WHAT is TRUTH?
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
MAY 2, 2015
The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15, KJV)
If you have read John Gavazzoni’s excellent article entitled, “The Chief and Sole Messenger Who is the Message,” you know that Christ Himself is the Word of Truth. If you didn’t get to read it, but would like to, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you. I believe Christ IS the Word of God to us in ways we haven’t yet fully appreciated. Please don’t let the graphic, “Bible Quiz” turn you off. This quiz only has one question and there is no one right answer. The question is, how would you fellowship with God if you didn’t have a Bible?
Most of us have several Bibles on hand with various translations, references, study guides, and maps. We probably take that for granted. I have an excellent Bible Computer program, the On-line Bible, which I use for every writing and any other time I want to find something quickly. Lenny had a huge, bulky Bible with 26 translations in it that he used for study and comparison of passages. He also had a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which he often consulted.
I also have a Bible called the exeGeses Parallel Bible. It is formatted in two columns a word by word translation on one side and a transliteration of The King James Bible next to it. The author, Herb Jahn, Exegete, said of his calling: “In the year 1975, when I entrusted my whole being to Adonay, He instructed me to give up my profession and to hearken to His leading.” He was 64 years old when he began this work, and he spent the next ten years researching and translating the King James Version of the Bible, using this method. He reports that there are 1,400 words in this version, which is why it took him ten years to complete the first edition. I have the 4th edition, and in it, “the left hand column follows the tenses of the Authorized King James version. However, the Old Covenant was written primarily in the present active tenses. The exeGeses Companion Bible in the right column retains this present active tense, and brings to life a new experience of personal involvement in the reading.” It’s interesting reading, to be sure, because like The Emphatic Diaglott, another of our study guides, which translates the Greek New Testament word for word, Herb Jahn translated the entire Bible word for word from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
More important for my personal writing efforts, Jonathan Mitchell’s translation of The New Testament is a fully comprehensive rendering of the Greek, presenting the many nuances of the original text. This gives the reader a deeper, broader, and very helpful look at what was intended by the writer. It always brings the Good News to light. He also has written Comments on most of the New Testament books. These expand the text further by giving other commentators’ points of view. All in all, Jonathan has provided powerful tools for the Bible student, amateur or professional.
As a person who grew up reading the Scriptures, I realize how blessed I have been to have all this additional information available for me to ponder, chew on, digest, and see what the Spirit has in it for me and hopefully for my readers as well. What would I do if all these tools were taken away? What would you do?
Many of you have noticed that I include the “book, chapter, and verse” for any scriptures I quote. Some may think that’s a bit of an overkill, but because of my strict upbringing regarding the Bible as well as my college training in writing, I’m “hardwired” to source my quotations for two reasons. 1) I don’t want anyone to think I’m making up something to prove a point, and 2) I’m a woman, and women, even in 2015, have a hard go of it in the man’s world of Biblical authority, doctrine, and tradition. There’s definitely a glass ceiling in this area as well as in business, finance, or political corporate structures. The strides women have made in being thought of as equal in ability to men in spiritual matters have been a long, hard, tug of war which is still being fought. Paul looked forward to a “C” change in that arena, when he wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28, RSV) In the first real conversation Lenny and I had after we first met, he quoted this verse and right away, I knew he was a “keeper.”
The Lord brought me to my original question, what would you do if you didn’t have a Bible, in a most interesting way. In the past weeks, two different friends have sent me books reflecting the opinions they hold dear. Truthfully, I don’t relate to much of what the books contain, and one of them really got my “knickers in a twist,” as the Brits say, because I found it so far outside mainstream Christianity and my personal convictions. My friends John Gavazzoni and Harry Fox kindly allowed me to rant and rave in phone conversations, and based on what they each said, there’s nothing new in the books that hasn’t been around for hundreds of years. Jonathan Mitchell confirmed this via e-mail. I care about the senders of these books very much and wouldn’t hurt their feelings for the world, so I began to realize that the Lord had sent them to show me something about myself.
Somewhere along my journey, I had heard the statement, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” That made me smile, and I realized that it’s true of almost everything else, especially of books that present doctrine, tradition, or purport to have all religious truth. It helps me to know that when I’m off the mark, there’s still hope for me and you and everyone else. As He usually does when I’m flailing around in a quandary, the Lord shone through. He posed this question, “Suppose your friend is right and the Old Testament is fiction; how does that change your relationship to me?”
The Lord’s question helped me to “get over myself” and my outrage that one of the books I received claimed that a large portion of the Old Testament is fiction. If that were true, then it would invalidate Jesus’ remarks, and much of Paul’s foundation for the Gospel which he was commissioned to take to the Gentiles. After I quit stewing about that, these questions came to me. Where do I get my inspiration? Who guides my Bible studies? Who leads me into all truth? Who provides me with the answers my heart desires, which often end up as writings? The answer to all of that is, of course, the Holy Spirit!
When we first launched The Glory Road, occasionally, some chauvinistic “alpha male” would take it upon himself to get me, the little woman, in line by explaining to me the error of my ways. From the beginning of the web publishing, the Lord made it clear that I was not to fight, debate, or argue about any of the points He had given me to make. He didn’t say why exactly, but I was very relieved, because mixing it up with some know-it-all person is futile, frivolous, and infuriating to me. I usually just told the offender that I heard his arguments, did not agree, but I respected his right to have them, and I hoped he would respect my rights equally. If not, he could take it up with the Holy Spirit.
Remember that when Jesus was unjustly accused and hauled before Pilate, the Roman governor said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38, RSV) I’ve always thought Pilate’s comment was to cover his own guilt because he knew Jesus had committed no crime, and, it makes a perfect title for this writing.
Long ago, the Holy Spirit shined His Light for me on John’s comment in his first epistle: “but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (I John 2:27, RSV) Of course, this is not to say we cannot learn from each other, but God is the righteous judge, not man. We dare not judge another man’s beliefs or each others, for Christ died for each of us, and it is HIS job to bring us from where we began our journey to where HE wants us to be (See Rom. 14:4-13).
In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the movable type printing press, completed his “42-line Bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible. About 180 copies were printed, most on paper and some on vellum.” (Wikipedia). The reason this is important is that for hundreds of years after Christ died, there were no Bibles available for the masses, and even if there were, few could read them. Yet, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire like wild fire, beginning with the ministry of Paul to the Gentiles. How could this be? The power of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of men and women was at work, filling them with the faith to believe in God and in His first born son, whose blood was shed for the redemption of the whole world.
The Holy Spirit’s mission is always to present Christ to us, and through His ministry, we FEEL and TASTE and LUXURIATE in the love of God, which is the basis of our relationship with Him. He is still at work today. I have heard fascinating accounts of Muslims to whom Christ appeared and called them to Himself. Christians who spread the Good News in some Muslim areas of the world are being slaughtered for it, but when Christ Himself appears, nothing can stand in the way of the Gospel message being proclaimed. And what is that message? That GOD so LOVED the world that He sent His only begotten Son to love us enough to die for us, and still more glorious, to love us enough to live in us. The gospel is more about relationship, than it is about books.
Therefore, if God forbid, someone destroyed all our Bibles, our reference books, our concordances, our prayer books, our tapes and CDs and our on-line references, we would not only survive, but thrive because we have the Counselor, the indwelling Spirit, who translates God’s will for us in our individual lives and leads us and guides us into all truth. What a marvel that is for each of us. Many of you have had personal experiences of this and I’d really like to hear them.
Father, we thank You that we do have many Bible translations to consult, but we thank You more for giving us the Spirit of truth to guide us in all things pertaining to life and godliness. We worship and adore You, fall down before You, and sing praises to Your name, now and forever. Now to Him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore. Amen.