Muddled Bibles Make Shallow Christians
By David W. Daniels
Christian pollster, George Barna, lists several reasons why young Christians leave the church. They claim it is “overprotective,” “antagonistic to science,” “simplistic” and “judgmental” on sexuality, “too intolerant of other religions,” and “unfriendly to doubters.”
Barna calls this “shallow” Christianity. Others call it “the new normal.” The “seeker friendly,” “emergent” churches today have largely failed to emphasize the need for total personal commitment to Christ or lay a solid biblical foundation in the lives of these young people.
Barna’s “reasons” suggest that they may be simply looking for a church to suit their sin. Such a church will always promote a Bible changed by man that downplays their sin. How can the life they are building be strong if they don’t lay the right foundation (Heb. 6:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:11-15)?
But the Bible is not like any other book. It’s the only place we can find the exact words of God! I don’t want people to take out God’s words and insert their own opinions. I want to wrestle with what God actually said, aided by the Holy Ghost, as I seek the Lord (Prov. 28:5). And I never want a Bible so vague that it will let me read my own beliefs into the wording.
In the last 30+ years of studying Bible and linguistics, I’ve seen people justify their own ideas by saying, “The Hebrew really means…” or “The Greek might say,” when it says no such thing. They’re just pretending there’s some secret nugget you have to find in the Greek or Hebrew, or the Bible won’t be clear to you.
But I’ve got good news. If you get God’s words accurately translated, with formal equivalence (what God said, not what men think He meant), you’ll understand the holy text better than all these so-called scholars combined. Let’s face it: reading multiple commentaries and quoting other versions simply muddle the message.
Anyone who depends on that for his or her spiritual life will come up just as shallow as the young people Barna described.
Fifty-plus men spent seven years carefully compiling, translating and checking the King James Bible. The king had them picked from among the world’s leading authorities in both the Bible and its languages. Some were fluent in as many as a dozen languages. Each verse was reviewed 14 times by all these men before it was cleared to print.
On top of that, every expert in the land was openly invited to view the process and contribute his understanding. It was an unprecedented event in human history. And God Himself put his seal of approval on the KJV by using it as the foundational truth for 400 years of revivals and missionary movements that produced the most free and prosperous nations the world has ever seen.
There are only about 600 words in the KJV that are not familiar to the average, literate English speaker. Which is easier: to learn the meaning of a few words at a time as you read, believe and put into practice what God said? Or would you rather spend years muddling around in Greek and Hebrew, wasting precious time, when we should be laying a solid foundation of truth in the lives of the next generation? That’s exactly what Peter was referring to in 2 Peter 3:16: unstable people wresting the scriptures “unto their own destruction.”
The church’s failure to preach and teach this “sure Word” has created a generation of “shallow” young Christians unable to resist the powerful, sweet, lies Satan feeds them at every turn.
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