The Pen is Mightier than the Penknife

Jeremiah records in chapter 36 the history of King Jehoiakim’s rejection of prophecy. In verses 1-8, Jeremiah asks Baruch, a scribe, to write the prophecies on a scroll and then take them to the temple and read them before the people. Verses 9-19 tell of how one Michaiah heard the prophecy and had Baruch read the scroll before the leaders of the people in the chambers of Elishima the scribe. Upon hearing the message, the leaders desired to tell the king the message. In verses 20-26, the king heard the message and then commanded that the scroll be brought to him. He then took the scroll cut it up with a scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire to be burned. Then he commanded that Jeremiah and Baruch be captured. Fortunately, God had other plans for them and told Jeremiah of what had been done. So Jeremiah re-recorded the prophecies that had been written on the first scroll, to be saved for the ages. Jeremiah’s work is still around today, but who is Jehoiakim?

There have been many efforts throughout the ages to destroy the Bible. Kings and rulers have tried to squelch its message by destroying all known copies only to have those words preserved in the caves and crannies of time. The Roman Catholics chained the Bible to the pulpit in the middle ages to keep the average person from reading it, but Guttenberg’s press set it free. Skeptics have proclaimed its downfall only to see the increase of the Bible and a decrease of their own pathetic words. The Bible has stood the test of time and survived; Jesus’ prophecy continues to hold true today, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

But Satan is crafty and doesn’t give up easily. There is now a new, modern effort, to cause Jesus words to vanquish into obscurity. This modern day effort is more subtle and guised in seemingly honorable intentions. Many have already accepted this effort at destroying the words of God without even knowing that God’s words are being destroyed. To what am I referring? The bane of modern day translations.

Yes, Satan has learned that he cannot destroy God’s word by burning it, chaining it, churning it or spurning it. He hasn’t even been able to use “science” to destroy the Bible. So his methods have shifted from seeking to destroy the Bible from without to seeking to destroy it from within. Satan has learned that if you can convince those who read the Bible that they are too dumb to understand it, then you can get them to ask for an easy-to-read translation. Then, Satan can use translators to make subtle, but critical, differences in translation so that you will believe Satan’s lies instead of God’s truth.

One such example is found in the “Good As New” translation that was recently endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the practical leader of the church of England (the Queen is the official “head of the church”). The “Good As New” translation changes baptism for the remission of sins in Mark 1:4 to baptism to show that one has already been forgiven of sins. It inserts profanities into the scriptures in at least one place. Perhaps most appallingly, however, is that it changes the terms “husband” and “wife” into the politically correct “partner” implying that one may practice fornication or even homosexuality in order to satisfy one’s sexual desires. There are other translations whose changes are not so obvious and much more subtle. We should carefully examine all “new translations” before adopting them wholesale.

Like all other efforts, this new effort on Satan’s part at trying to destroy God’s word will ultimately fail and God’s true word will be glorified. But how many souls will fail to recognize that before it is too late? God never promised that his word would be “easy to understand” in the sense that many today expect God’s word to read like a dime store novel. No. God has always said that His word requires a modicum of effort on our part. Indeed we must “Study” (give diligence) to show ourselves approved unto God, search the scriptures daily to see if what is being taught is truth (Acts 17:11), try the prophets because there are many false teachers in the world (1 John 4:1) and speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). God’s word can be understood (Ephesians 3:3-5), but we must study it, learn it, and live it.

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