Sunday, February 16, 2014

Is Lack of Knowledge a Sin?

Once again I want to stress the importance of knowledge when you are talking about Christianity.  So often I hear someone say, "I don't have to go to church, I don't have to learn," or maybe even,"I don't have to read a Bible.  I know that I believe Jesus is my Savior and that is all I need to know."  I can only answer, "Are you sure?"  Any thing that anyone tries in this life requires knowledge, except, according to some, spirituality.  I truly do not understand this.

I read a statement by a man who said that Jesus was his savior and, as a result, he never sinned.  I do not know this person, but I know without a doubt that he is wrong.  It is impossible for anyone to go through a single day without sinning.  We only have to read "The Ten Commandments" to know that.  I think that where many people get confused is in thinking that only severe actions are a sin.  Not so.  Romans 3:10 says, "There is no one who is righteous, not even one."  And 1 John 5:17 says, "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal."  As you learn you come to understand that in God's eyes taking a pencil from work is the same as robbing a bank; thinking of someone lustfully is adultery; a single curse word is taking God's name in vain; a car, a job, a sport, anything that becomes overly important to you can be your personal god; or that little white lie you tell, so you won't hurt some one's feelings is still a lie.  "All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them."  1 John 3:15.  There are thousands of ways to make God upset with us and frequently we do not even know that we are sinning.

This is why God gave us Jesus.  John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life."  Jesus did not come to tell us that we are so wonderful, but instead, to bring us back to God through Him  We are still sinners.  Without Jesus we are nothing.  We cannot have even a minimal understanding of how this all works without deep study of our Bible and more as we grow in our faith.

At Look and Find Jesus we have a short recommended reading page.  This list is short, but will be growing over time.  Please check it out and start reading.  We also have our two Bible Study books that we hope you will check out.  You will find them on our Home Page.  Remember what God said to Israel in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me, and since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NIV: God or the devil

Hose 4:6A  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
Proverbs 8:10  Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.
2 Peter 3:18  Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Some time ago I read an article in which the writer stated that the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was the devil's doctrine and that the King James Version (KJV) was the true word of God.  Because I was taught with the KJV as a child and have used the NIV extensively as an adult, I decided to research this statement.  In case you are wondering I value both translations as conveying the word of God.

I started my project by pulling out 5 translations that I have, in addition to the KJV and NIV.  These 5 translations included the Revised Standard (1952 ed.), the Living Bible, The Message, the Life Application Study Bible and The Complete Gospels which includes the gospels, but not the passages from Acts, Romans, and 1 John to which the writer of the article referred.

The list of Bible passages to which both myself and the original writer are referring are as follows:
  • Matthew 12:47; 17:21; 18:11; 21:44; 23:14
  • Mark 7:16; 9:44; 9:46; 11:26; 15:28; 16:9-20
  • Luke 17:36; 22:43-44; 23:17
  • John 5:4; 7:53 to 8:11
  • Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29
  • Romans 16:24
  • 1 John 5:7
At this time I would like to talk a little about each of the 5 translations and how they agree or disagree with the KJV and NIV.  The original article that I read stated that the NIV was the writing of the devil because it did not include several verses that are found in the KJV.  At this time I will be addressing the verses in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and Romans.  I will address the passage from 1 John later in this article.

I will start with the Revised Standard (1952 ed.) which is a revision of the American Standard published in 1901.  The American Standard, which I do not have, was a revision of the KJV published in 1611.  The Revised Standard (1952 ed.) agreed with the NIV on all verses except two.  Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53 to 8:11 are included as they are in the KJV.

The Living Bible generally agreed with the KJV, but in 5 instances it agreed with the NIV.  There were no explanations as to why the verses were either there or not.  Since I could not find any information about this translation or the translators, I will not go any farther as to why they included what they did or did not.

The third translation I have included is titles "The Message."  Published in 2002 and again in 2005 it was translated from the original Greek and Hebrew by Eugene H. Peterson.  His translation was checked and confirmed by 15 Old Testament scholars and 5 New Testament scholars.  The Message does not include any footnotes and agrees with the NIV in all instances except one.  Mark 16:9-20 which is included as it is in the KJV has a note that says these verses are only included in later manuscripts.  Early manuscripts do not include them.

The next translation that I looked at was the Life Application Study Bible published first in 1988 with many editions to follow.  Scholars from a great number of Divinity Schools participated in this publication.  For this translation there were 3 verses from the KJV that were included.  All other verses agreed with the NIV.  The included verses were Mark 16:9-20 with a note that said these verses are not always included, Luke 22:43-44 were included with a note that this reference is found only Luke.  The third section is a passage, John 7:53 to 8:11.  It was included but with a note that it could not be found in early manuscripts.

Finally, the fifth translation that I looked at is titled "The Complete Gospels" and was published in 1992.  It was translated by religious scholars from Harvard, Notre Dame, Wesleyan, and other universities.  I personally like this translation because it does not represent any denomination and is free of ecclesiastical and religious control.  Unfortunately, it only includes the gospels and as a result, cannot be used as a reference for the Acts, Romans, and 1 John passages.  This translation offered the most information about why they agreed with the NIV and I would like to take the time to share what they said.

Starting with the Matthew passages there are no footnotes for 12:47 and the other verses were not included.  For Matthew 17:21 they said the verse could not be found in the original text and had been included by someone from the Mark 9:29 text.  The same was true for Matthew 18:11 which they believed was brought over from Luke 19:10.  Matthew 21:44 was brought from Luke 20:18 and Matthew 23:14 from Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.

Concerning the Mark passages: they included Mark 7:16, stating only that it was not in all translations.  They pointed out that Mark 9:44 and 9:46 are the same as Mark 9:48 and that some translators had decided to pair 9:44 with  9:43 and 9:46 with 9:45. but they decided to stay with the original language.  For Mark 11:26 and 15:28 they did not include them and said they could find nothing in the original text about these passages.  Mark 16:9-20 was not included again because there was no record of these verses in the original text.  There are; however, at least 3 theories as to why the verses were added, but I will not go into them at this time.

Luke 17:36 and 22:43-44 were also not included by these translators who stated they could not find them in original texts nor could they find any reason for the appearance of these verses.  Luke 23:17 was not included but the translators said that when it is included, it is sometimes at 23:17, but can also be found between Luke 23:19 and 23:20.

John 5:4 was not included for the same reason given before but the writers believed that the passage started being included as an explanation for what was happening in the passage.  Finally, these translators referred to John 7:53 to 8:11, which they did not include, as an orphan story.  In the editions that most of us are familiar with it is included in this spot; however, it can appear after Luke 21:30, after John 7:44, or after John 21:25; hence the name orphan story.  This story was attributed to Jesus but for some reason never got attached to a specific place.

This bring our attention the th 1 John 5-7 verses, the absence of which in the NIV seemed to be particularly upsetting to the writer of the original article.  The verse says "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  The writer of the original article states that "This is one of the greatest verses testifying of the trinity" and that statement is completely accurate.  The problem is that it first appears in 1611AD with the publication of the KJV.  The question then becomes one of who is correct.  Were the translators of the KJV wrong in including it.  I personally do not believe so.  Does the absence of 1 John 5:7 in the NIV make those translators advocates of the devil.  Definitely not!  They were simply staying true to the original Greek.  This is why at Look and Find Jesus we believe so strongly in religious knowledge.  A personal relationship with Jesus must include feelings and knowledge.  Without feelings a relationship is cold and not satisfying, but without knowledge we may not have the relationship that we believe is there.

I would like to end this article with a few sentences about the KJV and the NIV.  To do this it becomes necessary to look at the very first English translations available.  The first was completed by William Tyndale, but was not received well.  He was accused of "willfully perverting the meaning of the Scriptures" and it was ordered that the copies of his New Testament be burned as untrue translation.  In 1536 he was publicly executed and burned at the stake.  Several more attempts at translation were made in 1535, 1537, 1539, 1568 and 1582.  All of them used Tyndale's original translation as the foundation for those that followed.

When the translators of the KJV began working on the new translation, they unfortunately, tried to take into account what the earlier translators had written.  This meant that the KJV, which was first published in 1611, was a compilation of the works of all the previous translators plus their own work,  Over the next 290 years translators were continually trying to fix the mistakes that they were aware existed.  All of this work culminated in the publication of the American Standard Version in 1901.  Problems still continued and the American Standard was revised in 1952 and again in 1989.

All of this confusion led to a meeting in Palos Heights, Illinois.  At this time it was decided that there was a need to go back to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and start over again with a completely new translation.  This meeting began a several years long project which led to the birth of the NIV.  It was worked on by Biblical scholars from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  All denominations were represented by over 100 scholars who took many thousands of hours of research and discussion to arrive at what we today call the NIV.

I apologize for the length and dryness of this article, but I really felt like I was being led by God to write it.  We all believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but we also must realize that prior to the invention of the printing press, everything was printed by hand and subject to human error; no one is perfect, not even then.  Having said all of this I still believe that it makes no difference, if you use the KJV or the NIV or both, as I do.  The Christian church has so many more pressing issues.  There are a great many professed Christians who do not live a daily life of repentance, as Jesus told us we must.  We are all sinners and make mistakes daily.  It is possible that one of our mistakes could turn someone away from Jesus.  In my opinion this is a much more serious issue than the presence or absence of a couple verses.  Remember that you actions may be the only Bible that some people see.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween or All Hallow's Eve

Halloween; All Hallow's Eve
As we approach the end of October and the celebration of Halloween, I felt the need to talk a little about the connection between the church and Halloween. 

In Romans 1:7 Paul addresses the Christians in Rome by saying, “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.”  In Philippians 1:1 he says, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi.”  The Greek word for “saint” can also be defined as “holiness.”  Since Christians have been declared holy or righteous by God, all Christians are saints.

During the eighth century the Church established a special day for the feast of All Saints or All Saints Day.  The evening before became known as All Hallows Eve.  The celebration of All Saints was intended to give honor to those Christians who had preceded the living in death.   Originally All Hallows Eve was solemn and without any merriment.  It was believed that on this night departed souls were liberated from Purgatory and were allowed to return to their earthly homes.  Eventually, in Ireland, Scotland and England the religious celebration was joined with a secular celebration of Ireland and prayer was combined with merriment.  Beggars (today called Trick or Treaters) would go from door to door begging for “soul cakes.”  In return they promised to pray for the dead of the household.  Soul cakes were a shortbread like small cake and could be very fancy.  Legend, or maybe a true story, tells of a cook who decided to make a soul cake that would remind everyone about eternity.  She cut a hole in the middle of the small cake and dropped it in hot fat and we have a doughnut.  Circle that it is, a doughnut can remind us of the never ending time of eternity.

The beggars would sing at every one’s door something like, “a soul cake, a soul cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake.”  Eventually the singing gave way to charades and drama.  The message was to warn the living that they needed to listen to Jesus and take the steps needed for salvation before it was too late.  Goblins and witches with cats, which were ancient symbols of the devil, appeared as a symbol for keeping track of spirits that had been released from hell.  The goblins and witches were supposed to make sure that the visitors from hell returned at sunlight.

I have heard many Christians say that Halloween should be outlawed or at least that Christians should stop participating.  I would like to suggest an alternative.  Instead of candy use soul cakes and gather together for prayer and remembrance of those who have lived before us.  Use doughnuts as soul cakes, and perhaps have a doughnut making party and discuss “what eternity means to me.”  Costumes could be of those people that we find in the Bible.  Instead of throwing Halloween out, I believe that it would be much better to return to the reasons for which Halloween (All Hallows Eve) was started followed by the celebration of All Saints Day on November 1.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Please meet my new book "Bible Trivia"

Proverbs 8:10-11 - Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies.

Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

At this time I would like to bring my latest book to your attention.  It is in keeping with my belief that we must learn as much as we possibly can about Jesus and the Bible.  If we have only heart knowledge about Jesus, we might be fooling ourselves into believing that Jesus taught something that He didn't.  We must combine head knowledge with heart knowledge; both must be there. 

My new book, "Bible Trivia" is an easy way to become familiar with the highlights of the Bible.  There are 90 questions taken from the Old Testament and 110 questions taken from the New Testament.  Each question includes Chapter and Verse where the answer can be found.  There is also an answer key, just in case there is some confusion about what the correct answer is.  As I said, these questions are not in depth questions but are meant to be fun and to offer a look at some of the most familiar parts of the Bible.  This book can also be used as a trivia challenge for Bible study groups of all ages.

"Bible Trivia" is available on Amazon for only $5.49 and also qualifies for free shipping.  Check it out now, while you are thinking about it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Project Green

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  James 2:17

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12

As Christians we are reminded again and again that we should be alert and aware of the needs of others and that we are to help them in anyway that we can.  With this in mind we at Look and Find Jesus have stepped out in faith with our first major outreach program that we lovingly call "Project Green."

The purpose of this program is to provide and install, free of charge, solar panels for single parent families and senior citizens who have received disconnect notices from their electric company.  Our goal is to help people across the United States.  As you have probably already figured out this is going to be a very expensive project, but we believe that it is worth it, considering the help that it will provide to those individuals who are receiving the solar panels and also the work that it will provide for the companies installing the panels.  A huge added bonus is the benefit to the Earth.  The more renewable energy that we can use will make a better world for our children and grandchildren.

During this organizational stage, which is also expensive, we are asking for your help.  Soon we will be reaching out to churches across the country and then to well-known sports and entertainment personalities for major fund raising.  For now we are using pay-pal for contributions; however, we will be opening a bank account and will make that address available, as soon as we find a bank that will give us the best possible service.  We will also be providing pictures of all projects and events as they become available.

We pray that you can find it in your hearts to help us through this initial stage.  More information and the donation process can be found on our web-site  We thank you in advance for any help that you can provide and extend an invitation for you to provide us with an e-mail address on our "Contact Us" page, so that we can send you updates as they occur.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Why Go to Church

Matthew 16:18 - "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

For some time I have been hearing negative comments concerning the church and why it is better to stay home and worship rather than going to church and worshiping with other Christians.  What is being forgotten is that the church belongs to God and when we reject the church we are rejecting God.  I agree that the church is not perfect, but it is because we are all human that there is a problem.  It is not because God is doing something to mess things up.  I believe that instead of avoiding church we should be involved and try to remind everyone about what the Bible says.

Following is a short story I found among my papers that might help to make my point.

A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church.  "I've gone for thirty years," he wrote, "and in that time I heard something like 3,000 sermons.  But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them; so I think I'm wasting my time, and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor.  It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:  "I've been married for thirty years now.  In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those cooked meals.  But I do know this.  They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work.  If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today."

No comments were made on the sermon comments anymore.
When you are down to nothing, God is up to something!  Faith is invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.
                                                             Author Unknown

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bible Word Search

Bible Word Search

Some time ago Kelly spoke with you about a book titled "Bible Word Search."  Since I am the author, I would like to take this time to share with you the format of the book and a little about what I was hoping to accomplish.

I would like to start by saying that in every Bible study I have attended, with the exception of one, the leader started with a Bible story, read it, and then proceeded to ask questions about the story, hoping to generate a discussion.  This works minimally, but I have never witnessed a truly exciting Bible study.  My hope with this book is to change that.

Educators, and particularly music educators, will tell you that when you practice a composition in the same way all the time very little is learned or changed.  This is the concept around which I wrote this book.  In order to learn you must approach a subject in many different ways, ie: go in the front door, back door, a window, and many other approaches.  For this reason I chose a series of topics, such as "Titles for Jesus."  Do you know that there are over 100 titles for Jesus mentioned in the Bible.  Most people do not.  Using the topic "Titles for Jesus" I then developed a fill in the blank section by finding the Chapter and Verse where a specific title was used.  I then developed a Word Search grid where these titles can be used to do an old fashioned word search.

This Bible Study can be done alone or with a group.  If done in a group each title can be discussed to determine who referred to Jesus in this way and why He was called by that title.  I also included a very short pararaph about the history of a topic as well as a dictionary that included many terms that might be unfamiliar.  I hope that you find this book to be as educational and entertaining as I did when I wrote it.  You can find a copy of a sample puzzle on this blog by clicking here.