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As stewards of the mysteries of God, we are invited to search out the Scriptures for the “matters” that God has hidden there. The purpose of this article is to share a hidden mystery (or two) and to encourage you to do your own searching.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2

Generally, there are three types of Bible translations. There are thought-for-thought translations; where the translators have taken a verse or passage and translated what they believe to be the thought of the writer. This includes a few of the more popular modern translations: NIV, REB and The Message.

There is also what are called word-for-word translations. Included in this group are the KJV, NKJV, and NASB. These translations are considered more reliable than thought-for-thought translations because they avoid much of the latter’s inherent human interpretation.

To improve readability, word-for-word translations include the rearrangement of sentence structure. This accommodation introduces a very small opportunity for mistranslation. However, as we will soon discover, small mistakes (e.g., the exclusion of a “the”) can make for some very BIG differences. Read the rest of this entry »

the light of GodSearching out the matters of God is a great adventure. Sometimes we find connections that expand the meaning of both passages and enlarge our faith. Other times, it is what we don’t find – initially – that leads to the treasure of truth.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. John 8:12 NKJV

Before I tell you what I didn’t find and what it means, let me point out that my discovery would not have been possible had the man that is discipling me not shown it to me. In turn, as Jesus commands, I am showing it to you. And so, what are you going to do with it?

What my friend showed me is that most translations – including word-for-word translations like KJV, NKJV and NASB – omit the direct article “the”, in many places; as many as eighty, though I suspect there are more. John 8:12 contains two of them. Can you guess where they are? Young’s literal translation will help.

Again, therefore, Jesus spake to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who is following me shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.” John 8:12 YLT

That’s right; darkness and life have direct articles in the original Greek manuscripts. To understand the meaning of the first, let’s look at the definition. Read the rest of this entry »

the light of GodThe Holy Bible is a treasure of hidden treasures, written in a very deliberate way, through pens called men, by the Holy Spirit.  The languages used in its writing were deliberately created by God; to reveal the word of God.  Furthermore, in His sovereignty, God determined that it was good to hide things.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2

God works all things to good; even the fallacies of man. Over the ages, godly men have done their best to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading in collecting and translating the Holy Scriptures into the other languages of man. It is understandable that even the most inspired and insightful endeavors were influenced by their culture, and their personal way of thinking. It would serve us well to assume that the same is true for those of us that are reading those translations.

Before I get in trouble with you, let me say that this is not about the validity or perfection of the Holy Bible. The Lord’s encouragement in this article is for our desperate need to read the translations we prefer with a heart to search out the matter; with at least a mild suspicion that things might not be what they seem. It is not a matter of the infallibility of the Scriptures; but of the paradigms of both translator and seeker of the truth.

To better explain, let me share something I discovered in reading a short passage in 2Thessalonians (using my favorite translation, the New King James Version). Read the rest of this entry »

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