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Darkness to Light - Vol. III, No.9
Darkness to Light
Volume III, Number 9
Presented by Darkness to
Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla
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Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament - Translated by Gary F. Zeolla. The ideal version for the serious student of the Bible. The only Bible that is a literal translation of the Majority Greek Text, brings out nuances of the Greek text, and includes study aids within the text. Promotes understanding of what the New Testament writers originally wrote. Second edition now available in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.
Even More Email Exchanges on a Variety of Subjects
I'm still going through old email exchanges I saved from the last couple of years. So below are some dealing with a variety of subjects. The emailers' comments are printed in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.
>Subject: once saved always saved
A young lady headed for college spoke with me today and stated something that tore at my heart. She said that she feels she is being torn in two. Her mother is telling her to live a godly life, and her friends are telling her to do anything she wants, as long as she believes, she will remain saved, no matter what she does. If you have a daughter, would you want her to follow the friends' advice?
If not, why not? Since according to your theology, it doesn't matter what a person does. They cannot lose their salvation.
Whose choice caused Satan to get kicked out of heaven?
Whose choice caused Adam and Eve to get kicked out of the garden?
Whose choice caused the Spirit of God to depart from Saul?
Why does the Bible contain the word IF?
Why does the Bible say whosoever?
Does it not bother the proponents of the OSAS doctrine that it is one of the leading causes of so many people making shipwreck of their faith? (1Tim. 1.49)
If someone is truly saved, then due to their regenerated nature, their innermost desire will be to live a life pleasing to God. So "doing whatever you want" would mean avoiding sin and pursuing righteousness.
Moreover, if someone is truly saved and they sin, then the Holy Sprit will convict them of their sin, and the person will be led to repentance. If someone can sin with impunity, then they are not saved. This is what I believe John meant by the following:
Everyone having been begotten from God is not practicing sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to be sinning, because he has been begotten from God (1John 3:9; ALT).
True believers cannot be "practicing sin" because the Holy Sprit will convict them and turn them from their sin. If a person can continue in sin, then again, they are not saved.
So the problem here is not with the doctrine of eternal security (which is how the doctrine should be referred to), but with the very obviously false conversions of your friend's friends.
Note: It was this email that promoted me to write the article "Do whatever you want to do." See that article for further details on this subject. And see my Scripture Workbook for the Biblical basis for the doctrine of Eternal Security and responses to Scripture verses used in objection to it.
>Subject: Church of Christ
First of all, I would like to compliment you on your articles concerning the "Church of Christ." I would like to tell you my story about them.
About 5 months ago a friend at work (We'll call him John) had a Bible out and was doing some sort of "Bible homework." I was very interested, because it is rare to see someone involved with the Lord these days, plus a little...okay, a lot of me just wanted to sit around and discuss Christianity.
At first the conversation was going great. I agreed on a majority of what he said. He told me that he belonged to the "Church of Christ"… I had never heard of them before until that day. Then he bought up the question about my "Baptism." I told him that I was baptized when I was 18. At the time of my baptism, I believed I wanted God in my life, Christ died for my sins, and therefore I was baptized. Then he told me that I wasn't baptized correctly. I asked him on what authority he based that claim. He told me that I never was a disciple. Upon hearing this, I was a little distressed that he was looking at me as a heathen, when in my heart I felt the spirit of the Lord pass through me at the moment I was baptized.
So I just brushed it off and listened to more of his preaching. He told me that the Church of Christ has been around since the first century, and further more he could prove it. So I said go on… I admit at the time I was being a little arrogant because I consider myself somewhat of a history buff. He couldn't prove it. He couldn't give me proof of what country or culture kept the "faith" alive. He kept on talking about the way the church has stayed the same, and the Catholics tried to simulate the first century Christians. I said, "Why is the Church of Christ limited to the first century? If nothing has changed, then the teachings would have withstood time, and we don't need to go back to the 'basics' of the first century, especially since the church has been around the last 2000 years under the same name and gospel."
I told him that I do not recall in all of my Medieval studies ever hearing about the "Church of Christ" I remember learning about, Catholic's, Rosicrucian's, Lutheran's, Cathar's, Templar's…etc, but never "Church of Christ." I admit to being ignorant of the beginnings of this particular sect, but I do not recall learning about it in the Dark Ages or the late medieval time period. So he dropped that subject.
Then I asked him about a comment he made about not needing to preach or learn about The Revelation or the Old Testament. Concerning Revelation, He said "That book is not valid today because all those things have already have happened to the first century Christians. I then asked him if that were true, then explain all of the meanings of the prophecies and enlighten me, because this was news to me. He said that it was pointless because these were past events. And of course he could say nothing more about the Old Testament than what a common person knew from watching the Ten Commandments with Charleston Hesston. But again, he pointed out the fact that the Old Testament was irrelevant because Jesus said it was irrelevant in the New Testament. I asked him if he never read Jeremiah, and Ezekiel etc… how could he understand what Christ was referring to in his teachings. Again he said it was irrelevant.
Then he told me that he gave tithing to the Church of Christ every week, and professed his sins to his "group." I asked him why he needed the approval of man to feel forgiven. Plus, I told him that I was no expert on the Bible, but I recall a passage from Matthew somewhere that said, "give to charity in secret." If I were to give to anyone for the sake of charity, it would be an amount determined by me, and only God and I would know of such deeds. As far as meeting to discuss the Bible, I would only do it to learn together with other Christians with the Spirit of Christ residing over, not by a tape from an unknown minister and a group leader that determines the direction of my knowledge. And I most certainly would not stew over every sin of the week to feel more faithful. I told him, "I thought God said to give him our burdens and to ask him forgiveness and it will be granted."
Like I said, I am by no means a scholar Christian. I keep learning more and more every day. But I do feel this thing inside of me that compels me to avoid rhetoric such as that. I told my friend to beware of knowing too much. He said that I was wrong for saying that. I then told him for all of the knowledge of the Pharisees, and scribes thought they knew, Christ rebuked them too. And I told him that the more learning he does, and fails to see what is right, the harsher he will be judged. He told me that I was wrong.
He converted others the next few months before I left. Their conversions would be 1-2 weeks from the first meeting to the baptisms. I talked to a few members of his new "group." They all said that they felt no change and still much unenlightened. I was very sad at this because, as ignorant and young as I was at the time of my baptism, I did feel the Spirit of God enter into me, and growing everyday. I realized that I did not agree at all with what was being preached by the Church of Christ. I did however try to share some of my learning with the members of his group to give them some other views and perspectives to ponder. This made him angry. He basically treated me as I was the Devil trying to give Eve the forbidden fruit. His "group" was trapped, in what is my opinion, in a CULT. I am sorry that I did not know much of the Bible or my own faith to help those lost see what they were getting themselves into.
Well there you go, that is my story about my first encounter with the "Church of Christ." Like I said, I am by no means an authority on the Bible, or religion. But there is this thing inside of me, what I choose to believe is the Spirit of God, that tells me to not become involved in false preaching's as that.
Ps, I did love the wit in your articles.
Thank you for relating your story. It sounds like you handled the situation very well. Praise God for His leading in this matter.
>Subject: WEB Version
I love your books and website! I read your review on the World English Version and I have some questions. The WEB is based on the American Standard Version. I have read that The English Revised Version (RV), directed by Westcott and Hort, was released in 1881 (NT) and 1885 (whole Bible). Their American counterparts released an American version of that work in 1901, which was the American Standard Version (ASV). In 1960, the Lockman Foundation released the New American Standard Version (NASV). Now, the World English Bible (WEB) has been released.
Now, according to the translator's own page, the ASV "has earned the reputation of being the rock of biblical honesty" (according to whom?). True, the ASV is widely regarded as one of the most literal versions ever. However, it is based on Alexandrian manuscripts for the NT. The WEB translator said he changed words for clarity, i.e. updating old English. And, he says he used the Majority Text for the updates and "major textual variants." That's fine, but what about the remaining main body of the NT that is still based on the Alexandrian text? It appears that the WEB is overwhelming based on the Alexandrian (Critical Texts) texts.
1. Is it true that the WEB only has updates based on the Majority Text but most of the text is from the Critical Texts?
2. Why would you recommend the WEB if this is true?
3. From doing a search on the translator for the WEB, I found that the translator is part of "True Grace Ministries" which is a CHRISTIAN UNIVERSALIST group. I know almost nothing about these people, but I suspect from their statement of faith that they believe ALL PEOPLE are covered by the Cross and will ultimately be saved. Do you know if this is true and could it have influenced the WEB translation?
Thanks for your response!
Thanks for the kind comments. My initial impression was that the WEB was supposed to have been updated to the MT throughout. However, once I had a chance to go over the text, it is clear that it has not been completely updated. As you say, "important variants" have been updated. These would be the ones listed in the first appendix of the second edition of my Analytical-Literal Translation (e.g. John 1:18; 3:13). And even most of the "significant textual variants" have been updated (e.g. John 9:8). But some less significant variants have not been updated (e.g. John 6:51; "I will give" appears twice in the MT but only once in the CT).
With all the important and most of the significant variants being updated, I would say the textual base for the WEB would be adequate for most readers. But if one wants to do a detailed study on the MT versus the CT, then a version like my own that is base strictly on the MT would be needed.
I don't have any details on the beliefs of the translator of the WEB. But I would hope that any personal biases he might have would not have infiltrated the text. I know I made a concerted effort not to let my own beliefs infiltrate my translation. Also, as it was being produced, the WEB was posted on the Web, with impute on the translation coming from many contributors, including me for a short while. So if any such biases had infiltrated the text, someone should have caught it.
>Subject: Bible versions
I am totally confused on this issue. I know that the Bible states in several places the God's words are everlasting. I also believe that we are expected to live according to God's word. Now where I am having the most difficulty is with Luke 4:4 which states the following.
KJV - And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
God's Word - Jesus answered him, "Scripture says, 'A person cannot live on bread alone'"
NASB - And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone,'"
Also Matthew 4:4 which states:
KJV - But he answered and said, It is written Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
God's Word - Jesus answered, "Scripture says, 'A man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.'"
NASB - But he answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"
As you can see all three are fairly close to being the same in Matthew 4:4, however, there is a big difference in Luke 4:4.
It seems to me if we are to live by every word of God, that God would provide a way for us to do that. I do not believe that God will ask us to do something that is impossible for us to do.
It seems to me that all of these different Bible versions make it almost impossible for anyone to know exactly what the words of God are. I do not believe that God intended that everyone would have to learn Hebrew and Greek in order to have every one of His words.
My question, then, is how do know which Bible version contains every single word of God. If we are truly to live by every word of God, it seems to me that there has to be one Bible that has every single word in it that God wants in it.
So please help me. Which Bible version contains each and every word that God intends us to live by.
It seems so far that all of these different versions cast a cloud of doubt over all the others. Because it appears that none of them reinforce any of the others. Some leave out certain words or entire verses. How can all of them be the Word of God.
I believe that the KJV has been around longer than any of the other English translation. I know also that it has stood the test of time. I know that many out there are claiming that it alone contains Words that God intended us to have, however, I do not know if this is true or not.
I still need to know which version has every word by which I am told by Jesus to live by.
Thank you for your help.
The question you are asking is exactly what I address in detail in my book Differences Between Bible Versions. I even quote Matthew 4:4. But in a nutshell, a literal translation like my ALT will give you the closest translation of the original Hebrew and Greek as is possible. And a formal equivalence version like the NKJV or NASB will be very close to the original texts, but won't give you "every word."
However, a dynamic equivalence version like "God's Word" will be far from giving you the actual words of God and thus is much less reliable.
For further details, please see my book.
>Subject: Your site on Bible versions
Just happened to stumble across your site looking for a comparison on the Ryrie Bible and the KJV. Your site is exceptional. It is now bookmarked in my Favorites folder and I hope to use it often.
Just letting you know that I like the site!
God bless you,
>Subject: Very good job!
I thought the articles featured on your website were extremely well-researched and substantial, from the best sources you could ever find on the topic: PEOPLE WHO BOTHERED TO SEARCH THE MATTER OUT FOR THEMSELVES!
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how narrow the KJV-Onlyist view of history is. I read older German Bibles (Luther 1545 and Zürcher 1531), and so, I tend to approach the Onlyism debate from the other side of the timeline (pre-1611). I have found that Onlyists seem to have their arguments pretty well prepared against newer versions, but very few seem to have really considered Bibles predating 1611. Those that make an effort to "defend" (their term, but it's more like "assert") the KJV against Bibles based on largely the same source texts can't seem to come up with anything really substantial to support their position. But the reasons for that have already been well covered in your articles.
Again, excellent work!
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