The Value of Punctuation
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled, Matthew 5:18.
In an earlier post, I likened punctuation to a traffic policeman who keeps a busy intersection moving smoothly. With a period, he holds up his hand, blows his whistle, and orders a full stop. With a comma, he cautions the reader to slow down and think before proceeding. With a semicolon, his whistle requires a short pause before cautiously proceeding. With a colon he requires a slightly longer pause before turning onto a new street, but keeping on the same route.
Commas can change the meaning of a sentence. Here are a few examples:
A woman without her man is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
In the first iteration the woman is described as nothing without a man. In the second iteration it is the man who is nothing without the woman. If that was spoken out loud, the speaker would add the colons and commas by pausing as he spoke. "A woman" (Pause slightly longer than what is usual.) "without her" (slight pause) "man is nothing. Then say the entire sentence without pausing. What the colon and the comma did was to convey the meaning meant by the author just as if the author was in the room speaking.
I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog.
I find inspiration in cooking, my family, and my dog.
Without commas, the first sentence is gruesome. The second sentence correctly uses commas to show that there is a list of things that the author finds inspirational.
Among the many uses of commas is the requirement that a comma be used after certain transition phrases or clauses. One example of this is distinguishing time.
When I went to see the woman I married,
When I went to see the woman, I married.
Two completely different ideas are conveyed. In the first, I went to see a woman with whom I had shared matrimony. Who did I go to see? I went to see the woman I married. In the second, when I went to see the woman. What did I do when I went to see the woman? I performed an action, I married. What would make sense if spoken aloud, only makes sense if punctuated properly.
That brings us to Jude 1:9, Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. What if there was a comma after the word devil?
When contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses.
To read the verse that way would bring it into line with the new versions which among the many things that they push, maintain that there is only one devil. They believe there are many demons, but only one devil. To put a comma after the word "devil" would be to make the devil mentioned, "the devil". But, it is not the devil. It is a devil. What devil is it? It is the devil he disputed about the body of Moses.
Your King James Bible describes for us a spiritual world in which there are many devils. Not long after I began to realize that the King James Bible was perfect, I encountered a young man in a laundromat. Seeing him read a bible, I expressed my belief that the King James Bible was infallible. He instantly rebuked me. He said that there was only one devil but many demons, and that my bible had botched a very important doctrine.
It is good for a young bible student to get a bloody nose from time to time. Obviously, I am speaking metaphorically. A good street fighter got that way by getting his nose broken too many times. Each time it happened, he learned a new trick, and the one pulled on him to break his nose the last time will never work on him again. Likewise, it is the interactions with self important and deluded new-version advocates that often bloodies a bible believer's nose. If he is a serious student of the word of God he will limp home with a bloody nose. He will get into the book and study until he knows how to answer that latest attack used against his bible.
Just as my laundromat heretic had said, I quickly saw that the are two main words in the Greek text that the King James Bible translators translated as "devil". In that these same men had read every extant Greek writing left by the ancient Greeks, and in that they had encountered those two words used in hundreds of years and countless Ancient Greek authors, as opposed to the school girls who call themselves translators today who have mostly only read bible manuscripts in Greek and then read lexicons written by heretics, I trusted their clear translation which showed that there are many devils.
When I looked up the Greek word that all bibles translate as "devil" to see if it is ever plural, I saw that just as the heretic had stated, it is never plural. But, I also saw that Jesus said, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?, John 6:70. In Oliver Greene's commentaries he changed that to read "the devil". Why would he do that? Because he had heard that there was only one devil and he trusted the Greekifiers more than his King James Bible.
The new version advocates have little choice when viewing John 6:70. They explain the verse away. They see Jesus as using it descriptively, not doctrinally. "Oh, you devil", the woman screamed at her husband. She is not saying that her husband is the devil from the garden of Eden. She is likening him to that devil.
Until recently, I used John 6:70 as a proof text when dealing with a new-version advocate who argues for there being only one devil. In my preaching, reading, and private study, I have merely trusted my God-given bible. Recently, the Lord made me dissect Jude 1:9. There it was, a clear case in which there is more than one devil. Jude described the devil who contended with the angel. It was, the devil he disputed about the body of Moses. It needed to be identified from among other devils.
I believe that I have a perfect bible in my King James Bible. I trust every word, italization, verse marking, subscript, and punctuation as given by God. Where two king James Bibles may differ slightly in a spelling, an occasional word, inclusion of subscripts, or in punctuation, I will always believe the Pure Cambridge Text of the Bible as printed between c1920 and 1985 by The Cambridge University Press and now printed by a few noble printers around the world.