Studies in the First Psalm – Part 3

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;

The name used to refer to God’s word is “the law of the LORD”. Whenever we see “the LORD” in the King James Bible, we know that this is the most sacred name, the one that God gave to Moses when he asked God what his name was, the one that the Jews never dare to pronounce, which we transliterate as “Jehovah”, and which translates as “I AM”. This name is a wonderful revelation of God’s nature which suggests His eternity, His self-sufficiency, His transcendence, and the impenetrable mystery of His being.

The word for law in both places is torah. It is used in a variety of senses in Scripture, and is the name given by the Jews to the Pentateuch, but in this place it means the whole of Scripture, conceived of as Divine instruction. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16).

Not just the New Testament, but the Old is also inspired, and so is equally necessary to the equipping of the man of God: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21).

The very words are inspired by the Holy Spirit: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Corinthians 2:12-13).

Not only were the original autographs the inspired word of God, but faithful original language copies are the word of God, as well. For the Scriptures that Jesus appealed to , and attributed infallible authority to, were not the autographa, but the apographa, accurate copies many times removed from the first originals. God’s special providence has guarded the text, so that its details have been preserved intact in the accurate copies, according to the promises:

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6,7)

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” (Luke 16:17)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33)

While the ultimate authorities remain the approved copies in the original Hebrew and Greek, faithful translations of the accurate copies are also to be regarded as the word of God, for the New Testament writers often authoritatively quote from the Greek Old Testament in common use among Greek-speaking believers. The “holy Scriptures” that Timothy, a Greek, knew from childhood, which his mother and grandmother taught him, would most likely have been in Greek, not Hebrew. The King James Bible, may be properly called the inspired, infallible word of God, for it was made from the accurate, divinely-preserved original language texts, and it is a faithful, accurate translation of holy Scripture.

I dwell on this, because in these days, there are swarms of corrupted Bibles competing for our attention, created for no other purpose than to make fortunes for the publishing companies, that are not worth the match to set them all ablaze. Many of these have been endorsed by well-meaning Christian leaders. I think that there are three main reasons why they are endorsed:

1) Some of these men desperately want people to read the Bible, and they think that people will more likely read an easy-to-understand modern language version like the TEV or the “Living Bible”. But there is no evidence that people who have modern English Bibles read them more than people who use the KJV. From my experience, I would say that the opposite is likely true. Nor do I believe that most people will read their Bibles more, if only they will trade in the old one for the latest model. I think that the real issue is whether or not we are in love with Jesus Christ — whether we want to know Him badly enough to take the time to read his love-letters. If you do, then you will not tolerate anything less than a trustworthy version of the Bible, even if it’s not the easiest to understand.

2) Others wrongly think that the original-language texts were not preserved intact by God, but were corrupted by the scribes and copyists of the church. They think that modern scholarship has created texts closer to the autographs than we had when the KJV was translated, by picking through the wastebaskets of history for clues to the original readings. Naturally, these men think that some of the newer word-for-word translations, like the NAS or the ESV are more accurate than the KJV. But how can they be more accurate, when they are translated from texts fabricated by Modernistic scholars instead of the ones God has preserved, that have been approved and copied by the church from the beginning?

3) Still others think that a word-for-word translation cannot accurately convey the thoughts of Scripture to modern readers, and so they endorse versions like the NIV, which tell us in their own words what the translators think God wanted to say to us. But if we believe that God inspired the actual words of Scripture, why would we not trust his wisdom in that, and treasure those very words that He deemed best to communicate His ideas to us? Why allow mere men to present to us their interpretation of His own words, in place of the very words of God themselves? We have preachers and the commentators to help us interpret God’s word properly — let the translator stick to his proper task, and let him render every precious word faithfully into English, as the translators of the KJV have done.

Use extreme caution in evaluating the modern versions. Do not be taken in by their hype. With few exceptions, they are not to be trusted. I beg you, in Christ’s name, make the real law of the LORD the basis for your reading, study, memorization, meditation, teaching, and public and private worship. You cannot go far wrong following the reliable old English Bible of our fathers — the Authorized or “King James” Version.

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