“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matthew 13:10-15 KJV
I just listened to a sermon where the pastor was quoting from the Message Bible. This verse is what really captured my attention:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 Message Bible
Throughout history, man has attempted to do what only the Holy Spirit can do. The Message Bible can hardly be called an “interpretation” of the Bible, at best a devotional. The Word of God is written as instruction to the Believer. It is there that we learn to go out and preach the Gospel of Jesus to the nations. A new Believer is not expected to know much about Christianity, they are just supposed to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they are brought to a place understanding their true condition. This conviction causes one to realize they are the reason for the problem. Now that I have your attention, please allow me to explain that last statement – that is if you haven’t ran for your sackcloth and ashes yet. “We” are the reason for our problems but NOT necessarily for a “sin” we committed. Someone isn’t afflicted only because of their sin but because of man’s fall, Adam’s sin. We are brought into this world cursed because of Adam’s sin but we are also given a choice to be saved from such eternal destruction and we are given that choice because of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. It is this condition that is realized upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We are the cause of the problem because we have not accepted Jesus as our Saviour and have attempted to save ourselves. We are, like it or not, born sinners in need of a Saviour. It goes against our flesh to “need” anything. It takes true humility that can only be understood through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I can’t explain it to you, this is a choice each one has to make.
Everyone has their opinion as to which interpretation they prefer of the Bible. I know people who are adamant about the King James Version. I was excited when I received a New King James Version of the Bible but have witnessed, on more than one occasion, a difference in the scriptures. By a difference, I mean a different meaning all together. The Word of God was written by man and anointed by the Holy Spirit. The King James Version is the only version that is interpreted word for word, all others are thought for thought. For this reason, I am now one of those who are adamant about the King James Version Bible…but that’s me.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 KJV
God sent His Son into the world to save us. There is a big difference in “point an accusing finger”, as in the Message Bible and “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world”, as in the KJV. Just as the Law was given to reveal sin to the World in the Old Testament, Jesus’ Cross reveals to us our condemnation but does not bring condemnation, but salvation. If you ever want to know how bad sin is, look to the Cross of Jesus.
The Word of God is the criteria by which we base our Christian walk and we are all responsible for our own faith. It is not what I say or even what the preacher says, if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it is wrong. This Message Bible, seems to be yet another attempt of man to bring the world into the church and make God’s Word fit their gospel. I for one don’t want to hear, nor can condone any pastor using the Message Bible as the Word of God…but that’s just me. – Donna Warren.