Thursday, October 27, 2016
In early 1956 my dad gave me a large “table” Bible. In the front of it was a topical section. Each topic began with a question and the answer was given with passages from the Bible. I was looking for a theme for the following Sunday. I was preaching for a church that believed “baptism” could be administered in three forms: sprinkling water upon the head of the candidate, pouring water upon the head of the candidate, or completely immersing the individual into the water. I decided to use the question, “What is Baptism” with its accompanying scriptures.
One lady always attended with her mother. However, that Sunday the mom wasn’t feeling well and did not attend. When the daughter returned home, the mother asked, “What did Ray preach?” The daughter replied, “He preached a Baptist sermon.” Of course the lesson did not originate from the Baptist nor any other church. It was based upon all the passages in the New Testament on the subject of “baptism.”
Why did the daughter believe I had preached a Baptist sermon? I was not a Baptist preacher. The Bible given to me by my father was not a Baptist Bible. There are Bibles that have been translated by individuals who were members of different churches, but in most cases, they translated it faithfully from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. If a copy of the scriptures had added notes in the margins, that information is not inspired and may be the specific interpretation of a word, phrase, or passage held by the translation committee. Yes, sometimes their sectarian prejudices appear, but for the most part, they attempted to be correct in translating.
By “prejudices,” I mean certain words were not translated but were Anglicized. For example, in the King James Version of 1611 to the present NKJV, the Greek word baptizo [βαπτίζω] is spelled out and given an English form. Why? The King James translators were members of the Anglican Church and practiced sprinkling rather than immersion. So, the English word “baptize” was created to cover that addition. However, the word “buried” in Romans 6:5 illustrates the biblical mode. One is buried in the water and raised from it (Romans 6:1-11). The New Testament never uses the word sprinkling or pouring to express a burial. For some reason, if a person can equate a biblical subject with a specific church which he disagrees with, he concludes that he is not rejecting God, only objecting to that church’s interpretation. When I read Romans 6:4 as one of the passages answering the question, “What is Baptism,” the daughter wrongly concluded that I was using a Baptist passage. I wasn’t. It was God’s word!
All English Bibles are translated from the same group of manuscripts. Whether you read from the King James or the Revised Standard, it is God’s word.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)).
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 (RSV)).