Read the Bible

by COGwriter

Do you read the Bible?

When physically hungry and tempted by Satan, Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy:

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

His other responses to Satan also relied on an application and quoting of scripture (Matthew 4:7,10) instead of human reasoning (or conflicting traditions of men).

Why were the Holy Scriptures given to us?

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Thus the Bible itself states that it is the source of doctrine so that God's followers can be complete and do what God wants.

It is necessary to read the Bible, because,

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they have itching ears, they will heap up to themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and, and be turned aside to fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4).

Jesus prayed to the Father to,

"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).

The Psalms declare,..."Your law is truth" (Psalm 119:142b).

Since God's law and His word are the truth, how can you know the truth without reading the Bible or hearing it read?

Reading the Bible is the way to measure whether or not something is true. The Bible teaches us doctrine and how to live.

Paul was a preacher of God, but how would people know this? They would know it from their knowledge of the Bible.

How do you get knowledge of the Bible? First by reading it. Then by studying it.

When Paul preached in Berea it was reported that:

"There were more fair-minded (margin - noble) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word in all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily; we should too. The late evangelist Dibar Apartian used to teach that the Bible was not like other books--you do not simply read it, you need to truly study it and live by it. And that is true (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4).

One of the sayings of our Church is, "don't simply believe us, believe what we say only if it is in the Bible or otherwise shown to be true." Scripture was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and was not the opinions of its writers. Its prophecies came from God, "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:20).

In addition to providing instruction, doctrine, and correction, reading the Bible even helps you to learn the thoughts and intents of your heart.

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Study the Bible. How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled How to Study the Bible.

Which Translation of the Bible Should I Read?

The Bible

The Bible was primarily written in Hebrew and Greek (see Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?)--it was in those languages that God's Spirit inspired the writers of scripture--not English, not Latin. Thus, unless ancient Hebrew and classical Greek are well known to you, you will need to read a translation of the biblical texts.

The source of translation has had some controveries. The Nestle-Aland NA27 edition of the Greek text of the New Testament ( NA27/UBS4) claims to have used all Greek manuscripts, but considers the older manuscripts to be closer to the original writings--but it tends to overlook the importance of the Byzantine texts and rely too heavily on the Alexandrian texts. The argument is that the Alexandrian texts are older, but while that is generally true, the reality is that there are other records point to the Byzantine texts as being the more accurate and closer to the originals (the originals no longer exist).

The best text is the original, and it seems to be that a version of something like the "Traditional Text"--out of which the Textus Receptus originated. The "Traditional Text" appears to have been the text of the historic church from Asia Minor. Interestingly, when the Greco-Roman churches tended to move away from the biblically 'Semiarian' view of the Godhead in the late fourth century, they started to rely less on the "Traditional Text" (Burgon JW. The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels. Original 1896; reprint Cosimo Classics, 2007, p. 2).

Two of the most commonly used English translations are the 1611 King James Version (KJV) and the 1982 New Kings James Version (NKJV, which is used predominantly). Both of these are attempts to be a word-for-word translation (the KJV is based on one of the texts called the Textus Receptus), which usually better for Bible study that paraphrase versions of the Bible. For daily reading I now tend to use the New Kings James Version as it is one of the more accurate translations (though it, like all translations I have read, contains some translator errors/biases and for several passages the NIV is superior) and uses modern language. I have read several other translations.

Notice also:

What many advocates of both King James-onlyism and Douay-Rheims-onlyism do not know is that neither Bible is the original issued in the 1600s. Over the last three centuries, numerous minor changes (for example, of spelling and grammar) have been made in the King James, with the result that most versions of the KJV currently on the market are significantly different from the original. viewed 01/17/15

I used to use the KJV a lot more, but it is difficult for many to understand--younger people, especially, have trouble with the old English it uses and non-native English readers find it confusing. Plus, it, despite the beliefs of some, also has translation errors (the KJV mistranslates Acts 12:4, Hebrews 4:9,etc. and improperly adds 1 John 5:7-8 )--it is not superior to all other versions as some believe. Nor does the Bible ever suggest that God's Spirit would lead translators to produce a better version that the original Bible (as some KJV and some Septuagint advocates seem to believe).

Sometimes for clarity, I will cite the NIV (New International Version). Though it is not always a word-for-word translation, sometimes it translates certain passages more accurately than the NKJV or KJV do. I also will use other translations depending upon their applicability to the subject I am covering..

In many Catholic related articles I will normally use the 1610 Douay Rheims translation (DRB) or its later version (it was revised from 1749-1752 by Bishop Richard Challoner)--but because it is a translation of a translation (Jerome translated the Bible into Latin near the end of the fourth century and Douay-Rheims is a translation from Jerome's Latin into English) I do not consider that it should be a primarily used translation.

Catholics also use the New Jerusalem Bible--it is more of a word-for-word translation than the DRB. It is not a translation from Latin, but from texts in Hebrew and Greek. It is the primary English-language version used by Catholics outside of the USA. And I because it is uses more modern language, I find the NJB helpful, especially if I am intentionally reaching out to Catholic audiences.

One of the newer translations of the New Testament I am aware of is called A Faithful Version (AFV), and its second revision came out in November 2004 (then a 'special' second edition in 2011). I have used this sometimes. When it comes to being grammatically accurate related to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, it is the only correct translation that I have ever seen (the GOD'S WORD® Translation is a rare translation that gets John 15:26 correct, but even it gets John 14:26 wrong, hence is not as reliable there). The AFV is based upon the Stephen's text of 1550, which is also called the Textus Receptus (several Greek Byzantine manuscripts have been called the Textus Receptus).

Perhaps I should add that I was told that Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary wanted that corrected when the ESV (English Standard Version) was being produced, but was overridden be the supposed 'biblical' scholars there as it went against their theological traditions. The New Testament portion of the AFV was translated by Fred Coulter, a former minister in the old Worldwide Church of God. He did some editing of the English of the Old Testament, but did not personally translate Hebrew into English.

Sometimes it is helpful to read multiple translations which can help your understanding, although sometimes translator bias can be a problem (some on-line Bibles and helps can be found at this link for Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet). But the more you actually read the Bible, the more you should be able to discern the truth as opposed to biased traditions of men.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that the original KJV also contained non-canonical books that are part of what is called the Old Testament Apocrypha--this was not inspired by God. While the Apocrypha was later pulled out of the KJV, it was in fact part of it originally. Perhaps it should also be noted that Protetant reformers John Calvin and John Knox endorsed the Geneva Bible--which first came out in 1557 and also contained the Apocrypha. (See also The Old Testament Canon.)

As far as the canon for the New Testament is concerned, here is a link to an article: The New Testament Canon - From the Bible and History. Furthermore, some have had questions about whether certain parts of the New Testament should be part of it. The following address three of the most commonly questioned passages:

Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
Should Mark 16:9-20 be part of the Bible? There are many who say no. Is the biblical and historical evidence for or against?
1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity Did the Apostle John write all of what is sometimes referred to as 1 John 5:7-8? If not, where did that seem to come from?

Documented Errors in the King James Version of the Bible

Since some have attempted to challenged me about translation errors in the KJV, I thought I would share something another put together about it:

Genesis 1:2 should read "And the earth became without form . . . ." The word translated "was" is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.

Genesis 10:9 should read " . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD." The word "before" is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.

Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is "scapegoat" which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other's sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means "one removed or separated." The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:1, "then let him" should be "and he." As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

II Kings 2:23, should be "young men", not "little children."

Isaiah 65:17 should be "I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . ."

Ezekiel 20:25 should read "Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live." God's laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God's laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.

Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes "evening morning" for "days." Too bad William Miller didn't realize this.

Malachi 4:6 should read " . . . lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction." "Curse" doesn't give the proper sense here. Same word used in Zechariah 14:11.

Matthew 5:48 should be "Become ye therefore perfect" rather than "be ye therefore perfect." "Perfect" here means "spiritually mature." Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say "there should no flesh be saved alive."

Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: "And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood." The Savior's death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.

Matthew 28:1, "In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . ." should be translated literally, "Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . ." The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.

Luke 2:14 should say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God's good pleasure or choosing." That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God's good will in their hearts.

Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong's #3404, as "hate", when it should be rendered "love less by comparison." We are not to hate our parents and family!

John 1:31, 33 should say "baptize" or "baptizing IN water" not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.

John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. "By" should be "through": "For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . ." Moses did not proclaim his law, but God's Law.

John 13:2 should be "And during supper" (RSV) rather than "And supper being ended" (KJV).

Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word "Easter" which should be rendered "Passover." The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.

I Corinthians 1:18 should be: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God", rather than "perish" and "are saved." Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be "are perishing" rather than "perish."

I Corinthians 15:29 should be: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?"

II Corinthians 6:2 should be "a day of salvation", instead of "the day of salvation." This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.

I Timothy 4:8 should say, "For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . ."

I Timothy 6:10 should be, "For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . ."

Hebrews 4:8 should be "Joshua" rather than "Jesus", although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.

Hebrews 4:9 should read, "There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God."

Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation."

I John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.

Revelation 14:4 should be "a firstfruits", because the 144,000 are not all the firstfruits.

Revelation 20:4-5 in the KJV is a little confusing until you realize that the sentence "This is the first resurrection." in verse five refers back to "they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" in verse four.

Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be 'were cast' because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time, Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously. (Errors and Mistranslations in the KJV Written by: Richard Nickels. accessed 07/16/17)

It is not that the KJV is a terrible translation, or that others are perfect, it is just people should not insist that God inspired the translators to do a perfect job. Because, obviously He did not.

Notice also the the Latin Vulgate was mentioned related to 1 John 5:7-8. The original Latin Vulgate as translated by the Catholic saint and doctor Jerome did NOT have this error--it was added later (see also 1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity).

Rely on the Bible Not the Traditions of Men

In our day and Jesus' day, many were relying on their own opinions and not God's.

Jesus was not please when He said,

"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy about you, saying:

'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:7-9).

The obvious way to know the difference between traditions of men and the doctrines of God is to read the Bible. And it properly understand it, the Bible needs to be studied (see also What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).

Remember, since it has been prophesied that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine and will turn aside from the truth (II Timothy 4:3-4) and that since God's word is truth (John 17:17), please read and study the Bible regularly so you will be able to discern between the truth and fables.

How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially as a booklet and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled How to Study the Bible.

Back to COGwriter Home Page

B. Thiel. Read the Bible. (c) 1998/2006/2007/2009/2012/2013/2014/2015/2017 0911