RECOGNIZING THE

 WORD OF GOD IN ANY LANGUAGE

 

 


 

How do we recognize the word of God today?  I am personally convinced that the AV is God’s word (inspired, inerrant, infallible, perfect, etc. as defined by any “Bible”) in the English language.  How did I come to this conclusion?  There is no verse that says:  “The AV is the word of God”.  Granted.  Then again there are no verses that say: “All Bibles are the word of God”.  Yet many on the “critical text” side of this debate believe that “all Bibles” are the word of God.  There are no verses that say:  “Esther, Job, Matthew, Hebrews, 2 Peter and Revelation are the word of God” yet both sides of this debate believe this.   It is where both sides are in agreement, and the principles used to come to this agreement I have taken my stand.

There was a time in church history when there was “confusion”, “doubt” and “divisions” as to what exactly was the “inspired” text - the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  A decision was made based on certain criteria and for the most part the debate was settled.  What was that criteria?  For we find ourselves in another part of church history where there is again “confusion”, “doubt” and “division” over the inspired text.  This time however the debate is not about Books but about words.

There was no “verse” to say directly:   “These are the “inspired books of the Bible” any more than there is a particular verse that says:  “The AV is God’s word in English”.  If that were the criteria for making my decision then I frankly admit, I have no verse.  But then again, neither does the “critical text” side.  Many on the “critical text” side of this debate continually berate “KJV-only” brothers with:  “The KJV translators never claimed inspiration”.  Well neither did Matthew, James, Esther, and the author of Hebrews, etc.  It is a mute point.  The “critical text” side believes Matthew, James, Esther, and the book of Hebrews are inspired, as does “KJV-only” side.  They believe them to be inspired for exactly the same reasons I believe the AV to be God’s word today.  They are part of the recognized canon!  Recognized by whom and how I might ask?  I propose the following from Scripture:

 

I.  How was the word of God revealed?

     A. In sundry times and in divers manners God spake unto his people.

1.   Directly - God spoke directly to people

Gen. 2:16 The LORD God commanded the man
Gen. 3:8 They heard the voice of the LORD God
Gen. 4:6  The LORD said unto Cain
Gen. 7:1 The LORD said unto Noah
Gen. 12:1     The LORD said unto Abram
Gen. 25:23 The LORD said unto Rebekah
Gen. 31:3 The LORD said unto Jacob
Joshua 5:2 The LORD said unto Joshua
2 Kings 10:30 The LORD said unto Jehu

2. Appearances - God appeared unto men

Gen. 12:7, 17:1, 18:1 The LORD appeared unto Abraham
Gen 16:7-9  The LORD appeared unto Hagar
Gen. 26:2,24   The LORD appeared unto Isaac
Ex. 3:2  The angel of the LORD appeared unto Moses
Numbers 16:19, 20:6 The LORD appeared unto the entire congregation
Judges 6:12 The angel of the LORD appeared unto Gideon
Judges 13:3,8,8,22 The angel of the LORD appeared unto Manoah
1 Samuel 3:4,15,21 The LORD revealed himself to Samuel
Mark 16:14 Jesus appeared unto the eleven
Acts 26:16 Jesus appeared  unto Paul
1  Cor. 15:5-9 Jesus was seen by the apostles

3. Visions - God gave his word through visions

Gen. 15:1 The word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision
Gen. 46:2 God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night
Numbers 24:4,16 Balaam heard the words of God in a vision
2 Samuel 7:4,17 The word of God came unto Nathan in a vision
2 Chr. 32:32, Is. 1:1 The visions of Isaiah
Daniel 8:1 Daniel received the word of the Lord in a vision
Obadiah 1:1 The vision of Obadiah
Mt. 17:9 Peter, James and John saw a vision
Acts 10:3 Cornelius saw a vision
Acts 16:9 A vision appeared unto Paul
Acts 18:9 The Lord spake by a vision unto Paul

4. Dreams - God gave his word in dreams

Gen. 20:3  God came to Abimelech in a dream and said.
Gen. 28:12, 31:11  The angel of God spake unto Jacob in a dream
Gen 37:5 Joseph dreamed a dream
Gen. 41:1,25 God showed Pharaoh his word in a dream
1 Kings 3:5 God gave Gibeon his word in a dream
Mt. 1:20 God gave Joseph his word in a dream
Acts 2:17 Your old men shall dream dreams

   5. Revelations - God gave his word by revelations

Amos 3:7  The Lord God revealeth his secret unto the prophets
Mt. 11:27      Whomsoever the Son will reveal him
Mt. 16:17 Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee
Luke 2:26 It was revealed unto Simeon by the Holy Ghost
**Romans 16:25,26 According to the revelation of the mystery
1 Cor. 2:20 God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit
2 Cor. 12:1,7 Revelations of the Lord
Galations 1:12 Received it by the revelation of Jesus Christ
 **Epesians 3:3,5 By revelation he made known unto Paul the mystery
1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed not unto themselves, but unto us
Revelations 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ

**Notice - but now is made manifest by the SCRIPTURES, Apostles/Prophets by the Spirit of God.

Comments:

1. I think most of this is pretty clear and nobody would dispute the interpretation of these verses.  God in time past spoke directly to men.  Those men who received direct revelation needed no further witness but that direct revelation.  They themselves were convinced it was the very word of God – inspired, infallible, inerrant, perfect, etc.  They did not question it in the least.  They submitted themselves to it without reservation or doubt. 

a. The question remains as to how they convinced others that the revelation they received was indeed the word of God – inspired, infallible, inerrant, perfect, etc.  Abram convinced Isaac (Gen. 22:8) that it was indeed the very word of God.  So much so that Isaac submitted to be sacrificed on the testimony of his father.  Where did Isaac get his “faith”?  He had up to that time no “direct revelation” and yet he “believed”.  He took the word of his father – a faithful witness. 

b. Did they convince any others?  If they were unable to convince others could it indeed be the word of God?  Noah did not convince the vast majority yet he did convince his own family.  Lot on the other hand did not convince his entire family.  What was the difference?  The lack of a consistent witness in the life of Lot hence the division in Lot’s household. 

2. This of course presents a problem for many that accept all Bibles as the word of God for low and behold “The Koran” and “The Book of Mormon” both claim direct revelation. Granted this is the extreme position of those who hold “all Bibles are the word of God”.  Yet, many would reject these books.  I ask on what grounds were they rejected other than they are not part of the “standard” Scriptures, or that they were never received as the “word of God” by the church of the living God?  Were they not rejected because a faithful witness was lacking or that they do not exalt the Lord Jesus Christ or they do not bear righteous fruits, they bear not the witness of the Spirit of God? 

3. We must ask ourselves what “criteria” are we to use in recognizing the <revealed> word of God.  Opinion?  Preference? Tradition? Critical method? Faith? Principles of canon? The Scriptures? 

We now move on in Scriptures in what I call the “transition” period.  Revealed word conveyed or communicated to others.  How was this done?  The Scriptures speak for themselves.

6. Preaching

Titus 1:2,3 In due times manifested his word through preaching
Hebrews 1:1,2 God spoke through the prophets and his Son
John 3:34 He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God
Mt. 9:35 Jesus went about the cities teaching and preaching
Acts 8:35  Philip preached from the scriptures
Acts 13:5 They preached the word of God
Acts 15:35 They taught and preached the word of God
Acts 17:13 The word of God was preached of Paul
2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word! 

Comments:

1. God revealed his word through the PREACHING of preachers.  Those who claim to give you the word of God today – are they preachers?  Or are they bookworms?  That is to say - we should pay more attention to what the preachers are preaching (the word of God) than to what some "professor" has to say who has never built a church from scratch, does not actively win souls, etc.  The preacher is more likely to have the word of God than the bookworm. 

2. Unless the brethren think this “weird” I remind them that every true Christian receives the 66 books of “canon” (standard) as the very word of God.  They do not “doubt” that the book of James, 2 Peter, or Revelations should be and is part of the word of God.  Nor do they have any reservations about “excluding” The epistle of Barnabas, The Gospel of Thomas, Maccabees, Baruch, etc.... They accept this by “faith”.  Based on what criteria?  Most believe all 66 books as the standard because the very people that “preached” the word of God to them believed thus.  Even though the “oldest and best manuscripts” contain as part of the canon the apocrypha they reject the apocrypha and receive the true word of God.  One of the most consistent criteria used by ALL in determining the “standard” is “apostolicity”, that is, was it written by an “apostle”?  And was that apostle recognized by the church as such?  See 1 Cor. 9:1-2 where Paul defends his apostleship by making reference to “his converts”!  Paul was a preacher.  See also my previous post “My understanding of the other side – and comments”.

  

     B. It is written - the word of God was written down – Scriptures 

1. Written by God himself

Ex. 24:12 Commands which I [God] have written
Ex. 31:18 Written with the finger of God
Ex. 32:32 Out of thy book which thou hast written
Ex. 34:1 I will write upon these tables the words
Hosea 8:12 I [God] have written to him the great things of my law

2.  Written down by men

Ex. 17:14 The Lord said: Write this for a memorial in a book
Ex. 24:4  Moses wrote all the words of the Lord
Numbers 33:2 Moses wrote by the commandment of the Lord
Dt. 17:18 Write a COPY of this law in a book
Dt. 27:3 Thou shalt write all the words of this law
John 20:30,31 Not written... but these are written that ye might believe
1 Cor. 14:37 I write unto you the commandments of the Lord

Comments:

1. We see the transition.  The word of God was revealed directly to individual men.  They themselves convinced and persuaded others that they received the “very word of God”.  They did this by “preaching”!  It was later then “written” down. There were some Scriptures that were written with the finger of God.  Again this was no doubt directly revealed – as with Moses receiving the commandments of the Lord. 

2. The question remains: How were these “preached” and later “written” words recognized as the “very word of God – inspired, infallible, inerrant, perfect, etc.?  By the “critical text” method?  I trow not. 

III.  How was the word of God acknowledged or recognized as such?

 

    A. By the testimony of the Holy Ghost

John 14:26 The Holy Ghost...shall teach you all things...into rememberance
1 Cor. 2.10-16 Holy Ghost teaches us
Hebrews 10:15 The Holy Ghost also is a witness to us
1 John 5:6-10 The Spirit beareth witness because the Spirit is truth
1 John 5:9  The witness of God is greater than the witness of men
Acts 15:7,8 God bore witness to the word of the gospel

    

     B. By signs and wonders

Gen. 9:12,17 The token of the covenant [to confirm that God promised]
Gen. 17:9-14 Circumcision...a token of the covenant 
Ex. 4:1-28 vs 5  Signs given that they might believe the word of  God
Ex. 10:1-2 Signs given so that they might tell their sons and their son's sons
Ex. 31:13-18 Sabbath a sign that God created the world in 6 days
**Nu. 17.5 That the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom
Judges 6:17  Shew me a sign that thou talkest
1 Kings 13:1-5 This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken
2 Kings 20:9 This sign shalt thou have...that the Lord will do as he hath spoken
Jer. 44:28,29 Whose words shall stand, mine or theirs?  A sign given.
Mk.16:20 Confirming the word with signs following
Acts 2:22 Approved of God by miracles, wonders and signs
Acts 14:3 Gave testimony unto the word by granting signs and wonders.
Romans 15:18,19 Through mighty signs and wonders
Hebrews 2:1-4  God bore witness to his word by signs, wonders, divers miracles

                    

   C. By faithful witnesses

2 Cor. 13.1 In mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses is every word established
1John 5:9 We receive the witness of men

        1. Witness of Israel -

Romans 3:1,2 Unto them were committed the oracles of God
Dt. 4:33,36 Israel chosen to keep word
Ex. 19:9 God spoke unto Moses that Israel might believe for ever
Ex. 20:22 Israel saw that God spoke from Heaven
Isaiah 43:10-12 Ye are my witnesses saith the Lord
Isaiah 8:1,2 A faithful witness recorded the words of God

2. Witness of the Church of the living God -

1 Tim. 3:15 Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth
Rev. 3:8 Philadelphia kept his word (find that church!)
Acts 5:29-32 We are his witnesses and so is the Holy Ghost
Acts 10:40,41 Unto witnesses chosen before of God even us
Acts 22:15 Thou shalt be witnesses unto all men
2 Tim. 2:1,2 Words committed unto faithful men
1 John 1:1,2 What they saw they bore witness to
John  5:33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the  truth.
John 15:27 Discipes bear witness

 

D. By fruits -

    1. Life -

1 Peter 1:23-25 Born again by the word of God
James 1:18 Begat us with the word of truth
2 Peter 1:4 By promises of God we are partakers of the divine nature
John 5:24 Hearing his word and believing his word given eternal life
John 6:63,68 Words are life, He has the words of eternal life

    2. Faith -

Romans 10:17 Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God
John 20:31 These are written that ye might have life
Luke 16:29 Let them hear Moses and the prophets
Pr. 22:19-21 Words given that we might trust the Lord

    3. Righteousness -

Mt. 7:15-20 By their fruits ye shall know them
Mk. 4:14-20  The word produces fruit 30, 60 and 100 fold
Luke 8:11-15 They keep the word  bearing fruits with patience
Col. 1:5,6 Through the word ye bear fruits
John 5:36 Works bear witness

Comments:

1. These are the Biblical criteria to use in recognizing the word of God.  They can be used by all believers in any language no matter what their station in life.

 

2. The testimony of the Holy Ghost is some times laughed at or spurned.  Many times the “critical text” side throw this into the AV Bible believers face with something like the following: 

“You ‘KJV-only people are like the Mormons who think they can find the truth by praying and asking God to show them truth”.

What is wrong with praying and asking God for truth is beyond me.  Wasn’t this David’s constant prayer (Ps 27:11, 31:3, 43:3, etc.).  Mormons are not wrong for praying.  They are wrong for not receiving God’s answer to their prayer – ending up at a Bible believer’s doorstep! 

Sometimes the accusation is:  “They think God told them what the word of God is”.   How is this to be interpreted?  Didn’t God tell Abraham?  Isaac?  David, Paul, Peter, etc. the word of God?  God didn’t tell the “early church” what the word of God was or what the limits of the canon were?  Is the “critical text” side really trying to tell people to believe something the Spirit of God did not bear witness to?  Surely not.  

 2 Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 

3. Signs and wonders confirmed the word of God.  This of course would only be needed at the beginning when the word was first given.  Interesting enough most of the “critical text” side wants to “omit” the last part of the Gospel of Mark where the AV teaches us clearly WHY God gave the signs.  Pentecostals and the “critical text” side both miss the point.  

      a. Please take note that when Moses went before Israel and Pharaoh a “sign” was required to confirm the word.  Also notice that “signs” were given to the Apostles to confirm the word. 

       b. In reading the histories of missionary endeavors into “cannibal tribes” and also talking with modern day missionaries doing tribal work one thing is obvious.  There are two conflicting “final authorities” when entering tribal work.  The word of the “witch doctor” that represents the “word of the devil” and the word of the missionary that claims to be presenting the word of the one true God.  There is a “dead lock” until the missionary shows that “his medicine” is more powerful than the “witch doctors”.  That is a sign to the “heathen” which is the true word of God.  May I suggest Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson or any of the biographies of Studd, Goforth, Judson, Patton, etc. 

4. The word of God once confirmed was committed to the care of Israel (Old Testament) and now the Church of God (New Testament and Old Testament).  The Jews had a history of “standardizing” their Hebrew text.  The current standard is the Massoretic Text.  The Church of God has also “standardized”.   That standard being the Textus Receptus – the text received by all. 

      a. If we can find a time in history where it was clear WHAT the Church of God recognized as “the standard” then we can identify the true word of God today.  There was a Church that “kept his word” Rev. 3.8 we would do well to find that Church!

      b. There is no doubt from either side that the Textus Receptus was the standard in Greek – this is confirmed by the fact that every Bible in every language was translated from the Textus Receptus through 350+ years after the Reformation.  The English AV was THE recognized standard for 350+ years.  To this there is not doubt, argument or division.

      c. The question asked, however, is:  “Is it STILL the standard”?  Obviously it is not for the “critical text” side.  It is not their standard.  They have REJECTED its authority.  They feel quite confident that they can find fault with it, correct it and belittle those who STILL believe it.

      d. I remind our dear brothers that the AV (English standard) was THE STANDARD accepted by ALL Bible Believers for over 350+ years.  It behooves them to prove that the AV is no longer the standard.   They must prove that something has “replaced” the AV as the standard.  That Something must be recognized by ALL as the standard.  For low and behold on the “critical text” side they are divided into 100’s of fractured groups as to which is the “most accurate”, “best versions”, “most literal”, “most faithful”, etc. 

5. Fruit must be a criteria.  Please note that the great debate on AUTHORITY between Korah and Aaron was decided by FRUITS!  Aaron’s rod that budded was the deciding factor!  The correlations are astounding.  There can be no doubt whatsoever as to the fruits of the AV.  As for the modern versions for the most part they have all died on the vine.  Proof?  Where is the RV of 1881 today?  The ASV of 1901?  Where are the 100+ versions that challenged the AV’s authority today?   

IV. Facts about the word of God 

  A. The word of God is without error -

John 10:35 The scripture cannot be broken
John 17:17  The word is truth
Ps. 119:140  The word is pure
Ps. 119:128 All precepts are right
Ps. 119:160  Word is true from the beginning
Titus 1:2 God cannot lie
Hebrews 6:18 God cannot lie
Rev. 21:5 Words are faithful and true

B.  God's word is preserved -

Mt. 24:35, Luke 21:33 My words shall not pass away
Ps. 119:152 Thy testimonies founded for ever
Isaiah 30:8 Written in a book that it might last forever
Isaiah 40:8  The word of God shall stand forever
1 Peter 1:23-25 Word of God endureth forever
2 Peter 1:19 We have a sure word of prophecy
Mt. 5:18 One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
Luke 16:17 Not one tittle of the law shall  fail

         C.  God's word should not be added unto -

Deut. 4:2  Ye shall not add to the word neither diminish
Deut. 12:32  Thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it
Pr. 30:5,6 Add thou not to his words
Rev. 22:18,19  Do not add or take away from the words of this book

D. Ways to abuse the word of God -

Jer. 36:29-31 Thou hast burned this roll
2 Chr. 36:16 They despised his words
Jer. 8:9 They have rejected the word of the Lord
2 Cor. 2:17 Many corrupt the word of God
2 Peter 3:16 They wrest the scriptures to their own destruction
Mt. 15:1-3  Make it none affect by tradition

V. THE WORD OF GOD - Written by men but inspired by God -

2 Tim. 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God
2 Pet. 1:19-21 Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy  Ghost
2 Sam. 23:1,2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by David
2 Kings  21:10   The LORD spake by his servants the prophets
Nehemiah 9:13,14 God  made know his word by the hand of Moses
Acts 1:16 The Holy Ghost spoke  by the mouth of David
Acts 3:18 God gave His word by the mouth of all his prophets
Romans 1:2  God promised by his prophets in the holy scriptures
Galations 1:11,12  By the revelation of Jesus Christ
1 Thes.  2:13 Not as the word of men but as it is in truth the word of God
Hebrews 3:7 As the Holy Ghost saith

Conclusion:

1. Both sides agreed at one time that the AV was the standard of the English speaking church.  For whatever reason there is “doubt” and “division” about that today. 

2. Both sides agree for the most part on how the “canon” was decided.  The same principles can be applied today for deciding the canon (standard) of “words”.

3. The above Biblical principles can be applied in all countries everywhere.  There is no real need for “textual criticism”. 

a.   Textual criticism being defined as that art of determining what was original said in the lost originals using the following criteria: 

#1. The older reading is preferred.

#2. The more difficult reading is preferred.

#3. The shorter reading is preferred.

#4. The reading which best explains the variants is preferred.

#5. The widest geographical support for a reading makes it preferred.

#6. The reading which conforms best with the author’s style is preferred.

#7. The reading which reflects no doctrinal bias is preferred. 

b. Where anyone can find this in Scripture is beyond me.  Let us try this out for recognizing the books of the Bible.  

#1. The Older reading is preferred – out goes the New Testament! 

#2. The more difficult reading is preferred – Well, keep the last half of Exodus, Leviticus, Ezekiel, Hebrews and Revelation, but please throw out the gospel of John, Romans, and 1 Thessalonians. 

#3. The shorter reading is preferred – Keep Jude, 2 John, 3 John, the Pauline Epistles and the minor prophets  but throw out Luke and Acts along with the Isaiah, Jeremiah and Job. 

#4. The reading which best explains the variants – which would be? 

#5. The widest geographical support – There goes all the epistles to isolated churches, Galations, Ephesians, Colossians, etc.  but keep Acts, Exodus, and Revelations. 

#6. The reading which conforms best with the author’s style – Pitch the last half of Isaiah from chapter 40 on because his style changed.  Also get rid of Matthew 23 for that’s not Jesus’s style – he is more loving than to rip into religious hypocrites.  Pitch Revelation for John also was very loving and it speaks to much of the wrath of God. 

#7. The reading which reflects no doctrinal bias – pitch them all for they are ALL pro God and Pro Jesus.   

The point of all the above is to show that “textual critics” treat the Bible as a “neutral book” in general.  They forget Biblical principles when making decisions on which version is correct.  Like prayer, faith, fruits, witness of the Spirit, witness of the church, etc.

4. Not one time in all of the above was the Scriptures ever DOUBTED!  Not one time did anyone question the prophets with: “Are you sure that was in the original”, “Paul, your mistaken, the original Hebrew says it ‘differently’”, “Don’t you think you could say that a better way?”, “Your writings are too archaic and difficult to understand”, etc.  The word of God was RECEIVED, ACKNOWLEDGED and BELIEVED!  Never doubted, corrected or looked upon with skepticism. 

5. I have made what I believe to be a reasonable decision.  I “prefer” (to use “textual critic’s” terminology) the AV.  I believe every word of it.  When I preach, I preach believing the Bible in my hands.  I never correct it or cast doubt on it in anyway.  In our church in the States we use nothing but the AV in our services and expect that any public reading will be done from the AV.  When a decision has to be made concerning spiritual matters of faith and practice, the AV is our final court of appeal.  We do not prohibit believers from reading any Bible in any language they so choose in their own homes.  Nor do we prohibit YOU from reading in Bible you so choose.  We realize that God will judge each man according to his OWN works.  We do however RESENT and RESIST all attempts to cast doubt, find fault with and correct our time honored Bible the AV.   

I do hope this helps some of you understand my position. 

 

 


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