Found In Translation
Posted by Lamar Gibbs on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 6:01am EST
(Image courtesy of dianestortz.com)
Author’s note: This was written last year while I was still in college, I graduated June 2011. Felt the need to share it with you all!
Jeremiah 8:9 "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have?"
Psalms 119:5-6 "Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed when I look into all Your commandments."
I was in my Critical Thinking class and the topic of the lecture was "Moral, Legal, and Aesthetic Reasoning". Once I knew what the topic was about, my thought is, "Here we go, the professor is going to mention stuff about religion, let’s see how this goes and how he goes about it". The professor began very generally and with things that we all can agree on, like the definition of moral reasoning "What should I/he/she/they/you do" or "What is fair?” He also spoke about moral relativism and moral subjectivism, and surprisingly he made mention of the fact that it’s logically inconsistent.
At this point, I still was keeping my ears open for anything off the cuff or if a discussion issue came up and it didn't take long for that opportunity to come up. He introduced the phrase "Divine Command Theory" and said that this is one aspect of moral reasoning which says that the correctness of an action can be traced to God/a higher power. Then he makes mention of the fact that today we don't regard that as important anymore, which is sad but true, but what caught me was when he made mention of the fact that because of different languages and issues of translation how can we be sure we have the truth of God's word? He made general mention of scriptures as in religious text, but also specifically mentions the Bible with the abundance of translation issues. He spoke about the fact that because of politics within this that it would be hard to trust the Bible as God's Word because of the different interpretations/translations.
Now, as I'm hearing all of this I'm like, "Ok this is where the rubber meets the road, he's wrong in saying that we can't know God's word because of translations. If we look up history with translations, we know that majority of translations was because of the fact that word definitions changed, like the KJV's use of the word replenish not meaning refill but actually fill and modern translations having to change replenish to fill" and more.
In the midst of my inner ramblings (haha), I felt the urge to speak up, I knew I had some things to speak in this class, I was all but ready!!.....but I didn't. Not too long after, the lecture took its normal course and went into other ways of moral reasoning such as utilitarianism, virtue ethics, etc. The class went on and I took my notes, throughout that time I asked myself "Why?"
I went throughout my day and it didn't bother me so much that I couldn't do anything else, but it was always...there. I went to a church and the service was great, yet even when I went home I felt it bugging me. I woke up and it still was bugging me, but when I almost got to my school the next day, it hit me.....Did I feel ashamed? I was actually ashamed.
I've been a Christian since I was five years old; Jesus has helped me grow into a man I couldn't become without Him. I've talked to people who range from straight atheists who don't stop when every profane word has been used to religious people who twist the word according to their views. I wondered why I felt I couldn't articulate why I trust in the Bible as the word of God. I know the historical accuracy of it, the experiential reality of its truth and its consistency, all of that.
I wanted to explain these things because I realize that there are so many things that come against the truth of God and sometimes it feels easier to feel ashamed to speak up when people say the opposite of what is true. It’s always a wonder that when you are in the midst of experiencing people saying things about the Bible, it feels like your throat closes up, and the words escape you in that moment, and even though you know that you know that you KNOW....sometimes words escape you, your heart beats faster and it just gets away.
Through this situation and other circumstances and above all, His Word, I felt Jesus speaking to me that I need to remind myself how precious the Bible is as His Word. That; even when I know of the truth of the Bible as God's Word, I need to love it as well. David said in the Psalms that he meditated on His precepts and He loved them (Psalms 119:15-16). As I started to think on these things, I remembered the fact that God's word came through men who didn't seek to manipulate, that the Bible talks about people who would politic about the truth.(1 Thessalonians 2:1-13, 2 Peter 3:16, 2:1)
I remembered that it’s through the fear of the Lord that wisdom even begins (Proverbs 1:7), and that one of the main reasons God spoke to Israel and to us was that we would be a wise and understanding nation whose God is the LORD (Deuteronomy 4:5-7) and that when people say it’s the opposite, it needs to be a practice that we speak up and say, "I don't agree with that". Trust me, I understand that in the midst of a professor or a classmate saying something like this, the atmosphere feels so against you or you may be shy as I am. But the Gospel is the power of God and the Bible is sharper than any double-edged sword, and we all need to be at a place where we see no alternative but to speak.
So, with knowing these things as truth...how do we get there? It's not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit. God helps us in our unbelief, and unbelief and faithlessness is not just saying I don't have faith anymore, but having actions that show this as well. The Bible says that when we are faithless, God is faithful and He can't deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). I was faithless in that moment, but God was STILL faithful towards me. If you find yourself in a place, or a situation that uncovers where you are in your belief about His Word....ask Him to open your heart and that your love for His Word will grow. If by the Spirit David can write that he meditated and loved His words, then its by His Spirit that we will love and abide and proclaim that word to those who need it.
As you ask God to open your heart more and more in trusting the Bible as His true and faithful word, I promise you that things will begin to change, you will notice the purposes/reasons of God speaking through prophets and how it is wise even in the midst of people disregarding it as today. You will grow in discernment and end up sensitive to even the things you find difficult in interpreting about the Bible, etc.
Never forget the grace of the Lord before you and behind you, and if you ever feel discouraged that you don't know enough....never give up, hope in Christ is the promise of progress, you barely know much about anything anyways, Jesus promised that when you build your house on a rock when the winds come they won't blow it away. He loves us and will never leave or forsake us, and as believers we are all in this together. God is teaching me some things and in spite of me, He can speak, I'm learning how to trust Him for the outcomes as well. Pray for me and I can pray for you as well. May Jesus sanctify us with His word for it is truth (John 17:17). God bless you!
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