modern English Version (MEV)
20 Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have put Him.”
3 So Peter came out with the other disciple and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 Stooping down and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying. Yet he did not enter. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went inside the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the cloth that was around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but wrapped in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came first to the tomb, went in also. He saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
11 But Mary stood outside at the tomb weeping. As she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb, 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have put Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples were then glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” 22 When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called The Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.”
26 After eight days His disciples were again inside with the doors shut, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.”
28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
THE ORIGIN OF THE EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE
Have you ever wondered about the origin of the Easter sunrise service? Wonder no more! It is based on something we read in the 2nd verse of the 16th chapter of Mark’s Gospel. The whole chapter is given below, as found in the King James Version. For your information, the Bible nowhere says or implies we must have Easter sunrise services, or, for that matter, Easter services of any kind. They are harmless traditions of men, and can be great reminders of fundamental Gospel truths, so long as the Gospel is followed. Personally, I do not like sunrise services for practical reasons. But we should have church services on Easter Sunday and any other Sunday.
MARK 16, VERSES 1 – 20 (The whole chapter.)
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
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.
King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain
The Bible verses quoted were taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com
By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
What follows is a quote from Presbyterian Bible scholar Albert Barnes’s commentary on Acts 12:4, in which the King James Version has the word “Easter.” He lived in the 1800s, and is well-known as a firm believer in the Bible as the Word of God. Barnes’s introduction to his commentary on the New Testament speaks very highly of the King James Version. But he was not hesitant to say so when he disagreed with how it sometimes worded some verses. This is an example of it. The quote is taken from this website: http://biblehub.com/.
BARNES WROTE THE FOLLOWING: Intending after Easter – There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover (μετὰ τὸ πάσχα meta to pascha. The word “Easter” now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles. The word “Easter” is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from “Eostre,” the goddess of Love, or the Venus of the North, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April (Webster). Since this festival coincided with the Passover of the Jews, and with the feast observed by Christians in honor of the resurrection of Christ, the name came to be used to denote the latter. In the old Anglo-Saxon service-books the term “Easter” is used frequently to translate the word “Passover.” In the translation by Wycliffe, the word “paske,” that is, “Passover,” is used. But Tyndale and Coverdale used the word “Easter,” and hence, it has very improperly crept into our King James Version.”