It’s been a while since I wrote a blog and generally there is something that strikes a chord within me that requires a response. I was asked if I had read the recent article in the Cabarrus Neighbors, which I had not. I was encouraged to read it, which I did.
Let me clearly say that I am not a Hebrew Scholar, only having the basic classes during my time in seminary. However, I have a love for the Word of God which is unaltered throughout the ages and the customs of mankind. I think of the Scripture in the NT where Jesus warns the Religious elite of making the word of God of no effect because of their traditions (Mark 7:13). I believe we are seeing this today as we filter the Word of God through our personal and social agendas. Culture does not define God’s Word. His Word should define our culture.
So when I read the argument concerning certain “difficult texts” I am at a quandary as to first, why they are difficult texts and secondly, how we can so easily receive instruction that is so contrary to how these texts have been translated for centuries without questioning the source. They are difficult if we allow our own traditions, cultures and reasonings to oppose the Word of Truth that has stood the test for centuries. So let me begin and let’s use Lev. 20:13 as a discussion Scripture. I have chosen this Scripture since this was cited in the article and comments were made concerning how mistranslation has caused heartache to many. Just because something is difficult does not mean it is not the best thing for us. Actually, the difficult and best thing may be the same thing. So, let’s look at the translation from a logical point of view.
Leviticus 20:13 — 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
First, concerning incorrect punctuation causing the text to be mistranslated: Surely the hundreds of Hebrew scholars who have been involved in translating the Bible for centuries would have discovered this error. What is the probability that the scores and scores of scholars would have colluded to hide this important fact just to promote their own “anti-homosexual” agenda?
I would think that somewhere and at some time over the past 2000 years, not to mention the years prior to the life of Jesus, someone would have had the intellectual acuity and integrity to pick up on this important issue of mistranslation due to punctuation error and correctly translate the Word of God, had there truly been error.
So, not being a Hebrew Scholar and desiring to know truth, I began a search through the many translations that I own thinking surely there must be one who has seen this error and corrected it. But I found none! I have several thousands of dollars of Bible software and I looked at dozens of translations and not a single one of these indicate that these difficult scriptures should be translated any differently than has been recorded in all major Bible translations. So I choose to believe the hundreds of scholars through the years who have chosen to translate this Scripture as we have found it in all the many translations that are available to us. Is it then possible that the translation based on “punctuation” is really a translation of convenience to satisfy one’s own personal agenda? Have we made the Word of God of no effect in our lives because of our own traditions (Mark 7:13) and justified our behaviors by our “own” self-condoning translations?
Secondly, the question is asked “….texts…that seem to condemn rather than invite. How is this possible when we believe in a compassionate, loving God?” My question is “how can we ever qualify or quantify the love of God by our interpretation of Scripture.” Is God’s love so finite that its validity rests upon the fact that He would never call sin-sin because it might hurt the feelings of others? God’s love is quantified in Christ as seen in John 3:16…For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Or also as seen in
1 John 4:9 — God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is the love of God, that He is willing to pardon all sin by the act of faith in and obedience to His Son. We have developed a very serious error in our thinking to believe that God limits us by “His Word” against sin. We must realize that God does not set limits, He set standards and then gives us a choice to accept His standards. God’s standard is His Word. His standard is His Holiness. His standard is His Love.
Deuteronomy 6:1-3 tells us the importance of obeying the Word of the Lord. It is that “it might go well with us”. Let’s not deceive ourselves by twisting the Word of God to suit our own fleshly reasoning or pet agendas. Let’s strive to live according to the Standards set in God’s Word.