Christian Discernment & Bible Versions: Food for Thought

image of a stack of hard back books on the end of the pages tone

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” 1Kings 3:9

The key to the discerning of spirits is comprised of two parts. Without these two parts discernment is futile. For the Christian, these two parts include:

(1) The Holy Spirit – This means receiving the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit by the new birth. Such an action will invite “the Spirit of truth” (the Holy Spirit) which will lead you and guide you unto all truth (John 3:3, 16:13, Ptr. 1:23).

(2) The Holy Scriptures – The scriptures are identified as “a more sure word” than hearing a literal voice from heaven. They are written words magnified above God’s name, which are preserved to outlast “heaven and earth”, and are “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. Through them one acquires faith and the written standard against which all things are measured (see 2Ptr. 1:19, Rom. 15:4, Psa. 138:2, 12:6-7, Matt. 13:31, 24:35, Heb. 4:12, Rom. 10:17 & Isa. 8:20).

The first step in discerment is salvation. A beautiful picture of this is seen when Peter recognized that he was facing certain death and cried out; “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:24-31). These are the most important three words you’ll ever speak in this life. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)
The first step in discerment is salvation. A beautiful picture of this is seen when Peter recognized that he was facing certain death and cried out; “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:24-31). These are the most important three words you’ll ever speak in this life. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)

The born-again Christian has all the necessary equipment for learning the scriptures – the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ constitutes the Bedrock of your learning. He is the Lion of Judah, and He alone is able to “open the book” (Rev. 5:5). This is so regardless of one’s level of education. One need not be a priest, pastor or “Bible scholar” in order to properly learn the scriptures. God’s Book was written to YOU, not just priests and scribes (Isa. 34:16, Lk. 19:47, 20:46). If you have the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the Key of knowledge (Lk. 11:52):

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

This being the case, however, a Christian will not simply absorb knowledge without ever reading the Bible. It will never happen. A newly born-again Christian is not automatically wise to the world nor the wiles of the Devil. To guarantee growth a Christian must stay in the Book regularly. This means reading and studying the Bible, preferably from the very day that they are born-again.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” 1 Peter 2:2

“As newborn babes” Christians are to feed on the Bible’s milk. But such nourishment will never sustain those who are to be soldiers (Eph. 6:10-18, 1Tim. 6:12). Instead, those who stay in the Book long enough are able to move beyond its milk and into more weightier matters. Those who never read the Bible (or only read a verse here and there on occasion) are doomed to remain unskillful spiritual babies their entire Christian lives. Unfortunately, this describes the plight of the majority of Christians today. Milk is good, but one cannot live off of it forever. Attempting to do so will stunt growth causing spiritual retardation. Somewhere along the way, solid foods must come into play. This is true both physically and spiritually:

“For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Heb. 5:13-14

Note that DISCERNMENT (the distinguishing of good from evil) only comes by having exercised in God’s written word “by reason of use”. Do you see that? Reading and studying, reading and studying, reading and studying – that’s spiritual exercise. This means that Christians who own dust-covered Bibles will not fall within the group of Christians who are of “full age”. Even those who’ve only read the Bible through once or twice will probably not qualify. The Bible has MUCH MORE than what’s able to be grasped in one, two or even three read-throughs. I’d shoot for a minimum of ten, but twenty, thirty, fifty read-throughs or more would be even better – like reading the Bible through once (or more times) a year for the rest of your life. Each read-through can build upon the knowledge (and note-taking) of the previous read-through. Doing so will give you the exercise you need, as well as form good habits. You will then be able to more easily compare line upon line, and precept upon precept. This is vital to spiritual growth and discernment:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isa. 28:9-10

Humans cannot subsist off of baby milk their entire lives, and there’s something revolting about those who would try to do so. Spiritual growth is no different. Milk is for beginners, not grown soldiers meant to wield the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17).
Humans cannot subsist off of baby milk their entire lives, and there’s something revolting about those who would try to do so. Spiritual growth is no different. Milk is for beginners, not grown soldiers meant to wield the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17).

God has given you His Book in the form of the King James Bible. With that Book, and a believing heart and mind (1Thess. 2:13), you have the ability to know more than any scribe, scholar or professor. But it’s your responsibility to read the Book. Your level (or lack) of spiritual discernment is entirely up to you. If you find yourself lacking in knowledge and wisdom, you know what to do – READ THE BOOK!

“[1] My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; [2] So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; [3] Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; [4] If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; [5] Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. [6] For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:1-6

Like any matter, the Bible version issue must be “proved” (1 Thess. 5:21). Yet, for whatever reason, for many Christians “proving” the Bible version issue with the Bible itself is never considered. Instead, most Christians treat the Bible version issue separate from other Christian issues, acting as if only the so-called “scholars” are able sort out the truth. Nonsense. While on the one hand they appeal to the Bible as their “final authority”, on the other hand such an attitude is ignored when discerning the underlying Bible version manuscripts. Why? It’s a suspicious position at best, and a hypocritical position at worst.

If the Bible was given to us to discern false teachers, false apostles, false prophets, false churches, false doctrine, false Christs, false Jesus’ and false gods – and it is – then surely it gives us the means of DISCERNING FALSE BIBLES. On what grounds would a Christian have to think any differently? To illustrate the fact that the issue is no less important than discerning false Christs (see Matt. 24:24, etc.), consider that both the Holy Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ share the same title:

1.) The Incarnate Word of God – The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word manifest in the flesh: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1 & 14 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

If you were to take all of God’s pure words and shape those words into a living person, that Person would be the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ IS the Word. This is how Christ was able to speak with authority “and not as the scribes” (He knows the word, because he IS the Word – Matt. 7:29, Mk. 1:22, John 1:1). This is how Christ was able to cast out devils “with his word” (Matt. 8:16). This is how Christ was able to rebuke the wind and sea and it obey Him (His word created and controls the universe – Mk. 4:39, Lk. 8:24, Gen. 1). This is why Christ said; “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Both He and the scriptures are eternal – Matt. 24:35, etc.) This is why Christ said; “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (Both He and the scriptures are linked to eternal life. – John 5:39, also see 1Peter 2:3). He IS the Word. If God’s words are flawed, Jesus is flawed. If God’s words have mistakes, Jesus has mistakes. Now suppose you were to take the words of a book that closely resembled the Bible, yet had many errors, and then shaped those words into a person, what do you suppose it would be? A counterfeit Christ perhaps?

2.) The Written Word of God – The scriptures are God’s written words on paper. This does not mean the literal paper and book-binding are holy, however, it simply means His words are written and arranged in a specific order so that they accurately communicate God’s Mind to man. The Bible calls this Book “the scriptures”. It is a supernaturally preserved Book (Psa. 12:6-7). Peter said that this literal book of bound papers and ink are “a more sure word” than hearing a voice from heaven (2Peter 1:19-21). When Peter made this outrageous statement, had he become a “Bible worshiper”, or was he simply speaking through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

Left: The incarnate Word of God (John 1:1-3 & 14, etc.). Right: The written word of God (Rom. 10:17, etc.)
Left: The incarnate Word of God (John 1:1-3 & 14, etc.). Right: The written word of God (Rom. 10:17, etc.)

The truth is, the scriptures reveal ONE Word of God in TWO forms – an incarnate form and a written form. This is why they point to one another. Jesus points us to the written word, and the written word points us to the Incarnate Word. This is how the scriptures are “able to make thee wise unto salvation” (2Tim. 3:15). The very idea that an eternal, sinless, Holy God would name a book after Himself, and then elevate that Book above His very name (Psa. 138:2), should, at the very least, give us room for pause. The obvious understatement is that God thinks highly of this Book. Anything less undermines the authority and significance of the scriptures. Anything less makes the Bible “just another book”. This is why Satan has been on a thousand-year mission to destroy it and get you to doubt it. He knows it’s important  (see Gen. 3).

Consider that a concordance also contains all of God’s words, and yet it’s never considered a “Bible”, why? Because in a concordance the words of God are out of order. It’s like comparing one frog to another frog dropped in a blender. Both frogs still have all the same parts, yet one is alive and the other is not. Both frogs still have all their parts, but one frog has parts in order, while the other has parts in a scrambled, chaotic mess. Parts in the correct order makes all the difference between LIFE and DEATH. In a nutshell, this helps illustrate the difference between a Bible and a concordance. Even though they both contain God’s words, the Bible is a living book (God’s words are in order), but a concordance is a dead book (God’s words are out of order). The God of the Bible is a God of order.

Now, concerning these two names (the “Word of God” and the “word of God”), their similarities and satanic counterfeiting, most Christians will admit the coming of a counterfeit INCARNATE Word of God – the Antichrist – a copy so close to the real thing that the world will accept him as Christ Himself. But why is it that most Christians have trouble accepting a counterfeit WRITTEN word of God – a copy so close to the real thing that the world will accept it as the Bible itself? Why believe in one and not the other? Ignoring this fact makes no sense, especially in light of the following:

• Like God, Satan is a spiritual father (John 8:44)
• Like God, Satan has his own spiritual children (Matt. 13:38)
• Like God, Satan has his own angels (Rev. 12:9-7)
• Like God, Satan has his own preachers (2 Cor. 11:4)
• Like God, Satan has his own prophets (2 Peter 2:1 etc.)
• Like God, Satan has his own teachers (2 Peter 2:1 etc.)
• Like God, Satan has his own shepherd (Zech. 11:15-17)
• Like God, Satan has his own sheep (Matt. 7:15)
• Like God, Satan has his own seat (Rev. 2:13 & 13:2)
• Like God, Satan has his own gospel (2 Cor. 11:4)
• Like God, Satan has his own church (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9)
• Like God, Satan has his own doctrine (1Tim. 4:1 etc.)
• Like God, Satan has his own spirit (2 Cor. 11:4)
• Like God, Satan has his own Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4)
• Like God, Satan has his own Christ (1 John 2:18, etc.)

When Lucifer originally fell and arrogantly proclaimed his goal was to be “like the most High” (Isa. 14:14), he wasn’t just “whistlin’ Dixie”, he meant every word, and that includes having his own Bible versions. Does such a list help substantiate the Devil’s method of operation? Absolutely. As a matter of fact, these fifteen facts only represent a partial list. With such scriptural precedents we’re forced to only one real conclusion on determining how Satan would deal with God’s written word. Thinking otherwise would mean being willfully ignorant. And that’s not all, the Bible shows that Satan not only counterfeits things once, but multiple times. Graduating to a more-than-one counterfeiting type system goes a long way in his ancient campaign of confusion:

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” 1 John 2:18

Note that John reports to “know that it is the last time”, simply by the appearance of “many” counterfeits. Could this also be the real spiritual reason behind the modern deluge of “many” Bible versions?

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1Cor. 14:33

Copyright © 2009-2015 Jeffrey W. Mardis & Sword-In-Hand Publishing. All rights reserved.

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