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QUESTION: Shouldn't we emphasize love for Jesus Christ rather than squabbling over Bible translations?
ANSWER: There is no better way to emphasize our love for Jesus Christ than to jealously and zealously guard His word.
EXPLANATION: You can show your "love" for the Lord Jesus Christ in two ways.
1. Any method that YOU deem as sincere and valid in your own sight. (See Lev. 10: 1-3)
2. You can endeavor to keep Christ's Scriptural admonitions as strictly as possible. (This tends to be a lifetime endeavor.)
In John 14:23 one of the identifying marks of anyone who loves Him is that they will "keep my words."
You may say, "That just means to keep the things that He said to do." BUT, the fact is that no "love" is required to keep these sayings as evidenced in John 8:51 and 52. Love is required to keep His "words."
Again an argument may be made that, "That just referred to the original Greek." But alas, such a statement only leads you into a deeper more deadly trap. The following Scriptural example will explain.
In the book of Jonah, it is recorded that Jonah, while running from God, is swallowed by "a great fish." (Jonah 1:17)
In Matthew 12:40 the "great fish" is identified by Jesus Christ as a "whale." (We are not arguing genetics here, we are arguing the value of Christ's "w-o-r-d-s.")
Strangely, at this very scripture, those who claim to be able to "love" Christ and correct His Bible steal the words right out of His mouth.
Every new translation changes Jesus word "whale" to "fish." This is done because they learned in their seventh grade Biology class that "a whale is not a fish." Faced not only with a Bible that has a seeming contradiction (not with itself but with their 7th grade Biology teacher) but also with a Saviour who is so uninformed and uneducated as to not know that "a whale is not a fish," they panic. They rush to Matthew 12:40 and remove the word "whale" from both the Bible (their "authority in all matters of faith and practice") and from Jesus' lips (their "Lord" and Saviour.)
The Greek word used for "whale" in Matthew 12:40 is "ketos." The Greek word for "fish" is "ichthus." They are NOT the same. Jesus used the Greek word "ichthus" in several places in Scripture, such as: Matthew 7:10 and 17:28. Certainly He could have used it in Matthew 12:40 if He so desired.
The fundamental Bible "enhancer" overlooks two monumental Scriptural truthes.
First he overlooks the fact that Jonah was swallowed by a "great fish" that was specially "prepared" by God. It should be noted here that Adam gave names to all living creatures but one. God gave whales their name in Genesis 1:21 BEFORE Adam named the rest of creation in Genesis 2:19,20. That means the whale had a "predestination" (Gen. 1:21) and a "predestination" (Jonah 1:17) from the foundation of the earth. NOT something even a Bible corrector should take lightly.
The second truth ignored by God's little "helper" is that by changing " whale " to " fish " in Jesus' statement of Matthew 12:40 he is guilty of breaking Jesus' admonition of John 14:23 to "keep my w-o-r-d-s." ("Correcting" the Bible is like "treading" quicksand. The harder you kick, the faster you sink.)
Thus the authors of the New American Standard Version, the New International Version, the New King James Version and the rest of the new translations are not only wrong in their translation of "ketos" but in their defiance of Jesus' mandate of John 14:23.
So, when Jesus says one thing (whale) and your Pastor, parent, or professor says another (fish) you are bound by LOVE for Christ to reject man's opinion and embrace and defend Jesus' w-o-r-d-s.