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When it Comes to Bibles, Glitter Isn't Always Gold

When it Comes to Bibles, Glitter Isn't Always Gold

All that glitters… is not gold. Gold coins can be forgeries and synthetic jewel stones can fool a novice. But they don’t trick informed buyers, and they don’t hold the value of authentic treasures. 

Just because we see gold lettering on a black cover saying Holy Bible doesn’t mean what’s inside every just-off-the-press, new translation is the real deal. 

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 NAS).

We must study the Word of God, to identify truth vs. fiction in the pages of new translations. Some writers and scholars take great liberty in interpreting what they think the Word says, rather than realizing the responsibility, and yes, danger in so doing. Perhaps without meaning to, they’ve stripped and robbed the passage of God’s intended message. 

God says we are to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth…” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV), in order to accurately mine the pure gold of His Word, and be able, through the power of the Spirit, to discern God’s everlasting truth from deception. 

I like to send short excerpts of Scriptures to friends when I know they’re struggling. So, this morning I picked up a devotional book a friend sent me for Christmas and found this verse:

“Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT).

Startled, I reread the quote and flashing red lights blinked in my mind. Being familiar with that passage, I picked up my New American Standard version and read:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 NAS).

Hmm, “let your requests be made known…” not telling or demanding what you think you need. Curious to see what the King James said, I checked.

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6 KJV).

Now I don’t mean to be cranky, nor am I splitting hairs, or suggesting only the King James version is to be trusted. So, I also went to the New King James version:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 NKJV).

The NIV says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present  your requests to God.” 

I remembered a warning: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 5:18-19 NAS).

The word used in the KJV is jot and it’s the Greek word iota. Iota means “a very small part of anything.” Just think, changing even a dash or a quotation mark could end in disaster for editors of Scripture.

“Tell God…” Really? Tell?

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 NAS).

Precious reader, you don’t tell God. He is the Holy God of the Universe. Before a word is on our tongue He knows what we’re about to say. Who in their right mind would presume to tell Him anything? But He invites and encourages us to ask—to request—there’s an enormous difference between telling and asking, isn’t there?

But isn’t that a problem today? We want the cliff notes. Cut-to-the-chase—make it short—dumb it down. We’ve lost sight of the holiness, sanctity, and accuracy of the Word of God in order to bring His Word down to our level of understanding, without the help of the Spirit of God.

“Thus, says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word!’” (Jeremiah 26:2 NAS)

Technology allows mankind to do amazing things, but we’ve become proud. Scripture calls it puffed up. Isn’t that the way we act? Some in the church are so puffed up they no longer stand in the inerrancy of Scripture, a seven-day creation—rather than evolution, sanctity of life, marriage between a man and a woman, or the sovereignty of God. And shame on the pastor if he mentions sin or the blood atonement.

For years I made simple help me God requests. He would deliver me, and my attitude would shout, see ya later, which translated—when I get in trouble again. Little by little, we’ve reduced God in our hearts and minds to a benevolent old grandfather who dotes on His kids or to a genie in a bottle… embraced when you need Him, otherwise shoved in the closet. 

Both are lies from Satan. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament—the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And He is in control, even when we think we are. 

If you were to thumb through the Word, you’d notice a repeated reaction every time a human saw an angel—they fell on their faces as though dead. What do you think your reaction will be the first time you see King Jesus? Or anything within the heavenly realm? Horror and regret or unspeakable joy and worship?

Reading back through Moses’ life from the burning bush forward, he was always on his face—literally, face down in the dirt—before God. Stretched flat before the power of the presence of God. Could it be we’ve lost the ability to humble ourselves? The ability to truly worship? Because we’ve allowed our own interests to shove God off our heart’s throne?

My next issue with this translation says, “… and thank him for all he’s done.”

There’s a difference between thanks and thanksgiving and the difference lies in our heart’s attitude. The word "thanks" slips off our tongues like dandelion wisps floating on the breeze. But thanksgiving is an attitude of praise freely flowing from our heart—a continual bubbling spring of giving thanks.

I have grandchildren who, when they want something, turn on the charm—kinda like we do when we’re caught in a situation only God can solve. But the moment I deliver to the kiddos, they give me a brief hug, say “thanks,” and they’re gone… until the next time they want something.

But don’t we treat God the same way? Maybe that’s why more of our prayers aren’t answered. 

If the days ahead are darker than the ones we’re currently traveling (and Scripture tells us they will be) we’d best be seeking, asking, and knocking to be sure we’re reading His words...  and understanding what those words really say if we’re going to have the strength to stand firm and occupy until He comes.

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 NAS).


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