The Bible, Providence, And Translations

Albert E. Farley

It was God's purpose, from the time of Moses, onward, to have His Holy Will recorded in written form for the guidance of man. Beginning with the ten commandments, written on stone, continuing through the writing of Malachi, and, then, throughout the books of the New Testament, God has commanded that His Word be written. See Exodus 34:27; Deuteronomy 17:18; 27:3; 31:9, 24-26; Jeremiah 30:2; John 20:31; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Jude 3; Revelation 1:11; 21:5.

The Bible is complete. Paul declared, in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Also, Peter wrote, in 2 Peter 1:3, that God has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

There are two reasons why we can have the greatest confidence in the accuracy and the completeness of the Old and New Testament books. First, the books of our Old Testament are the same books that composed the Holy Scriptures when Jesus was upon earth. Jesus was the incarnate Word. John 1:1-14. If the scriptures of His day had been deficient in any way, He, surely, would have corrected and rectified them. He did not. Secondly, Jesus promised His apostles that He would send the Holy Ghost the Spirit of truth upon them and that He (the Spirit) would teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance whatsoever He (Christ) had said unto them. The Spirit would guide them unto all truth and show them things to come. John 14:17; 16:13.

This promise was kept, beginning on the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2. The apostles spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter wrote their books of the New Testament. Also, the apostles were given the power to lay their hands upon certain ones, and certain gifts of the Spirit were imparted severally (individually), as He willed. Acts 8:18; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. By this means, men such as Mark, Luke, and James and Jude (the Lord's brothers) were guided into writing the books of the New Testament that bear their names.

Furthermore, God promised that His Word would be preserved. Jesus said, in reference to the Law of Moses, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18. If God would preserve every jot and tittle of the Law, He certainly is going to preserve the gospel! We are assured that the word of the gospel will live and abide forever. 1 Peter 1:22-25. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." 24:35. He further said, in John 12:48, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." In the final judgment, the books will be opened, and the dead will be judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works. Revelation 20:12. With these great truths in mind, we are comforted in knowing that the power of God has preserved His Holy Word through His marvelous providence.

In the passing of time it became necessary to translate the Bible into the many languages of the earth. We are truly thankful to have the Bible in our English language. The King James Version of the Bible has blessed generations of English-speaking peoples since its completion in A.D. 1611. The translators of this version were scholars, but they were not inspired men. They made choices in word selections: some were good, and some were not as good. Concerning their translation work, they wrote, "Lastly, wee haue on the one side auoided the scrupulositie of the Puritanes, who leaue the olde Ecclesiasticall words, and betake them to other, as when they put washing for Baptisme, and Congregation in stead of Church:" (Copied from a reprint of the original edition of 1611, "The Translators To The Reader.") Regarding "Baptisme" (baptism), I believe they might have better translated it "immersion." See The Living Oracles and McCord's New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel translations. Concerning "church," so much confusion and misunderstanding would have been avoided if ekklesia had been translated "congregation" or "assembly."

As time passes, all living languages change. Therefore, it becomes necessary to revise translations and to make new ones. The American Standard Version is another great English translation. Recently, the New King James Version has been completed and is a great translation for modern readers. I recommend these to our readers to be used as primary study Bibles. I use many different translations of the Bible in comparative readings and studies. Editor.


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