Jesus warned us to “Beware of the SCRIBES…”(Mark 12:38). These were the religious leaders who were interpreters and transcribers of the Scriptures. This warning especially holds true in our modern church world today! Jesus also strongly censured the prideful Pharisees for allowing their “Jewish traditions” to take precedence over the Word given by God (Mark 7:7, 9), and I would like to bring the same warning to those who may not be familiar with what I am about to share. Please don’t let what “traditional and nominal Christianity” has taught, (which will be counter to the Biblical insights I will share), keep you from considering what the originally inspired Scriptures do teach as truth from God’s Holy Word. Prayerfully, wait upon the Lord to personally confirm His Word by His Word. Also keep in mind that the Word of God WILL NEVER CONTRADICT ITSELF!
I’m sure there will be those, who, like myself, at various times in my Christian walk, have not clearly understood many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, as contained in the originally inspired languages that were used to write our Old and New Testaments. Because of not having an accurate understanding of what the Scriptures were actually teaching in the originally inspired languages, I was, (like many who also may be reading this material), will be tempted to dismiss, new insights from the Word, without giving serious consideration to what the originally inspired Scriptures actually reveal.
When I seriously began to study the originally inspired Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, I found to my utter amazement that many of my doctrinal beliefs were the result of English interpretations of Scripture rather than accurate translations of the original languages. I found what accurately translated Bible doctrines reveal and encompass, are so counter, in many cases, to what we have been taught in our traditional churches in this modern age. Erroneous interpretations most often are, without question, accepted as Biblical truth, when in fact, this is not the case.
Unwary Christians in the body of Christ are ignorantly unaware, just as I was for a large part of my Christian experience, of the many translation errors that exist in our modern-day Bibles. Through the years I have run across what I deemed to be erroneous interpretations myself, which I later found Hebrew and Greek scholars also slated as erroneous. These are found especially in the majority of our English translations (rather interpretations) of the originally God inspired—Hebrew and Greek and Aramaic Scriptures.
Translation errors of the original,inspired languages of the Bible, have been the basis for numerous erroneous doctrines and the divisions that have created (i.e. denominations) and various movements within Christ’s Body. The Apostle Paul stated this was inevitable, for when there is not absolute agreement upon the originally inspired Scriptures—there cannot be true unity within the Body of Christ. True unity is the result of having the same mind (beliefs), thoughts (opinions) and purposes (agendas) when it comes to God’s Holy Word.
These translation errors have been not only the basis for the creation of denominations within Christianity but also for denominational bias, in how the Scriptures are interpreted among various groups of Christians. How many times do we hear things like: “that’s your interpretation” when discussing Christian doctrinal views.
(1 Corinthians 1:10) Let there be no divisions in the
church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and
(1 Corinthians 11:19) But, of course, there must be
divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval
(regarding the truth) will be recognized! NLT
(1 Thessalonians 5:12) And we ask you, brethren, to
know those laboring among you, and leading you in the
Lord, and admonishing you (lit: teaching, correcting and
warning you). YLT (Young’s Literal Translation)
The Bible tells us to KNOW THOSE WHO LABOR AMONG YOU… As a Bible researcher and teacher since 1985, I have found the importance of this admonition to be a vital key to not only avoiding deception, but more importantly to discerning what is not accurate. Christianity has MANY teachers but very true mentors or “fathers” who are mature mentors of God’s Word… (1 Corinthians 4:15) For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers…
When we are told to KNOW our leaders and teachers, what we need most to know is— do their beliefs, opinions and agendas conflict with the originally inspired Scriptures? Knowing these things, especially the history of our early Church Fathers (mentors), is of utmost importance. Very few pastors and teachers in the traditional churches today teach accurate church history and the writings of the early church fathers (the first century fathers). After the first century, many pagan philosophers entered the church and caused a perversion of Christian doctrines to fit their own pagan ideas and philosophies that were adopted by the Roman Church to become Roman Catholic doctrines.
Our church leaders for the first generation, after the death of Jesus Christ, were the Twelve Apostles, who laid the foundation for the beliefs, opinions and purposes that were based upon what God’s Word (Jesus Christ—our head cornerstone) revealed to them. It is by His Holy Spirit, that the truth from God was revealed to the Apostles through the writings of the O.T. prophets, in which New Testament applications were given to them as part of the doctrinal foundation for God’s Church. (Ephesians 2:19-20) …you are …members of the household of God… having been built on the foundation of the APOSTLES and PROPHETS, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. NKJV
There is NO NEW REVELATION outside of what is revealed in the Bible. Adding to or taking away from the Bible’s inspired Word (also called “prophecy”) is forbidden. (Revelation 22:18-19) For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy (God’s inspired words) of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book… And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The original Christian doctrines were built upon the WORD OF GOD (i.e. Jesus Christ), this means All “Christian doctrine” (teaching) must align with the Chief Corner Stone (i.e. our plumb line for accuracy). Thus, what was preached for the first 100 to 150 years by the founding Apostles and later by those Church Fathers that were taught directly from them, are what we need to base our doctrinal beliefs upon. I say this because, many changes occurred due to differing interpretations of these foundational doctrines, due to the many gnostic, pagan and various philosophical ideas (i.e. tares) that were being planted among the teachings of the Apostles, who were continually fighting against the TARES TEACHINGS that were infiltrating the early churches from its very beginning.
Therefore, we must understand where a doctrine (teaching) originated and by whom a doctrine has been propagated by. I have learned it is also especially important to understand the perspective it is being interpreted from, in order to discern any personal bias coming from their cultural beliefs and traditions that may be involved in a leader’s personal interpretation of the Word that may conflict with what was given as originally inspired doctrines to the Apostles.
(Colossians 2:8) Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual (dark) powers of this world, rather than from Christ. NLT
(1 Timothy 6:20-21) O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted to you! (i.e. from the founding Apostles of the Church). Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination… For by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. AMP
There were those who professed Christianity, in the *patristic era, who were looked up to as the intellectuals of their day and were highly revered for their knowledge and (high sounding) ideas.
NOTE: Patristics is the study of the early Christian writers who are designated as early Church Fathers (authorities). The Patristic era began at the end of the 1st century (when the New Testament was almost completed and John the last Apostle, died in 100 A.D.) and it ended towards the close of the 8th century. NOTE: Many doctrines were embraced that were far outside the realm of belief of the founding Apostles. Many of their teachings were twisted and perverted by “Church authorities” to fulfill their personal agendas and biases.
These many “intellectual instructors” were looked up to and followed because your average person could not read or write and had to depend upon the intellectuals to teach them. Many of these men (of which their writings have been preserved) became leaders within the Church after the death of the apostles. These men are known to us as the “early (not the original founding) church Fathers.” They came from various backgrounds also having various pagan beliefs, opinions and agendas that often came into conflict with what was given through inspiration by God to the founding Apostles. Unless we have an accurate understanding of the background, culture and history of the era in which these men lived, we will not know who among them may or may not be entirely right in their theological opinions and views (as measured by the originally inspired Scriptures).
From their teachings and writings many “Christian” doctrines have been adopted, which in reality were merely “traditions and opinions of man” and have nothing to do with the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets who received their inspiration and directives from God. The Bible tells us knowledge is something Satan uses to promote pride in human beings. Even a cursory study of the Church Fathers reveals how pride was used to promoted division and evils of all kinds among the early church leaders—just as it has since the days of the Apostles until now.
Only those Church Fathers who did adhere to the doctrines of Christ and rightly divided the originally inspired Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, are those, credence should be given to as true leaders and teachers—within the Body of Christ. The same must hold true when it comes to sanctioning leaders and their teachings in our churches today — otherwise we become prime candidates for embracing erroneous teachings and doctrines, even those from demonic spirits that will be seducing people, especially in the end times … (2 Timothy 2:15-19) Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains (“rightly dividing”i.e. KJV) the truth. NLT
The above text makes the point that God’s Word (i.e. His words from the originally inspired languages (i.e. Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), need to be correctly explained (i.e. defined) or as the KJV states, rightly divided, which in the Greek text means to dissect. The dissection of the phrase “rightly divided” in the original Greek can be found in the following more comprehensive “Alternate Literal Translation” (ALT) summary of what (2 Timothy 2:15) is literally saying in the originally inspired Greek text:
To rightly divide or correctly explain the Word of God, literally means: to
ACCURATELY and truthfully dissect and translate God’s “originally inspired Word” in a comprehensive and decisive manner. In other words, this means dissecting the Word gives us a deeper understanding of as many aspects of truth as God reveals to us from the various shades of meaning to the Words being dissected. So, there can be a deeper understanding of what is being studied and not just a superficial perspective. The more comprehensive the study of the Bible’s topics and the originally inspired Words used to teach us about them, the deeper our understanding will be. This will result in settling issues that we need to be correctly understood. The deeper our understanding the greater our freedom of error.
The phrase rightly dividing or correctly explaining are translated from the Greek word NT:3718 ortho-tomeo (or-thot-omeh’-o); The Strong’s Concordance says: This means to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message); it is a compound word coming from: NT:3717 orthos (or-thos’) meaning: to be honest, right, plum and straight (i.e. to extend uprightly without perverting, twisting or wresting (i.e. forcing) and to be direct (i.e. extending straightly without deviating, swerving or stopping, to be straightforward, FACTUAL: To have true, accurate, genuine and real facts (i.e. aspects of truth) not opinions or interpretations of or reactions to …what is factual. The second compound word is: NT:5114 tomoteros (tom-o’-ter-os); meaning: to cut; to dissect in a manner that is straight, comprehensive and decisive (i.e. settling an issue).
The KJV Bible, although it has done an enormous amount of good and has been used by God to bless English speaking Christians since its creation, is however, not an INFALLIBLE TRANSLATION of the Bible. This is because every translation, including the KJV, is often the translators INTERPRETATION of the original Holy inspired languages, rather than an accurately dissected TRANSLATION of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages of the Bible.
An INTERPRETATION involves the translators UNDERSTANDING of the original word meanings, which are the chosen languages of God that were used to inspire those who wrote the Holy Bible. The accuracy of a translation of the original texts is dependent upon how knowledgeable the translator is concerning the original word meanings their etymology and the grammatical structure of the language being translated, as well as the cultural nuances involved.
Therefore, not having a complete understanding of word meanings and grammar, will cause the translator to give an interpretation that lacks the full scope and meaning of a word or text or even worse, give an inaccurate interpretation, due to their doctrinal or cultural bias in their interpretation of what they are translating.
An accurate Bible translation is supposed to be rendering a text from a source language (i.e. Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) into a target language of a culture (i.e. English, Spanish etc.), while preserving the fullness and intent of the original meaning. Therefore, we should NOT be looking to modern translations rather than the original languages of the Bible, this is imperative for a complete and accurate understanding of the word meanings found in the Scriptures.
God’s inspiration still remains upon the languages He chose to inspire, and as we study these words and texts we find a deeper level of many layers or applications of truth and understanding that goes beyond human (private interpretations) and reveals any errors that result from human interpretations. The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of all truth, and it is only through Him that we will accurately translate His inspired words.
When Truth Requires a New Perspective
I will now delve much deeper into the Word of God to gain a greater understanding than the majority of English Bible translations reveal, concerning the subjects of eternal punishment, hell and the Lake of Fire and brimstone. Why? Because when pride will not allow a person to receive the truth from the Holy Spirit, because of a personal agenda for resisting the truth… God resists the proud (James 4:6), and His Spirit of truth cannot operate within a prideful person. I would sincerely hope that the reader will lay aside any personal agendas or opinions and ask the Holy Spirit to be their teacher, as we go further into this study.
It is also most important for one to do their own research and study, so the truth can be confirmed through the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit—the revealer of all truth.
Without Scriptural confirmation, truth does not become established or firmly fixed within our spirit, leaving room for confusion and doubt to work, allowing this leaven to grow.
Again, I want to emphatically state, that most of our modern English Bible translations have translation errors and denominational biases that depart from many of the literal originally inspired word meanings. Without seeing the true scope of meanings for words in the originally inspired languages of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, many like myself for a good part of my Christian walk, have or will form wrong beliefs because of not studying the Bible from their original literal word meanings.
At present, I find there are only a very few, writers and teachers I currently know of who take the time to study the originally inspired texts of the Bible, to confirm what they teach as truth. When I do run across those who teach from the original texts, it is a thrill and joy to study their writings and teachings!
Because, so much of what these authors and teachers say, confirms what is also revealed to me from the originally inspired texts of Scripture. Sadly, just as I did for many years, the majority of writers and teachers today, rely on English Bible translations (yes, including the KJV) to form their ideas and doctrines; but these are missing the mark on so many subjects. I personally cut my teeth on the KJV Bible, and the Strong’s Concordance, both of which have elements I now find lacking in accuracy or true depth of meaning, especially since becoming aware of more resourceful older lexicons for Hebrew and Greek word studies.
Therefore, in case any think I am writing my own “private translation” to the verses translated from the originally inspired definitions of God’s words, I strongly urge ALL to do their own word studies, using multiple resources to confirm the truth and receive greater clarity. Do not put your faith in man but only in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth.
However, I will say, the Lord has used English translations to bless me with much truth, but because of being imparted some of these errors, the mixture of truth and error has hindered me in receiving an accurate understanding of the truth, when it is presented. This is due to having learned what is wrong and forming an erroneous perspective. When this is the case, one will struggle with doubt and wavering, until the truth is firmly confirmed through Scripture, when having to change an erroneous perspective to align with the truth. In other words, mixture can make our grasp of the truth a slippery struggle until the error are seen and cast down and the truth is confirmed and FIRMLY established.
(2 Peter 3:16-18) …those who are not taught or mis-taught having no
confirmation are not resolute but vacillating people, who twist to their own
destruction … the Scriptures … become aware …of the error that is wrong so you do not become a companion to seduction… but grow in the grace and knowledge from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ALT
Watch for my PART 2 post in this series … dealing with various Biblical teachings that revolve around current BIBLE INTERPRETATIONS rather than ACCURATE originally inspired TRANSLATIONS concerning some important ETERNAL REALITIES.