Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mistranslation of Words in The Bible

Many words are poorly translated in the Bible because of the lens the translators look through. Pretty well all of them look through an institutional or authoritative lens (concerning men). I think it is fine to say, "This word was translated wrong. It does not mean what the authors intended." Just because we see a word in the Bible does not mean it is the right word, a good word, or a word to defend. I don't think Christianeze is helpful especially when the original words in the text were common words of the times and not special, exclusive, religious, or spiritual words.

Most words that you'd only hear in church are translated wrong and are common words and should be translated as such. The Spirit will teach truth but the Bible warns so much about false teaching because lies told as truth blind you to the real truth. That is a fact and millions have been deceived. I never intend to fight about words but to expose the truth. Improper word usage can leave you confused (usually unknowingly) and even lead to poor choices and beliefs.

The King James Version translators had a rule from King James and Anglican Archbishop Richard Bancroft to "use The Old Ecclesiastical Words," that "the Word Church is not to be translated Congregation etc." They wanted the words used by the organized church to be used in the translation to validate themselves to the people who will now have the Bible available to read. Before this "authorized version" came about several people who translated scripture into English were murdered for doing so. Interesting that one of them, William Tyndale, used "congregation" instead of "church" in his translation.

Most translations follow the KJV in one degree or another and because institutional churches still stand today we get the same ecclesiastical words in our new translations. Protestants retranslated the words "bishop" and "presbytery" which are found in the KJV because those words don't apply to protestantism, they aren't protestant "positions of authority" so there was no need for them to use these words to back themselves up for having those positions. Of course they still retained the words pastor & deacon in their scriptures because their lens supports their non-biblical hierarchical authority system that displaces Christ.

Most words in scripture, are regular words defined by context. English translators took these common, neutral words and chose to translate them into special words that existed in the church systems of their era. Some mistranslations are intentional or started out that way and some remain because of ignorance. Be assured that the translators do know the real meanings of these words but their bias or lens keeps them from translating them properly.

One outrageous example of translators bias is how the Greek word behind "preach" means "proclaim" or "announce." It has been translated as the special word "preach" when referring to Jesus or the apostles but when "common men" who were healed by Jesus "preach" the translators chose to use the word "proclaim." They should use proclaim or announce in every case but they decided, because of their authoritative lens, to only use the word "preach" when referring to the "special" men and not with the "common" men. There is no justification for this distinction. It is simply the biased lens they look through. From what I've seen intentional or unintentional lies make it much much harder to trust God because they hide His trustworthiness.

A doctrine is "a teaching." I wouldn't need a doctrine about my wife because I just have a relationship with her. Since God is invisible and relates to many people teachings about Him are useful. Doctor is an old religious word for "teacher" so doctrine is a religious word for "teaching." I'd rather not use the word "doctrine" because it conjures up the idea of overly intellectual academic facts or beliefs that don't really affect how we live (even if they should) that are meant to be argued about. Some view the word "doctrine" as spiritual, official, established, and true but it only means "a teaching," one that can be true, false, or mixed.


The only flip-flop translation I can think of is minister. Today we think of minister as a leader but the Greek word it was translated from simply means "servant" which is the opposite! Someone grows up in a church & hears the word minister being used only for leaders so when they go to read the Bible and see the word minister they think of the leader guy at the church building and not a servant. I don't think God is the author of such confusion.

Common Mistranslations, etc.
Faith - Trust
Believe - To Trust
Forgive - Remove A Burden, Take Away, Set Free
Forgiveness - Freedom, Removal
Grace - Favor, Loving Favorable Opinion
Gospel - Good News
Fear - Revere, Respect, Worship
Confess (in 1 Jn 1:9) - Agree, Say the Same Thing As Another
Repent - Change your mind
Repentance - Change of mind
Convict - Convince
Righteous - Right With Relationally, Guiltless
Justified - Made Right With, Made Blameless

Minister - Servant (not an authoritative position)
Pastor - Shepherd (not an authoritative position)
Elder - Older Person (not an authoritative position)
Deacon - Servant (not an authoritative position)
Bishop - Overseer, Guardian (not an authoritative position)
Evangelist - One who proclaims good news
Apostle - Delegate, One Sent on Behalf of another
Prophet - Spokesman
Ministry - Service
Church - Assembly
Ordain - Recognize
Doctrine - A Teaching
Preach - Proclaim or Announce
Sanctuary, Altar - Not Found in the New Testament
Sermon, Pulpit, Surrender, Revival, Rededicate - Do not Appear in the Bible

Devil - Adversary
Angel - Messenger
Prophecy - Message from God
Prophesy - Speak from God
Baptize - Immerse
Believer - One who Trusts
Faithful - Trustworthy
Hypocrite - Actor, Pretender
Heresy - Sect
Scripture - A Writing
Holy - Pure
Saint - Holy person, Pure person
Sanctify - Purify
Sanctification - Purification

Related Posts
The Problem with Mistranslations
How "Preach" is Used with Bias in Translating the Bible
All Posts on Mistranslations

The Meaning of the Word 'Religion' in the Bible

The Greek word translated "religion," as found in the letter of James, means "worship or adherence that is outwardly evident."

James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." Visiting people is an outward thing. A stain is something someone can see. To be unstained means people don't see "the world's" stains on you.

The same Greek word is also used in Acts 26:5, "I lived as a Pharisee, the strictest sect of our religion."

The word religion, as used in the Bible, is an outward identification. You look and act like a Jew if you are Jewish. You act like a Christian, love others and exhibit good character, if you are a Christian. That very thing of showing others that you belong to Jesus is what James writes about in his letter when talking about faith and works.

So in the first century "religion" was something you showed not something you told. Jews looked and dressed a certain way. They could be seen observing Old Testament ceremonies and rituals. James was saying Christians are identified by love, compassion, and character; the real meat of life rather than the lifeless soggy bread of rituals.

Jesus said, "All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

Religion is a neutral word both in the Bible and in today's English. It, like most words in scripture, is a regular word defined by context.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Psalm 6 in the Light of The Messiah

O Lord, do not correct me in Your anger, Nor discipline me in Your wrath. (v1)
The blood of Christ spilt on the cross allows us to enter into a covenant of permanent peace with God (Matthew 26:28, Colossians 1:20). In this covenant God swears to never be angry with His children (Isaiah 54:9-10). He will never have wrath for them. His kindness is what leads us to change our minds for the better (Romans 2:4).

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am weak; Heal me, O Lord, because I am terrified (v2-3)
You never need to beg God for His favor, graciousness, grace, or healing. Because of Jesus God has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) & has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing that exists (Ephesians 1:3). As we grow to understand all the things He has provided for us through our loving Lord & Savior Jesus Christ His perfect love will deliver us from all our fears (1 John 4:18). We will also see the power of His love compensate for and counteract our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“O Lord, you will not correct me in your anger, nor will you discipline me in Your wrath.

You have been gracious to me, O Lord, your strength fills in the holes of my weaknesses and builds strong towers upon them.
You are here Lord. You heal me and deliver me from my fears. You have rescued me and saved me because of your lovingkindness.
I will make mention of your death and give thanks to you so others may live because of you.

I rest in you and you comfort me in my tears no matter how plentiful they become.
Your truth brings youthful life to my eyes so that I may see the elaborate niceties of your love.

You hear my prayers, you keep me safe, and you offer grace even to those who desire to harm me.
You seek to deliver them from their shame and to turn them from their hurtful ways.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our True Identity & True Victory

As a Christian God does not identify you by your behavior but by the fact that you have a reborn spirit, that you are His child. God's children have been "perfected for all time" (Hebrews 10:14). You are perfect in God's eyes and God's eyes are the ones that count not our human eyes that judge everything based on behavior.

Romans 10:4 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the end of the law for everyone who trusts Him." Romans 4:15 says, "Where there is no law there is no sin." Romans 5:13 says, "Sin is not charged when there is no law." We still do harmful things but Jesus took sin away, He nailed it to the cross with the law.

"Jesus was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. Everyone who has been born of God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. We know that no one who is born of God sins; but Jesus who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him." (1 John 3:5-6,9; 5:18)

That is talking about you Christians, your spirit (the only part of you that is born of God) is perfect and sinless. That is what it means to be a child of God. The bible says to not regard anyone, including yourself, according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). While my flesh still produces harmful actions I am perfect. I am sinless. Just like Jesus prayed for me to be in John 17:11 I am one with God. If you are a child of God you are too. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says, "Because Jesus rose from the dead we are not in our sins!!" We are IN CHRIST.

Your victory is Christ's victory. He has already won. You just need to grow in understanding of His love so you can join in His victory party. Your mind doesn't have to be fully straight & your heart doesn't have to be strong. He won for the harassed and helpless. Join me & celebrate in Jesus's victory party!

Related Posts:
God's Old Target, Our Own Targets, Jesus's Victory Party
Sin? Forgetaboutit!

Freedom from Struggling with Sin

The actual struggle most have is not with sin but with their perception of what sin is and how God feels about their behavior.

If you think you have to repent, say you're really sorry and promise not to do something again, and ask God to forgive you then you don't understand what Christ bought for you on the cross.

God does not count people's sins against them (2 Corinthians 5:19). No matter what you do He doesn't get angry with you, He doesn't break fellowship with you, He doesn't love you any less.

So many fail because they think it is their job to succeed. Jesus already won the victory over sin. You only defeat it when you take part in Christ's victory party. The bible says many times that we are free from sin. You only live that freedom if you believe it is there. I live it and my spiritual life is indescribably wonderful because I don't try to improve myself, I just bask in The Father's love for me and my behavior is transformed as a side-effect.

Freedom doesn't come from perfect behavior but from properly placed trust. Christian your freedom is a fact. You experience freedom by trusting in God's love for you. His love is unconditional. His love for you is not dependent on your behavior, if you ask for forgiveness, if you ever read your bible. His loves passes all understanding because we think we have to earn love. Jesus fulfilled every condition for you. Believe it and live it. If you don't you will always fall & always fail.

While my flesh still causes me to behave in harmful ways I am indeed free from sin. My identity is in my spirit, not in my flesh. When you understand & believe this you can be free from sin while in this body. The experience of that freedom doesn't come from perfect behavior but from trust in God & what He has done for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Letting God Love You First

Good News Flash:  Life isn't about you loving God. Life is about God loving you.

Don't base your life, your personal value, & your faith upon your behavior. If you do you will try to come to a point where you feel like you deserve God's love. You don't have to earn His love. His love is unconditionally & freely given. God never departs from His children & God always loves you more than you know.

You can't force yourself to love Jesus but you don't have to. Stop trying. If you are God's child and feel condemned reading the bible then there is something you don't understand about His love. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). That means if you don't understand how He loves you first then you will not love back & you have no reason to. Loving God is not an obligation to fulfill. He knows you fully and He loves you fully.

Your thoughts & feelings lie to you if they tell you anything that makes you think or feel that you are less loved by Him. God wants you to know that how you feel is not a measuring stick for how much He loves you or how much He approves of you. If we could feel how much God really loves us we would explode! God loves us that much! Everyone always underestimates God's love. The bible literally says that His love is too wonderfully huge for us to fully understand (Ephesians 3:19).

Don't compare yourself to others and certainly don't think that all the commands in the bible apply directly to you right now. Stop thinking that you need to be doing something more. Stop putting expectations on yourself. God doesn't value you based on your works but by the fact that you are His child. You stand in God's way of renewing your mind when you try to fight. "It is God who works in you to desire and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

God does not count anything you do against you (2 Corinthians 5:19). You can't fail God anymore than a newborn can fail his or her parents. Don't base how you feel about your life on your behavior. Trust Jesus's truly unconditional love for you. He will help you discover more of it. He loves you as much as the Father loves Jesus & as much as Jesus loves the Father (John 15:9, 17:23).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Plates of Faith

Most think God is like a waiter at a restaurant. You give Him your order and He brings you what you want. When God doesn't answer you try to pay, bribe, charm, and beg God to give you what you ordered.

Reality in Christ is more like a buffet. Everything is provided & God has already paid for you, you just have to get up and take from what is there. God's not taking orders because He already has everything ready & out. Your plates are made of faith. Faith is not the currency you use to pay God to deliver your orders. Faith is what you use to take what is already there. God's grace is all you can eat and more abundant than you could ever handle.

The Sinless Spiritual Identity of Every Christian (In 100 Words)

1 John 3:9 tells us, "Everyone who has been born of God does not commit sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God." I've studied & "does not commit sin" can be translated as "does not produce sin" or "does not bring forth sin." Why is this so? Because we are born of God. As Jesus talks about in John 3, our flesh is not born of God but our spirit is. God identifies us by our "new creation" which is our reborn spirit. That spirit cannot sin.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Law is Over (In 100 Words)

Colossians 2:14 & Ephesians 2:15 say "the Law of commandments contained in written ordinances" were "against us" and "stood opposed to us." Those also say that Jesus "abolished" the laws, that He "took them away and nailed them to the cross"

2 Corinthians 3 says the law brings condemnation (including the 10 commandments) and is of no comparison with the glorious righteousness brought by Christ.

We are to walk by the spirit not by the law. Burdening yourself with law just leads to self-condemnation. We don't need a to do list or a don't do list when we have a loving Father to walk with.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Romans 6 - We who died to sin cannot still live in it.

Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-7, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might live a new life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin."

Most people reference only the first verse which says, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be!" This context is not about "trying hard not to sin because we are under grace." It is about how we died to sin and are totally free from it! Paul uses the same language in Romans 7:7, "What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be!" That doesn't mean "the law should try hard to not be sin," nor does it mean "the law does not want to be sin," it means the law is not sin, it cannot be. "May it never be" does not mean, as it is so often taught, "Don't do it!" It literally means that it may never be, it is impossible. Here are some even more obvious examples.
    Is the faithfulness of God nullified by the unbelief of men? May it never be! (Romans 3:3-4)   
    Is God unrighteous? May it never be! (Romans 3:5-6)
    Has God rejected His people, has He? May it never be! (Romans 11:1)

The dominant interpretation of Romans 6:1 is "You better not sin just because you are under grace!" But continuing on in the chapter we see that is not the meaning. Paul asks, "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" Most take the meaning as "Don't sin!" but in fact it means you cannot live in sin because you died to it. You are now in Christ! "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" We shall not because He cannot! We cannot live in sin & in Christ at the same time. We are forever in Christ! "Our old self was crucified with Him (it died to sin), in order that our body of sin might be done away with." Our body of sin is done away with. How shall we who are full grown men go back to having the bodies of children? It is not possible. Your young body is gone. Likewise your body of sin is done away with.

We can never continue in sin, it can never be because we died to it and are now alive in Christ. God does not see us as sin stained flesh but as His children. Our identity is our spirit. Our spirit has been born of God, our flesh has not. A spirit that has been born of God cannot sin (1 John 3:9; 5:18). You as a child of God cannot sin.

Romans 6:1 is about spiritual identity, not about behavior. When the bible says "in sin" it does not mean what our religion has taught us "in sin" means. It does not mean "continuing to manifest similar sinful actions." It should be obvious to anyone that a Christian's flesh can "continue in sin" in that sense. People have used this scripture & others to measure people's morality claiming it is impossible for a true Christian to "continue in sin" by which they mean sin with the flesh "too much." But how far is far enough to "continue" & how much is "too much" is never definable & it makes people judge others by their own knowledge of good & evil.

The phrase "In sin" in the bible means the locality of your identity being "in sin." Our identity is now "in Christ." We cannot be in both, we cannot be sinner & saint at the same time. We "cannot continue to live in Sin Town" while living in Christ Town at the same time because we have permanently moved into Christ Town. It may never be, it is impossible.

I am not saying we cannot behave unlovingly. That is why Romans 8:13 says, "By the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh." The deeds of the flesh are destructive, harmful, & unloving but we must understand that we are not the flesh. We are identified by God as His perfect and holy children. May we see ourselves as He sees us!

"We are not in the flesh but in the spirit because the Spirit of God lives in us. We belong to God. Christ is in us. Our flesh is dead because of sin, yet our spirit is alive because of righteousness" (Romans 8:9-10). "Because Christ died for all we no longer identify anyone, including ourselves, according to the flesh" (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Romans 6 doesn't concern our behavior under grace but our identity in Christ because of grace. We are the sinless children of God. We cannot continue in sin. Our old sinful self was crucified with Christ and because of that our sin was done away with. We died and are freed from sin. We cannot produce sin. Our spirits are in Christ and in Him there is no sin (1 John 3:5). We are in Him! He has exchanged our life for His (Colossians 3:3-4).

Another interpretation of Romans 6:1 by grace teachers is that "grace is not a license to sin" or "it is still not ok to sin just because you are under grace." But that is not what this context is about. They also teach from this scripture that when you are saved your desire to sin decreases so you won't continue in sin. While it is true that grace lessens our desire to do harmful & destructive things that is still not what Romans 6:1 is saying. If you want a scripture that teaches us this refer instead to Titus 2:12 which says, "It is the grace of God that trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. The grace of God makes us eager to do what is good."

Allow your mind to be renewed by the truth of your identity in Christ and the deeds of your flesh will dwindle. Marvel at how much He loves you and you will marvel at how much He can love through you. "Set your minds on the things of the spirit and you will walk in the spirit. The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6).

"Your new spirit has been created in the likeness of God. You truly are right with God. You were made righteous, pure, guiltless, innocent, faultless, and holy" (Ephesians 4:24).

For Related Posts see my Sin? Forgetaboutit! Page
See also my explanation of why the law is not sin

Monday, May 7, 2012

Obedience & Sacrifice

The bible says that "obedience is better than sacrifice." This was originally talking about physical sacrifices on altars. It did not refer to people "giving things up" in the way we think of sacrifice today. Obedience doesn't always involve sacrifice, it can be joyful and involve doing things you like. Obedience to God is utterly tied to trust and love. Trusting Him is best for us and loving is best for all. Enjoying love is obeying God.