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Darkness to Light - Vol. V, No.6

Darkness to Light
Volume V, Number 6


Presented by Darkness to Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla

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Emails on a Variety of Topics

By Gary F. Zeolla


Going through old emails once again. Below are various exchanges on a variety of topics. My responses have been updated for inclusion here. The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs; my comments are in red.

>Subject: Checklist for Choosing a Church


Thanks for your work on the site. I have read many of the pages (about a year ago) and have popped back now to get some assistance in some decision making.

I have recently moved and am trying to find a new church. There are many good churches in my area, but I have narrowed it down to two.

One is a larger church with more programs. We have a 14 month old, so the kids programs and greater number of families will make church 'more enjoyable' and 'easier'.

Then the other church is a smaller one. It was very welcoming, but with less programs (since it has less people). There would probably be more things we could help out with there.

The problem is should I go to the former - where I will 'get' more, or the latter where I can 'give' more (i.e., there is a greater need)?

My wife prefers the former church since it is good for her to have more women friends at church, and for our son to have more church friends when he is at school (few years down the track). But I wonder whether this is a good motive?

Neither option seems ungodly or evil—but I wondered whether you had any quick thoughts on the subject. If you are busy, no worries.

Thanks again for your site.


I'd say it depends on where you feel most comfortable, in a large group or a small group? Personally, I actually find it harder to meet people at large church. I get "lost in the crowd" and end up not talking to people. Or, I meet a lot of people, but have a hard time remembering their names let alone make friends with them. But in a smaller, more intimate setting, I find it easier to actually get to know people.

But that's just me. Some are the exact opposite. But my point is, a larger church doesn't necessarily mean it will be easier for your wife and son to make friends there. It depends on their personality. That's hard to determine right now for your son, but your wife needs to think in such terms.


>Subject: Seeking advice


I'm one who believes in interlinear/strictly literal approach of translation. As such, I have a very favorable opinion toward your ALT.

I believe you said you've been using NKJV [New King James Version] as your primary Bible and LITV [Literal Translation of the bible, now titled KJ3] as your secondary Bible (correct me if I'm wrong). Currently I have 4 translations - NKJV, REB [Revised English Bible], NIV [New International Version], GNB [Good New Bible, also called Today's English Version]—and I read NKJV and REB the most. Of these two, I read NKJV much more often. Naturally I spend much more time on it that REB, so what will be my 'main' Bible is an important question to me. Now, I take it that you are very much for NKJV. I am, too. What I'm not sure is that whether it is truly enough to be my main Bible. In other words, do you think I should change my main Bible to a more literal one and use NKJV as a complement to aid in my understanding, like I'm now using REB for? Also, I'm curious whether you still keep using NKJV as your main Bible.

By the way, I'm just a lay reader.

Thank you,



First off, I really like your first name!

That said, my newest book, God-given Foods Eating Plan, is a good example of my version usage. I quote almost exclusively from the NKJV for the OT, but for the NT I use my own Analytical-Literal Translation. I also quote once from the NASB [New American Standard Bible]. Otherwise, I will refer to the LITV at times, along with all of the versions I have installed for my BibleWorks program. Along with the NKJV and NASB, these would be the KJV, ESV [English Standard Version], NIV, NLT [New Living Translation], NRSV [New Revised Standard Bible], the old Geneva Bible, Young's Literal Translation, and Brenton's translation of the Septuagint.

So I compare a lot of versions as need be, especially now that I am working on updating the ALT for the Third Edition. I also use my NKJV Interlinear, again especially when I am working on the ALT. It has a both a very literal interlinear translation, along with a somewhat freer translation. This freer translation, along with the freer renderings of the NIV and NLT, I refer mainly to for ideas for the figurative, bracketed renderings in the ALT. But for ideas for the actual literal text and my own Bible study, I stick with the more literal versions.

But to answer your question simply, my main versions are my ALT for the NT and the NKJV or NASB for the OT.

Note: The NKJV Interlinear is without a doubt my favorite interlinear. It is utilizes Hodges and Farstad's Majority Greek Text. This differs slightly from the Byzantine Majority Text my ALT is based on, but it is so close that the interlinear has proven invaluable in working on the ALT. It had been out-of-print for some time, but Thomas Nelson recently re-released it and re-titled it The Majority Text Interlinear. So if the reader is looking for an interlinear, I would highly recommend this new edition.

>Subject: Jesus was resurrected on Sunday?

I wonder if you could explain the logic for this? I have never understood this position, as it requires less than three full days, and the Scriptures clearly state 'three days AND three nights.'

If it could be proven that Jesus wasn't raised on Sunday, would you think the day on which He was raised should be considered holy?


Jesus most definitely was raised on a Sunday. The text specifically says so:

And very early in the morning on the first [day between the] Sabbaths [fig., the first day of the week; i.e. early Sunday morning], they come [or, go] to the tomb, the sun having risen (Mark 16:2).

Note: The translation here is from the forthcoming Third Edition of the Analytical-Literal Translation. It is changed some from ALT2. For ALT3, I decided to go with a very literal translation for the main text, but then to give the generally accepted meaning of this somewhat awkward reading in brackets. And the meanings clear. The Sabbath was on Saturday, so the first day between two Sabbaths is a Sunday.

But getting back to the original question, the only issue is, was Jesus really crucified on a Friday? Many have thought that maybe it was a Thursday due to the "three days and three nights" statement of Matthew 12:40. But it is generally agreed that this was simply a poetic way of saying "three days." And the Jews counted it as a "day" if only a small part of a day was included. So being in the tomb Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning would qualify as three days.

Note: As a very contemporary example, when Paris Hilton went into prison on a Sunday, just before midnight, the few minutes she was actually in prison on that Sunday counted as one full day off of her sentence. And when she left prison about 2:00 am that Thursday morning, she was also again given a full day off of her sentence. So she was credited with having served five days, even though she was really only in prison for three full days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), plus just a few minutes on Sunday and a couple of hours on Thursday. So if legally, we today count a small part of a day as full day, it is not strange that the Jews in Jesus time did as well.

Whew, I never thought I'd be referring to Paris Hilton in this newsletter!

>Subject: King James Version and the Apocrypha

I note that the King James Version of 1611 included the Apocrypha. How does that affect its standing, in your view?

I did not see this point addressed on your site, but if it was, I would appreciate it if you could refer me to the prior discussion.


I don't see it as a problem. The Apocrypha was included as a separate section, in-between the Old and New Testaments. So it was clearly offset from the "real" Bible books. This differs from many Catholic Bible which intermix the Apocryphal books among the OT books.

I do believe the Apocryphal books are worth reading, once, to help fill in the "gap" between the two Testaments. 1Maccabees in particularly is historically accurate.

>Subject: Variants and Inerrancy

Hi Gary!

I am assuming you are a Christian who believes that God's Word is inspired and inerrant in the original autographs...

My question is: how can I reconcile the doctrine of the infallibility of the available manuscripts with the seeming fact of scribal errors.

How can today's Bible be infallible if a scribal error could give a wrong fact, such as the number of horses a king had, or whatever.

Can you give me a faithful, logical and clear answer to this?

My simple way out of this would be to choose one version of the Textus Receptus, declare it to be inerrant and the scribal errors are not errors.

Please help!

In Christ,

The doctrine of inerrancy states that the original manuscripts of the Bible are inspired. It does not claim that copies of those manuscripts are inspired. So there is not conflict between the doctrine and the presence of textual variants.

Now I do believe that God was overseeing the transmission of the manuscripts to be sure that no readings were lost. But it is the job of textual critics to determine which of the variants reading are most likely original. And the vast majority of the time, this is very easy to determine as obvious mistakes are easy to spot.

Moreover, for the vast majority of the text of the NT there are no variants. And when there are, the majority of the time, they are very minor, often not even showing up in translation. But there are some important variants. These are listed in the first appendix of ALT2 and will also again be in ALT3.

Then an even more extensive list of significant textual variants will be included in the forthcoming new edition of the ALT: Companion Volume. It will also include a chapter discussing the issue of variants in general.

In any case, for these important and significant variants, you need to decide for yourself which of the different methods of textual criticism is best. For me, that is the Byzantine tradition and Majority Text method, hence why my translation is based in the Byzantine Majority Text.

Much more on all of this can be found in my Bible versions book and the forthcoming new Companion Volume. But the important point is, for the vast majority of the NT, there is either no question as to what is the original reading or the variant is very minor. It is only with regard to the variants listed in the ALT's appendix or that you should even concern yourself with, and to a lesser degree the significant variants in the companion Volume. But either way, those constitute a very small percentage of the NT.

>Subject: RE: Variants and Inerrancy


Thank you for taking the time to send me your response.

It was very helpful!!


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16, The Holy Bible

>Subject: Bible verse

First of all, Gary, I would like to thank God for you and everything I have learned from you through your website. I wanted to see what you think about john 2:17. Which do you believe is translated correctly, the Received Text: "zeal for your house has eaten me up," or the Critical Text: "zeal for your house will consume me." Once again thank you very much for everything you do. I truly enjoy reading and learning from you. May the Lord continue to bless and protect you always.


First off, you're quoting from the KJV or NKJV for the first reading, both of which use "eat up" here. Most other versions have "consume." These are just synonymous terms, so either would be legitimate translations of the Greek verb.

However, there is a textual variant here for the tense of the verb. The TR has an aorist (past) tense, while the MT and CT both have a future tense. In cases where the MT and the CT agree against the TR, you can be very confident that the former is the original reading.

This variant will be included in the "Significant Textual Variants" chapter of the forthcoming new Companion Volume:

John 2:17 MT/ CT: will consume - TR: consumed

My own translation for the ALT, which is based on the MT, is as follows:

17Then His disciples remembered that it is written, "The zeal of Your house will consume Me." [Psalm 69:9]

>Subject: God's Grace

>Dear Gary,

I just want to thank you for the refreshing information that you send me. Most of all I want to thank my Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ for giving me ears to hear, and a heart to perceive truth. Gary, may the Lord continue to use you to His glory.

Your brethren Christ Jesus,


Price Drop!

The prices have been lowered for the paperback and both eBook formats for my God-given Foods Eating Plan book. Follow the link for details.

Differences Between Bible Versions
Discusses translation principles, Greek text-types, and KJV Onlyism.
Advocates a literal or formal equivalence translation method.
Advocates  the use of the Textus Receptus or Majority Greek Text for translating the New Testament.
Over thirty Bible versions are compared and evaluated.

Also by Gary F. Zeolla:
Fitness for One and All
Web site and FitTips for One and All newsletter.
Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals.


All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.