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Is Your Sword Sharp Enough?

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

If you were to find an ancient sword at an archeological site you can be sure that it would stir some excitement. You can also be sure that you would not want to use it to do surgery on yourself. There are many people searching through antiquity for older manuscripts of the word of God. When you become familiar with these manuscripts, you realize that most of them are riddled with error. The best proof of that is they don't agree with each other. As Dean Burgon observed, when a group of witnesses to any given event all disagree among themsleves, they are not a very reliable group.

I didn't grow up with a bible. My religious education was supplied by Roman Catholic nuns and priests. I first heard the stories of David and Goliath, the flood, and Solomon's wisdom in discerning who the true mother was between two women from some very sincere nuns while I was still in elementary school. I first heard of the Great White Throne judgment from these dear ladies. I have never regretted learning those things while young and it was healthy for me to have learned the fear of God's judgment.

My first sustained exposure to bible teaching was while I was in the military. My bible at that time was The Good News For Modern Man. As inexact as that bible is, I discovered that the Roman Catholic church was not accurate in its teachings. I don't regret that. I began to attend bible studies in which a smorgasbord of bible versions was used. Exact doctrinal stands were discouraged. There just didn't seem to be any way of settling disputes.

Often, new attendees would try to introduce some specific doctrine such as Calvinism, water baptism. speaking in tongues, or loss of salvation. These discussions were frowned upon and never went anywhere. The general gist of the matter was that one person would have a certain number of verses that upheld what he believed, and someone else would have a different set of verses upholding their position.

We would steer away from such discussions. A successful bible study to us was when the moderator read a particular passage, each attendee would comment about how his bible read at that passage and we would discuss its implications to our lives. Often some girl would say, "That is so true" as some point was touched upon.

We never attempted to solve great issues because we thought that our bibles were incapable of ever being exact enough. It was commonly understood that scholars who were immersed in Greek and Hebrew and who had access to the older and better manuscripts could delve into such matters and that if we ever wanted to know the weightier doctrines, we would need to read behind those men. Little did I realize then that among those high and mighty scholars was no more unity on the major doctrines than among us lowly bible students. No matter how twisted and bizarre any given doctrine truly is, there is always somewhere some scholar who believes that he can prove that it is indeed true.

The first time someone showed up to one of our bible studies and insisted that the King James Bible was the word of God and that all others were wrong and from hell, my first thought was that this was some weird legalism. I felt a measure of responsibility towards some of the younger or less experienced in our group and so I plunged into the history of Christianity, the history of bibles and the issues surrounding translations. I learned a lot. Someone kindly lent me Peter Ruckman's The Christian's Handbook of Manuscript Evidence and I knew that this author had made sense out of the centuries of manuscripts and how to understand their significance.

What caused me to ever read a book by Peter Ruckman? Fear made me widen my search for answers. A young man who believed that baptism was necessary for salvation began to attend our bible studies. He had his verses. His opponents had their verses. He frightened me. He explained that even if I went and got baptized, unless I did it in faith for salvation, it was worthless. When I went to those men in whom I had much confidence, they immediately pointed out the thief on the cross. That calmed me down.

When I told my antagonist about the thief on the cross, he popped my bubble. He explained that water baptism for salvation started in the Book of Acts and that it was a New Testament doctrine. He pointed out that even though the thief's story was recorded in the New Testament, the thief's life and death were from the Old Testament before Jesus Christ resurrected. His story could not help me at all. In my desperation I went to the man who was pushing the King James Bible. I told him of my woes. He instantly brought up the thief on the cross. I then told him that the other man had shot that down by pointing out that the thief was from the Old Testament.

I will never forget that man stopping and chewing on what I had said. He didn't just offer up a string of verses as if whoever had the most verses would win. He stayed right there with the verse offered. He quoted the Book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

He then asked me, "Who died first, the thief or Jesus Christ?". I answered that Jesus had died first. He then said rather matter of factly, "Then the thief died in the New Testament".

I'll never forget that moment. I had never seen someone trust their bible so implicitly. His bible cut through the competing verses and without piling up a mound of verses against an opponent's mound of verses, he dissected the critical verse with a sword sharp enough to cut through it. I have learned through the years that for a doctrine to be true, every single verse in the word of God when examined in its context, and observing to whom it is written, and to what time it is aimed, must agree with that doctrine. I can have ten thousand verses backing up what I say, but if I come across even one verse in its proper context that differs with my conclusion, I am wrong and must look at it all anew.

Adherence to the King James bible is liberating. As I have mentioned so many times before, the general public when shown that there really is an infallible bible, gladly hears what it says. I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall when I introduce the infallibility of the King James Bible to religious people. Occasionally, one will let down his guard long enough to see the truth, but those are few and far between. The Black Creek Baptist Church has many families and many people whose lives have been forever changed by Jesus Christ who hitherto fore had no plans of going to any church. When they realized that truth is not some man's opinion, but is instead discovered in the pages of a King James Bible, they stuck, learned and were converted.

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