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2014 © Creative Focus Publishing Links | Terms and Conditions The Bible: Conformed or Transformed?

Chapter 1

Dispelling Myths

I could not even begin to write a book about the Bible, and how it transforms lives, if I hadn’t experienced it first-hand myself. However like many people, at one time, I had no idea just how powerful the Word of God is when it comes to changing people for the better, from the inside-out. In fact, it goes beyond changing people, it actually discards our old life, and creates a brand new one. I would say that’s awesome and powerful. But I have to say at the beginning, that although I’ve read the Bible since a child, and even memorized many Scriptures, my life was not transformed and made new until I discovered the God of the Bible. My real journey to becoming new and transformed began with a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and this grew into a lifelong relationship with Him. He alone was able to make the Word come alive in my heart and cause it to bear fruit in my life. If you haven’t invited Jesus into your life and would like to do so, please turn to the end of the book.

Now, when it comes to dispelling the many myths about the Bible, it is imperative to understand the source of where these myths originate. For one thing, a very common myth is that the Bible is only for Jews and Christians. But the truth is, the Bible is given to every single person born on this earth for all time, regardless of religion, culture or race. It is not for an “exclusive” club. But Satan has so blinded the minds of unbelievers to try and keep the Word of God hidden because he knows how powerful and life-changing it really is. If he can keep people believing a lie about the Bible, he can keep them from ever knowing God as He is, and the only way to know God is to know the Bible. Another goal of Satan is to continue to make believers so busy that they will scarcely take the time to pick up a Bible and read it.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Notice in verse 4, that Satan is referred to as the “god of this world.” Myths about the Bible are a worldly thing, and originate from Satan. If you doubt the validity of the Bible, and the many truths within its pages, then those thoughts are not your own, they were planted there by the deceiver. He has been doing this from the very beginning. He did it with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He caused them to doubt God’s Word.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Genesis 3:1-7

In verse 1, Satan causes the woman to question God, and in verse 3, he outright tries to make her believe that God is a liar. He does exactly the same thing today by twisting God’s Word ever so slightly and get us off track. One of the ways I believe he does this is through the many watered-down versions of the Bible. You wouldn’t even detect this unless you started comparing the King James Version (arguably the closest translation to the original Greek and Hebrew texts), to the other versions, which have removed thousands, close to 65,000 in the NIV, of key words and entire verses. I am thankful that a good friend, who had done a great deal of research on the different versions of the Bible, pointed this out to me. Otherwise I would have continued blindly on the path of reading other versions that I now believe cannot be trusted.

We may not even think of this, but many dangerous cults began when they took only a few verses of the Bible out of context, left the church and started their own religion. Other religions began when they wrote their own version of the Bible and discarded the tried, tested and true Greek and Hebrew versions of the texts we rely on today. And like I said earlier, some of the modern translations have mis-translated the original Greek and Hebrew texts, discarded pertinent verses and portions of Scripture, and/or added words that have nothing to do with the original meaning of the text.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

What does it mean to rightly divide the word of truth? It means that we must learn to study the Bible in context. We must check several passages of Scripture to make sure that the one verse agrees with other verses in the Bible. Why do you think there are four different writers for the Gospels in the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Each of these books record the ministry of Jesus, each written by a different man, and yet, if you check each book, they will agree and harmonize with one another. And if you check several books in the Old Testament beginning in Genesis, and most notably in Isaiah, they prophesy the coming of the Lord Jesus hundreds of years before His divine birth, death and resurrection. So the Old Testament agrees with the New Testament to form one complete Bible.

Another myth I’ve heard is that the Bible is no longer relevant for today. People, unfamiliar with the Bible, particularly pick on the King James Version and use of “thee’s” and “thou’s.” Because they do not find the Bible an easy read, they simply discard it thinking that because they don’t understand it, then it has no use for them. Perhaps this explains why other versions are so watered down, in order to reach people that claim ignorance when it comes to reading and understanding the Word of God! Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Would God, who loves us and want us to know Him, hand us a Bible about Himself that we couldn’t understand? The only reason that we can’t understand the things of God as outlined in His Word is that we have been blinded by the evil one. Once we know the Lord, He opens up the Scripture to us, and we understand whatever the Holy Spirit teaches us.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

This is one of the greatest miracles of the work of the Holy Spirit and how He not only teaches us (believers) all things, but brings to remembrance what things He has taught. We may forget many things, but the Word of God is impossible to forget. How many books can do that?

Another very damaging myth is that some people believe the written Word is not inspired by God. Yet these verses say emphatically that it is:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Whatever is in the Bible can be trusted because God said it. And it is intended to be used in a way that is profitable and beneficial. When we read it, we will benefit in growing in the truth, we will be reproved and saved by it, we will be corrected from our evil and sinful ways, and we will be instructed on which way to take. The fruits of it will result in good news, so we will spread around the goodness and power of God’s Word. We need big doses of the Word more than ever today as we see morality crumbling at every turn, and violence on the rise.

Beware when someone says that they have an “in” with God, and that God has shown them something special and extra that He has not revealed to anyone else. This is how cults start. This is essentially what the Gnostics thought, that they had a special “in” with God that no one else was privy to.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:20-21

The Word of God is meant to be read and studied both privately, prayerfully and collectively with a trusted group of born-again Bible-believing Christians. Scripture must always agree with other Scripture, otherwise we are not reading it by revelation of God, nor are we understanding it with a spiritually renewed mind. People may disagree on doctrinal issues, but, so often in these cases, the Word of God has not been adequately studied, and people often accept what the minister says, trusting his opinion, rather than checking out the Word of God for themselves. This can be and is a very dangerous thing. I’ve seen entire congregations suffer and even split because of errant doctrine being taught and go unchallenged by fellow believers who knew something was wrong.

Now I would like to mention one last thing about myths when it comes to what we believe about the Bible, and that has to do with broad-mindedness. Many years ago, I worked in various office jobs, and would always seem to meet someone who was either a new-age believer, or someone who considered themselves to be enlightened and embraced many different religions of the world (Unitarians, for example). We would engage in some pretty heated and interesting conversations. Of course, I would always defend the inerrancy of the Bible, and would stress that without a belief in the truths of the Bible, a person was lost and had no hope of getting into heaven. And they would use the cliché, “All roads lead to God,” or “There are many roads to heaven.” Many times, I would be scoffed at, laughed at, and labelled a religious intolerant and narrow-minded. After awhile I got used to the name-calling and it never bothered me because I knew that persecution is to be expected when you stand up for what you know to be true. Jesus said that we would be hated for His sake, and it is still so true today, perhaps more so. Having come from the darkness of cult involvement myself, I knew how easy it was to get drawn in by what sounded like the truth, but in reality, Satan was up to his old tricks, whispering sweet lies that would destroy you in the end. How easy it is to go along with popular opinion so that you can avoid persecution and feel like you belong with a group of people who are “like-minded.” I did that too. However I never forgot one of the most significant couple of verses in the Bible when it comes to holding onto the truths in the Bible:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14

People may scoff at these verses and say that in the end, we will all be saved, but it is pretty difficult, not to mention foolish and unwise, to misinterpret this passage just to suit what we want it to say. Even if we do misinterpret it, would you want to take a chance that you are one of the “many” that has been duped into believing you are not on the road that leads to destruction? Just to insure we understand the gravity of this, let’s take a look at the word “destruction.” In the Greek it is a word that is a derivative of the word apollumi, which means to destroy fully. When you are on the narrow road that Jesus talks about, you will know it without question, because you will no longer be as popular as you once were. People will label you, shun you, ostracize you, and so on. You may even lose all your friends and even your job. However you will go to bed at night with a clear conscience, and know that you stood on the Word of God as it has been given and revealed to you.

Another passage that is difficult to argue with is the following:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

When I have quoted this verse many times over the years to people who rely on either their own good works to get them into heaven, or God’s grace (without them ever having to repent of their sin), no one has ever argued with this verse. They have been annoyed, and quickly changed the subject, but they have never been able to argue with it. I find that most interesting. Are they many roads that lead to heaven, like people have said? Not according to the Bible. One thing I noticed is that when people are broad-minded and read all sorts of books having to do with religion, they get easily confused. Because they don’t really stand for anything, when trials come along, they have no one to turn to that can really pull them out of their predicaments. They don’t have an anchor because they don’t have the Savior, Jesus Christ. When they suffer loss, they suffer deeply, and suffer without hope, because they don’t have the Lord to comfort them. They may try to shut off the valve of pain by drinking or taking drugs, or any other number of self-imposed vices, but the fact remains, you cannot change the truth of God’s Word. We are all lost and in need of a Savior.

The Word of God is His greatest gift to us, meant to lead us to Himself and to life in abundance, to life as it’s meant to be lived. Yes, we can believe whatever we want, but life will never turn out as it was intended. Even worse, our own beliefs about the Bible and about God will either lead us to eternal life and heaven, or it will lead us to complete and utter destruction with no hope of salvation after we die. That is a pretty serious consequence to what we believe about the Bible. Today we are blessed because we are still alive and we can change our mind about what we believe. We can pick up a Bible and start reading in earnest, and develop a hunger for righteousness that God will fulfill. When we do, we will begin to discover the power of the Word of God to transform our ordinary existence and turn it into something extraordinary.