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From the Preacher’s Pen…

I have a question for you that practically every faithful Christian in the Lord’s church would like to have answered. Why do Christians make hateful comments and do things that are a disgrace to the Lord’s body?

The answer? Because they’d rather serve the Devil than Jesus!

Now comes the really important question: Are you one of those or do you really belong to Jesus?

You see, many people fail to become Christians and many Christians grow discouraged and leave the church because of the words and actions of so-called (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:11) Christians. When we are called to be the light of the world, we become totally useless when that light of God is not seen in our lives.

There’s an old sign that reads:

Wanted: Encouragers (we have a surplus of critics already)!

Let’s examine that lesson a bit more, but starting from another perspective…

The Most Important “Version” of the Bible

One of the questions that I’m often asked is: “What’s the best Bible translation?” The answer to that question is important and there are easily dozens of translations to choose from. Many are grossly inaccurate. Others are either oversimplified or almost unintelligibly hard to read. So which is the most accurate? Which is the safest? Which should I use? Which should my children use?

What IS the most important version of all?

The saddest part of the question comes when brethren start to divide the Lord’s church over “versions” and in so doing neglect that most important “version” in God’s own eyes!

I realize that impressive arguments are made for many versions. Unfortunately, many who make the loudest arguments wouldn’t know an alpha from an omega or an aleph from chopped liver. If someone knows nothing (or knows only incorrect information) about the Biblical manuscripts, the translation process and the languages involved, how could their opinions have much value?

The fact is, each “version” has strengths and weaknesses, pluses and minuses that weigh on their value. Having said that, I’m still going to take a stand! There remains that very important “version”, that vital letter of Christ Himself, that one version that we are all required to have and have right! It’s one that we must make sure is in our library, or rather, in our lives! And it’s found in 2 Corinthians 3:3.

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3, NIV 2011)

While Paul is specifically talking about those Christians at Corinth, the point is clear for us: As Christians, as children of God, we are Christ’s letter written with the “Spirit of the living God,” written in our hearts.

Now, what kind of version are you and I? Do you and I get the translation correct? Do we correctly show the Spirit and will of God in our lives, in our words and deeds? And how do you and I read to a world that is lost in sin? Does it matter if we incorrectly translate or show the love of God? Does it matter if we falsely teach something that is not God’s will? Countless numbers of people in this world will not see or read one of those written versions, but they will see us. What do we do to ensure that the one translation of God’s word that they do see is the most accurate Christ-like one and nothing is lost in the translation?

There’s an old Gospel song entitled “The World’s Bible” that says:

  • Christ has no hands but our hands
  • To do His work today,
  • He has no feet but our feet
  • To lead men in His way;
  • He has no tongue but our tongues
  • To tell men how He died,
  • He has no help but our help
  • To bring them to His side.
  • We are the only Bible
  • The careless world will read,
  • We are the sinners’ gospel,
  • We are the scoffer’s creed;
  • We are the Lord’s last message
  • Given in deed and word,
  • What if the type is crooked?
  • What if the print is blurred?
  • What if our hands are busy
  • With other things than His?
  • What if our feet are walking
  • Where sin’s allurement is?
  • What if our tongues are speaking
  • Of things His life would spurn?
  • How can we hope to help Him
  • And welcome His return?

Read 2 Corinthians 3:2-6 once more and let’s make sure that our accuracy is from God; that we correctly reflect God’s will and Spirit and love in our lives this week. Together, we can be the light of the world, the best of all Bible translations to the world around us.

And in so doing we will BE the encouragers and loving saints that God has called us to be!

— Lester P. Bagley