Thursday, January 12, 2017

eves-appleJust after Thanksgiving we start changing the decor around the house to one that foreshadowed December 25th.  In the middle of it is the tree.  Christmas is coming.  The tree is decorated with ornaments collected over 56 years of marriage.  Behind each ornament is a memory.  This makes them precious.  How can a cheap glass globe be precious?  Silly, isn’t it?  Yet, we cling to such due to the memories attached to them.

Precious things are broken, misplaced, lost, stolen, or forgotten.  It’s the world we live in.  Yet, we become attached to our things.  Some even take on a holy nature.  That happened to the brass serpent.  It started off with one purpose and morphed into another (2 Kings 18:4).  Human beings are experts in such.  Perfection is not our traveling companion!

In the beginning of the 17th century, a king decided the circulated versions weren’t adequate, so he authorized his.  Like anything new, it wasn’t well received and criticism followed its introduction.  Yet, it was the king’s project.  By the 19th century several publishing houses were printed it.  It had become “the” English population’s Bible.  By the early 20th century we had learned and accepted its shortcomings.  Acceptance led to preciousness!  Over 300 years of reading, teaching, and preaching elevated that position!

From the 17th through the early 20th century, readers knew the Bible was not to be added to nor subtracted from.  However, the King James committee had added words!  Some were italicized, others were “not.”  Most did not know the “not”!  Their reason for italicizing was accepted because in translation, words needed to be added to smooth out a sentence.  In certain places a word was added to make a statement “more” understandable.  Sometimes this helped, others it hindered.  It became a hindrance to truth when a supplied italicized word became a modern idol, leading to an erroneous belief.  The devil is capable of quoting scripture and misapplying it (Matthew 4:6).  He influences folks to follow his lead, sifting them as wheat (Luke 22:31).!

In the 13th century an Archbishop and a Cardinal decided that chapters and verses would be an aid to the reader.  Being a human endeavor, this help ended some chapters before God’s thought did.  Some verses were divided with the same results.  Despite these shortcomings, the “help” was incorporated into the King James Version.  In fact, the chapter and verse separations became so precious that teachers and preachers were expected to document everything with book, chapter, and verse.  This was not practiced prior to the work of the two clergymen.  Even inspired writers would write, “in a certain place” rather than specify where (Hebrews 2:6; 4:4).  Matthew and others would quote portions from the Old Testament, but not give the author (Matthew 1:22-23; 2:15).  Jesus himself did this (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 9:12; 11:10; 12:7; 15:3).  This modern practice became so precious that the absence of such was frowned upon.  Few seemed to realize or care that this was a man made addition rather than one demanded by God.  This preciousness made an exception into an unwritten law that developed into a “Bible” practice!  An innocent beginning that followed a precarious path.  Giving book, chapter, and verse isn’t wrong unless it is bound, simply because it has been backed by a few hundred years and defended with, “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  Human creeds are not God’s word!

Even little things that are precious can turn into man’s folly but be accepted as “a thus saith the Lord”!  It all started in the Garden.  If man remembers the origin of precision things and keeps the human separated from the divine, there is no problem.  If not, then there is a return to the Garden no matter how innocent it may seem (Genesis 3:1-6).

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”  (2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV).