Living, Breathing Word of God…
There are a number of “versions” of the Holy Bible. Is one more authoritative than the others? Well, it would depend on whom you ask.
If we allow the Words that have breathed into life to be our guide, well, should give us a clue. As anyone with an an IQ above 100 can attest words, language and communication are paramount in conveying ideas, concepts and thoughts. Without a common language of communication it is, literally, impossible to convey ideas, concepts and thoughts from one person to another.
It has been a practice for the past three years to listen to the weekly service at the church we attend and revisit some of the heartier parts of the sermon to compare particular words from the Bible version used by the Pastor and what the King James Bible has to say. We primarily use the New King James Bible, as it is as close to the “original” as possible.
In Acts 8:31 we find in the KJB – And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The same verse in the NLT version – The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
Fairly similar with one major point of departure – the words – “guide” and “instruct” really stand out. Seemingly the same word, however, if one knows the words definition, well, one will find something completely different one from the other. The words “desired” and “urged” seem to be quiet different as well. (compare for yourself “desire(d) and “urge(d))
We love Merriam-Webster online and use it all the time to look up simple words we all think we know and understand only to discover just how little we actually know! Give it a try and see what happens.
“Guide” – according to Merriam-Webster
1a: one that leads or directs another’s way
needed a guide for the safari
b: a person who exhibits and explains points of interest
The museum guide was very helpful.
c: something that provides a person with guiding information
used the stars as a guide to find their way back
d: SIGNPOST sense 1
e: a person who directs another’s conduct or course of life
He was my mentor and guide during the early years of my career.
2a: a device for steadying or directing the motion of something
The jigsaw was equipped with a guide.
b: a ring or loop for holding the line of a fishing rod in position
c: a sheet or a card with projecting tab for labeling inserted in a card index to facilitate reference
3: a member of a unit on whom the movements or alignments of a military command are regulated —used especially in commands
That’s a well defined word!! Not only does it have several entries to explain the meaning, but it two different ways of using the word in a sentence. We really firmly believe that 1e is an appropriate use for the context we are discussing.
Now, lets’ look at the word “Instruct” under the same microscope. Once again, using Merriam-Webster as the point of reference.
1: to give knowledge to : TEACH, TRAIN
2: to provide with authoritative information or advice
the judge instructed the jury
3: to give an order or command to : DIRECT
The first thing we notice is for such an important word it is nowhere near as defined as the word “guide”. We also firmly believe that in the context we are discussing the word “instruct”, as defined, does not fit nor is appropriate for the intended use.
This is not the first time we have found this type of divide when it comes to specific words in the Bible.
If we are to breath, walk and live as our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, does it not make sense to get as close to what the Apostles wrote / spoke? Or does it matter? Should we simply willy-nilly the whole experience and just speak whatever words we hear, use the language that comes to us from whatever source?
If the living, breathing Word of God is important how important are the individual words used to convey the ideas, concepts and thoughts?
Either the Gospel is divine inspiration, the Word of God teaching us how to live and how to be a reflection of Him, or it’s nothing more than a historical account of events.