Circling the Bunkers

Circling the bunkers
A Russian Bunker Source: Flikr.com

Sometime ago, I met a learned man. My aunt in the United States introduced me to him and he gave me an appointment to see him at the faculty.

Aside from being a respected professor in his field, he is also a clergyman in the Anglican Church.

My meeting with him was purely regarding my career, but as we began talking, he started to admonish me on my personal life. He began to tell me stuff about my thoughts and relationship with God which no one – not my relatives or anyone else – could have known except by supernatural means.

I looked on in surprise with my mouth almost ajar as he probed into my life and appealed to the biblical story of David and Goliath and how with God on my side, I will become victorious in life. I knew right there that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through him.

By the way, that’s not the first time that God would send someone to strengthen me in my time of despair. The first time I experienced that was in 2014 during my Masters at the University of Ibadan.

A Christian professor from another faculty suddenly walked up to where I was seated before the lecture started and told me a certain thing which no one else knew. At that time I was depressed and was about throwing in the towel, but what he said gave me hope and confidence in God.

In the case of this Anglican canon, although I treasured his counsel, I didn’t expect that a man in “that” denomination would be a mouth piece for God. You see, my family were baptized in the Anglican Church, but the controversy that occurred when my parents exited the denomination left a degree of cynicism in my mind.

I had little trust in anyone in a position of leadership in that church because I perceived them to be  opposed to the move of the Holy Spirit.

Later as I reflected on this experience, God spoke to my heart, “You can’t pocket My Holy Spirit!

How true!

All along, I had been putting the Holy Spirit of God in a test tube of sorts. I had concluded that He could only speak to me through certain pastors or ministers that I revered or those from the denomination I approved of. That was a “we alone” mentality, and thank God for demolishing it.

This mentality is what I call “circling the bunkers.” A bunker is a defensive military shelter designed to protect people and valued materials from falling bombs or other attacks.

A bunker is mostly built underground – and metaphorically speaking – it is a fortress of ideas or practices that is specially protected or defended by individuals with an agenda.

Circling the bunkers is a preconditioned thinking in which a believer invests so much in church traditions, denominational positions, theological systems or outward labels as criteria of spiritual legitimacy and is more ready to defend these than the gospel of Jesus Christ itself.

Many believers today have sadly missed out on God’s intervention in their lives because they assumed that He can only speak or supernaturally work through their preferred or “our own” vessels.

But God can and does ministers through vessels who don’t meet up with our self-made conditions.

I want you to understand that God is not limited by denominations, institutions or human vessels. In fact, God can use a weak, despised, uneducated and a very young person to confound the strong, influential, wise and mighty of this earth.

Yet, many people have a problem accepting others on the basis of minor doctrinal differences or finicky rules:

An Arminian is teaching theology? I’m not interested.

He’s a pre-triber? Nope. Bye.

A Christian woman wearing make up and jewelries? She’s a Jezebel!

An evangelist dancing disco, wearing jean trousers, a hand chain and a even a tattoo? Have mercy Lord, he’s a false convert.

You are from that denomination where you speak unknown languages and raise your thighs when praising God? Out.

That pastor doesn’t use the King James bible? Heretic alert.

I remember when I started a Facebook Christian group six years ago, one guy demanded I put a Bible verse on all my articles because as far as he’s concerned, if a Christian doesn’t have a Bible verse for everything he writes, he’s going by “human wisdom.” He’s defending his fundamentalist bunker.

Couple of years ago, a friend tagged a pastor of a popular Nigerian Pentecostal church to my Facebook post, Unmasking the Queen of Heaven, and the man said something like:

“I was following along when he was quoting the Bible to expose this spirit, but you see when he began quoting these historical and religious non-biblical sources, he lost me. I don’t give attention to such write ups.”

Nothing new here. In the cute little world some people live in, the Bible is the only authority that must be appealed to: history must be scorned, logic should be rejected, science despitefully spat on, arts (especially African arts) demonized, theology should be relegated and unless it’s Jewish culture, it should be trampled upon.

This is what I call a “fundamentalist heritage.” It’s a constructed mental box that is obsessed with dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” at the risk of being labelled an apostate. They can take just one sentence you made and turn it back at you with a polemic of 2000 words and quotes from an entire chapter of the Bible.

We must not fall into the delusion that unless a person speaks or writes like our own pastors or reverend or elders, he must be messed up or absolutely false. This is how people miss out on God’s treasures.

I have known people who found the truth of Scripture even while they were still trapped within a religious system of deception and by God’s leading, they eventually found their way out, especially when they realized they couldn’t change the system.

God used a mute donkey to convey His message to a recalcitrant prophet. And there are times He will use poor, broken vessels to reprove, instruct, reveal His will or work in the lives of His people. That’s the sovereignty of God.

In the Bible we have an example of a prophet who discredited God’s revelation because he felt only his “clique” could legitimately speak for Him.

When God permitted a deceiving spirit to lead Ahab to his death, out of 400 prophets, Micaiah had a different message – a genuine insight into the heavenly conference. When he prophesied Ahab’s death at Ramoth Gilead, a respected prophet reacted:

“Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked” (1 Kgs. 22:24)

Such arrogance! Notice, he was not dedicated to God’s truth but a “party line.” Just talk like we do and you belong. This prophet felt he had a patent on the Spirit of God. He thought he had a corner on His revelation.

This is why it is dangerous to follow anyone who tells you he is the only mouth piece of God, or that his ministry is the only one that carries God’s approval.

Elijah nearly fell into this trap when he said, “I am the only one left” – the only one jealous for God. But God made Him realize that He has marked out for protection seven thousand in Israel who have neither kissed Baal nor bowed to him.

I do not have a corner on God’s truth. I am not the only contender. My blog is not the only place where truths are being shared. There are many others who have been labouring before me and will continue when I am no more here. That leaves no room for arrogance.

In Matthew 23, Jesus assessed the situation and rightly called the religious leaders of His day, “blind guides” (vs. 16, 24), “fools and blind” (vs. 17, 19), and “blind Pharisee” (v. 26). They were blind because their hearts were hardened and they idolized their outward piety above their inner spiritual state.

In Romans 11:25, Paul explained Israel’s mistake: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”

Their hearts were hardened because they were blind to what God is doing. The same can happen to a Christian too – stuck up in a traditional or denominational rot and blind to the move of the Holy Spirit.

The key is to accept others just as Christ has accepted us. He “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which he made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4, 6).

It was by His grace – not our works – that we were accepted, so we should extend that same grace to others. We need the ministry of the brothers and sisters outside our bunkers.

Finally, our focus should be on Jesus Christ as the sole standard (Heb. 12:2). It’s self-righteousness when we judge people by their outward labels rather than their devotion to Jesus Christ and His Word. It’s self-righteousness when we compare ourselves to others and judge them on that basis. God has only one standard for righteousness: Jesus Christ.

Freedom from Addiction to Porn and Masturbation

Masturbation-porn
Addiction to enslaving habits

In recent times, as I have read through blogs, social media threads or magazines and followed through Christian TV shows, a subject that keeps coming up during feedback from readers or the audience hinges on addiction to pornography and masturbation.

In almost every instance – particularly on Christian forums – the struggler admits he has prayed, fasted and in some cases, even received deliverance ministrations to be free from these twin enslaving habits, yet the problem persisted.

These are deep areas, and I believe we will keep encountering such problems as the Internet and/or social media increasingly becomes an addictive past time.

We are in an era where obsession and preoccupation with sex has become the norm and abstinence has become quaint and impractical.

Visual pornography entered mainstream western culture with magazines, which confined users to static erotica.

The few x-rated movies of the 80s were found mainly in adult bookstores and other public or semi-public venues where most people didn’t want to spend much time at.

But then, video rentals and late-night cable channels emerged, which gave “life” to static porn and offered to people a level of access and privacy which cinema houses didn’t have.

Though there were private, cheaper and dialed up porn in the early 2000s, the sexual floodgates opened with the rise of high-speed Internet in 2006, giving rise to a whole new creature: a plethora of short porn clips, hardcore streaming videos and “tube sites” which have wrought incalculable damage to many lives and families.

In 2016 when, Pamela Anderson, the former Playmate and Baywatch star described pornography as a “public hazard” that affects men’s “ability to function as husband, and, by extension, as father,” her informed opinion was greeted with a howl of rage by the secular world who felt she was ripping their sacred cow into shreds.

The sad truth is that, we have reached a stage in which so many men and women are shackled to several sexual sins and when they enter into marriages with such unresolved issues, sexual problems and other unwholesome consequences begin to show up.

Take for instance, a man who has spent years objectifying women through the virtual images that porn synthesizes in the mind.

When he now meets with a real three dimensional woman (flesh and blood), the effects of that sin start to show themselves as forms of sexual dysfunctions (e.g. dependence on porn to stimulate sexual desire, premature ejaculation, anorgasmia – inability to achieve sexual climax often without self-stimulation), a cultivated taste for perverse sexual acts or a complete loss of attraction for his partner.

Gary Wilson, in his enlightening book, Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction, notes that:

“The earliest people to report porn-relates problems in online forums were totally computer programmers and information-technology specialists. They had acquired high-speed internet porn ahead of the pack – and then developed uncharacteristic sexual tastes, delayed ejaculation or erectile dysfunction (ED) during sex. Eventually, some experienced ED even while using porn. Nearly all were in their late twenties or older.” (Commonwealth Publishing, 2014, p. 17).

Unfortunately, these are problems many Christians refuse to admit – even to themselves – hence, their roots remain buried beneath a dark pool of psychological and spiritual bondage.

An urologist and author, Harry Fisch, writes bluntly that porn is killing sex. In his book, The New Naked, he zeroes in on the decision element: the Internet. It “provided ultra-easy access to something that is fine as an occasional treat but hell for your [sexual] health on a daily basis.”

In May 2014, a prestigious medical journal published research showing that, even in moderate porn users, use (number of years and current hours per week) correlates with reduced grey matter and decreased sexual responsiveness.

The researchers cautioned that the heavy porn users’ brain might have been pre-shrunken rather than shrunken by porn usage, but favoured degree-of-porn-use as the most plausible explanation (Simone Kühn and Jürgen Gallinat, JAMA Psychiatry, 2014 doi:10:1001).

In July 2014, a team of neuroscience experts headed by a psychiatrist at Cambridge University revealed that more than half of the subjects in their study of porn addicts reported “that as a result of excessive use of sexually explicit materials, they had … experienced diminished libido or erectile dysfunction specifically in physical relationships with women (although not in relationship to the sexually explicit material” (Valerie Voon, et al., PLOS One, 2014:DOI:10:1371).

I am deliberately quoting these secular and liberal sources to show you that the damage that porn does to the human soul goes beyond the conservative and liberal debate; it goes beyond puritanical religious and social norms – it is a widespread effect of the consumption of virtual sex in our time.

As I reflect on these baffling scenarios, a Bible verse flashes into my mind:

“[In the last days] For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” (2 Tim. 3:2)

My attention is drawn to the first line, “people will be lovers of self.” Self is the root of all personal sins. Sexual sins are one of the fruit of self.

Selfishness is the leading cause of many broken marriages today because it has become rife. Many enter into it to please themselves first before the other person.

And when a sexually selfish person is joined to another sexually selfish person, what do you think will be the end result?

So many people are only interested in things that will pleasure self. And this is why love has been mis-defined and misconceived.

Because selfish people have no love to offer anyone, they replace love with sex to an extent that once the word “love” is mentioned, what it means to them is “sex.”

The problem will have to be addressed from the heart. Self must be crucified for Christ to dwell in us.

Now, how can a Christian struggling with addiction to pornography and masturbation attain victory?

The solution to the bondage of sin is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

It was there that He took up our sins and the punishment we justly deserved upon Himself and in exchange, imparted onto us His righteousness – God’s righteousness (1 Cor. 5:21).

The outworking of this righteousness is to take away our sins and then give us power over that sin, enabling us to live as spotless children of God. The outworking of this grace of victory over sin is based on faith in Christ’s work.

One reason many fail in the area of victory over enslaving habits is because they do not walk in this faith, hence do not receive the grace to walk in victory.

They do not allow the Holy Spirit to operate on their hearts but want to walk the Christian walk in the flesh.

Romans 6:6 tells us that we have been crucified with Christ so that the domination of the flesh is destroyed and we can now be free from the enslaving power of sin.

The degree to which you walk in faith in God’s power is the degree of grace that will be available to you.

Another reason, which I briefly referenced above, is that many people want to walk with God and run with the devil.

They think they can experience freedom from guilt and oppression on the one hand, while holding to all the rottenness of the world on the other hand.

For instance, you can’t have victory over pornography if you still drool on graphic sex scenes in movies, websites or books.

You can’t attain victory over masturbation if you listen to lyrics of vulgar music like Naira Marley’s “Jo Soapy.” That’s like snorting bits of coca every night and asking for rehabilitation every morning.

Here’s what God expects of us:

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11)

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as…” (Col. 2:20)

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24)

Take note of these verses and mediate on them. Make them your combat kit.

A guy said when he was gaining victory over his addiction to masturbation and he felt the urges coming on, he would begin to confess the scriptures and the thoughts would dissipate. That was how he was able to eventually gain victory over it.

That leads me to another point: many people who are bound with addictive sinful patterns have weak prayer lives and don’t feed on the Word of God.

I have been in touch with several Christians who have lamented about how they’ve tried “everything” to be free from enslaving sins and yet still get defeated, and I give them a litmus test. Once they flunk this test, the answer they are seeking is right there.

I would ask, how much do you pray daily, read your Bible, and how much of Scripture do you commit to memory from time to time?

Most of the time, you will hear crickets chirping from the forest, because they don’t pray to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit; they don’t dig deep into the crystal spring of the Word, but they somehow want to be clean! It doesn’t work that way! Jesus said:

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matt. 26:41)

When you don’t pray or hide the Word of God in your heart, it will be very easy for you to sin because you are as spiritually light as paper, blown about by every wind of spiritual or physical pressure.

What gives you strength from within is how much you are connected to God through fervent prayer, worship and the Word.

However, I know that some people do pray and read the Bible and try to apply much discipline but are still enslaved. That’s because the root of that bondage hasn’t been dealt with.

You would think these people have a “split personality” if you didn’t understand how demonic forces operate within people.

I can relate to this because I know what it is to have an area of your life held hostage by evil spirits. And I have seen it in people – these are Christians who were truly saved, but have some aspects of their lives still shrouded in darkness which demons have a fortress in.

There’s usually a progression:

Phase 1: Sin. The sinful act resulting from the thoughts and decision to sin. If it becomes regular it leads to this:

Phase 2: Besetting sin. The sin habit forms and when the person indulges in it frequently it leads to:

Phase 3: A stronghold. This is a “sin tumour” or fortress in the believer’s life (2 Cor. 10:4-5). If it’s not pulled down by spiritual weapons, it leads to:

Phase 4: A strongman residing in the stronghold (Lk. 11:21). The cultivated sin tumour is now energized by a demon from within and the person loses control over that area until the strongman loses the legal grounds.

Most people who have struggled with porn or masturbation for decades usually follow this downward spiral category, but not in every case.

Some of these people are married but will admit masturbating at least twice daily or more. That’s a sign of bondage.

I also notice that people who have been sexually molested or exposed to sex at young ages tend to have this demonic compulsion to masturbate or end up in porn/exhibitionism.

One of the best kept secrets in the secular world is that most porn stars are actually victims of sexual abuse. They never left that spiritual cage, they only decorated it.

Before such captives are rescued, the strong man first have to be bound and dislodged.

This is simply about renouncing the sin that led to a stronghold, breaking demonic soul ties forged with one’s own flesh (or others as the case may be) and expelling these spiritual strangers from one’s life.

Forget about the scenarios prevalent in Hollywood: folks levitating, heads spinning like owls, pea soup or green slime being spewed or people barking like dogs.

These are borderline scenarios and are not even necessary if your faith in the power of Jesus is strong enough. He has paid a great price for your freedom, make use of it and walk in victory.

Finally, people seeking deliverance from addictions to unclean habits should first be properly educated on how to exercise self discipline, see the necessity of spiritual growth and discipleship and learn how to crucify self. Otherwise, they would most likely obtain temporary relief.

KJV Onlyism: A Travesty of Bible Understanding

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In 2016, a family friend and I went to the church bookshop. He wanted to buy two Bibles for his children. He scanned through the Bible shelf and picked out a King James Bible. “Why? But they are still children,” I protested.

He didn’t seem to get it, he apparently felt the KJV should be the default version for everyone because of its regular usage by the church’s general overseer.

“These children won’t understand the old English of the KJV. It should be bought for adults,” I opined. “Children need a Bible that they can fluently read and understand as much as what they read in school. If the Bible is too complicated for them in their young ages, they will grow up not studying and understanding it.”

He listened on, so I selected the Contemporary English Version and gave it to him. He’s not a native English speaker, but after reading a few lines from it, he smiled in excitement saying, “Its English is so clear; it’s like the sermon of a modern European evangelist!”

We both laughed and he purchased the Bibles.

It later dawned on me that this man had hitherto not been exposed to reading any English translation except the KJV. He had been locked in the KJV from the start and this has blunted his personal study and knowledge of Scripture.

The fact is: the language of the KJV can make the Bible complicated to a modern reader.

This has to be demonstrated, not merely claimed. But before I get to this, I want to first point one of the dubious arguments that led me to into KJV Onlyism 12 years ago. Here it is:

“It is all a question of authority! If we say that God wrote only one Bible, and for us today it is the Authorized Version – 1611, King James Version, then our problem is solved. But if we say this version is nice, and that version is nice, and it is a matter of preference, then the authority becomes human opinion” (William Schnoebelen, Blood on the Doorposts, Chick Publications, 1994, p. 211).

This is a mendacious rhetoric that illustrates the cognitive dissonance of the KJO belief. Its major flaw is how the writer places Bible authority on a certain translation whereas the Bible’s authority rests on its inspiration – not its translation.

The Bible’s original languages were Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. These are the inspired and authoritative languages. English is merely one of the translations of the originals. God didn’t write the KJV, and history reveals that the roots of fundamentalism rest in the authority of the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible, not in any English translation.

Second, the idea of God writing “only one Bible” occurs only in the bubble universe of the KJOs. They peddle their beliefs by collapsing Bible inspiration into transmission and translation. God inspired the original autographs but many copies and translations were made from them.

All through history, there have been different translations of the Bible. People who believe that only the KJV should be used, fail to recognize that men like Peter, Paul, and Jesus Himself didn’t always use the same version!

Just a few of many examples from the KJV confirm this point:

When Isaiah 53:7 is quoted in Acts, it says: “…as a sheep before her shearers is dumb” (Acts 8:32). But when we turn to Isaiah 53:7 it says, “…like a lamb dumb before his shearer.” One says her, the other says his.

When the writer of Hebrews refers to Genesis 47:31, he says that as Jacob died, he “worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Heb. 11:21). But when we turn to Genesis 47:31, it says he “bowed himself upon the bed’s head.”

When Paul quoted Isaiah 28:16, he wrote: “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom.10:11). But when we turn to Isaiah 28:16, it says: “He that believeth shall not make haste.”

What is clear here is that New Testament writers did not always use the same version. This is beyond dispute. In these examples, they quoted from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) whereas the Masoretic text was used for the King James translation of the Old Testament.

I have no problem with people using or loving the KJV, but I have a problem with persons insisting that we must use only the KJV if we are to be in a right standing with God, and then employ all kinds of manipulation, bullying and ad hominem to validate that sectarian position.

When a teacher disseminates wild conspiracy theories and obvious falsehoods all in a bid to bind Christians under a tradition – such as sole usage of a certain bible version – it’s cultic indoctrination and it should be thoroughly rejected.

A KJV Onlyite wrote rather facetiously:

“Readability statistics generated from Grammatik and Word for Windows show why the KJV is 5th grade reading level, while the NKJV and NASB are 6th grade, and the NIV is 8th grade reading level! … According to readability statistics generated by Pro-Scribe, the KJV is easier to read than USA Today, People Magazine and most children’s books.” (Gail RiplingerThe Language of the King James Bible, AV Publications 1998 p. 159 emphasis hers).

Below are examples in the KJV refuting her assertions:

In the KJV, it is stated that Ruth went out to glean in the fields, “ears of corn” (Ruth 2:2). A 21st century reader would have maize corn in mind, but the Hebrew word there is se’orah which means “grain” or “ears of grain.” In ancient Israel, it was popular to grow wheat and barley, but not maize corn (Zea mays).

Also, in Mark 2:23 we read that Jesus “went through the corn fields on the sabbath day.” The image conjured up is of Jesus walking through maize fields, but maize was wholly unknown in the Old World, including Palestine until A.D. 1492.

The Greek word there refers to “fields of grain/wheat.” In old English, the word “corn” was generally used to refer to grains, wheat or barley as well as maize. But English language has changed since then.

In the KJV, we read about a person coming into a church wearing “gay clothing” (James 2:3). The Greek word translated “gay” is lampros which (like “lamp”) simply meant bright. In old English, “gay” in this context meant bright or attractive clothing, but today it means a homosexual. A modern reader can end up with a confused interpretation of that text.

In Acts 28:13, Paul and others were on a ship, when the KJV says “they fetched a compass.” Reading this, you would think they used an instrument with a little needle pointing to the cardinal points. But what we call a “compass” had not even been invented at that time! This expression simply meant to circle  around (see Josh. 6:4; 2 Sam. 5:23).

In the KJV we read: “…thou knowest all the travel that has befallen us” (Num. 20:14; cf. Lam. 3:5). The “travel” in the text was an old English word which meant travail or hardship. We use the word differently today.

In the KJV, we read: “Be strong, and quit yourselves like men” (1 Sam. 4:9). An almost identical wording is found in Paul’s admonition of the Corinthian Church: “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1Cor. 16:13). The word “quit,” as used here, is obsolete. In modern English we would say: “Conduct yourselves like men” or “be brave like men.”

The Song of Solomon 2:11, 12 in the KJV reads: “The winter is past, the rain is over and done; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

Reading this text, one would immediately think of a turtle, a slow-moving reptile with a hard shell. But how does it have a voice, you’d wonder. In the age of the KJV translation, the word turtle meant a turtledove which is known to make a soft purring sound.

In the KJV, we read: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit…” (Col. 2:8). The word “spoil” here evokes images of decay and putrefaction, but the underlying Greek word means “to plunder” or “take as plunder.” To a 17th century English reader, “spoil” or “despoil” conveys that meaning, but not in the 21st century.

In the KJV we read that a delegation of Jewish leaders was sent to prophetess Hulda, who lived “in Jerusalem in the college” (2 Kgs. 22:14). In Elizabethan English, the word college had a different meaning than today.

The Hebrew word so translated means second. That’s why newer versions, including the NKJV, translated it “second quarter” or “second district” of Jerusalem. A modern reader who reads the KJV text would think Hulda was living in a college dorm!

1 Cor. 16:15 “they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” The word “addicted” is now used with negative connotation, like someone addicted to nicotine or drugs. Modern translations have correctly rendered the text as, “devoted themselves” to the ministry of the saints.

In 1 Thess. 4:15 Paul says “by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” In 1611, the word “prevent” doesn’t mean what we today mean by that word, namely, “to stop or hinder.”

That word as used back then meant “to precede” and the reader in 1611 wouldn’t have stumbled over its meaning, but a contemporary reader would stumble. A modern rendering would be, “we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (NIV).

Similarly, Psalm 119:147 says “I prevented the dawning of the morning.” In today’s English, the word “prevent” means “precede.” The Psalmist was simply saying he rose before dawn!

Paul wrote, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: He who now letteth will let…” (2 Thess. 2:7). When the KJV was translated, “let” meant to hinder as Paul told the Romans, he had intended to come to them “but was let hitherto” (Rom. 1:13). He was hindered in coming to them. But today, the word “let” is used in an opposite sense. It implies allowing a person to do a thing, not hindering him from it!

In the KJV, we read that when Paul came to Jerusalem “he assayed to join himself to the apostles” (Acts 9:26). The word “assay” in modern English means substances being tested in the lab, but here it means Paul attempted to join the apostles.

Rom. 1:28 “…God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

Some ungodly things people do are actually convenient. In 14th century English, “convenient” was used to refer to what is proper and appropriate. So the text is referring to things that are indecent.

How does a contemporary reader without the Greek text, a foreign version or a modern translation understand 2 Cor. 6:11-13?

“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense (I speak as unto my children), be ye also enlarged.”

Now compare this with the NIV:

“We have spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts. We are not withholding our affections from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange–I speak as to my children–open wide your hearts also.”

In the light of these examples, no one with a modicum of fairness and honesty would argue that the language of the KJV is clearer than USA Today, People Magazine and most children’s books.

Obsolete Words

Isa. 8:21, “And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry.” Today we would say hard-pressed or greatly distressed.

Isa. 14:23 “…I will sweep it with the besom of destruction.” We now call it broom.

1 Cor. 12:13 “but by the Holy Ghost.” Due to different translation companies, there were inconsistencies in the KJV renderings of the Hebrew word “ruach” and Greek word “pneuma” in reference to the Holy Spirit. Some resorted to the old English use of “ghost” for all spirits. (Same for “Sodoma” in Rom. 9:29 instead of “Sodom”).

John 2:6 “…after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.” Today we would say three gallons.

Isa. 3:22 “The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins.” In today’s expressions, the items listed are fine robes, capes, cloaks and purses!

Gen. 8:1 after the flood “the waters assuaged.” In modern expression, we would say, “the waters subsided.”

Isa. 19:8 “all they that cast angle into the brooks.” Now we call them “hooks” instead of angles.

Job 41:18 “By his neesings a light doth shine.” This is an obsolete word that puzzles a contemporary reader. The right word is sneezing.

Jer. 4:22 “For my people is foolish … they are sottish children.” Now we say stupid or senseless children.

There’s no child in the 5th grade or primary school that would have a grasp of the KJV than the NIV.

Grammatical inaccuracies

English, like most other languages, has evolved over a period of 400 years, therefore, many words in the KJV that were grammatically correct in 1611, are now awkward and flat out wrong today:

Phil. 1:23 “betwist” [between]
1 Thess. 1:8 “God-ward” [toward God]
Matt. 25:44 “athirst” [thirsty]
John 21:3 “I go a fishing” [I am going fishing]
Matt. 25:35 “for I was an hungred” [for I was hungry]
Gen.26:31 “betimes” [early]
Ruth 4:4 “to advertise thee” [to advise you]
James 1:25 “whoso” [whosoever]
1Cor. 7:28 “but and if thou marry” [but if you marry]
Matt. 13:21 “dureth” [endure].

Embarrassing/Vulgar words

The socio-cultural expression of 17th century England is not the same as today. There are some words that were acceptable back then that would be outright rude, embarrassing and even vulgar by modern standards. Here are some examples:

1 Kings 21:21 “him that pisseth against the wall.” Instead of using such an embarrassing description, newer translations use an euphemistic term: “male.”

Song of Solomon 5:4 “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.”

An American lady once quoted this in a forum some years ago and wrote, “See, there’s fisting (a sexually perverse act) in the Bible.” If she had read this verse in any newer version, she would have been cleared of her ignorance that bowels was used of the heart in old English.

Gen. 12:16 “and he asses … and she asses.” If you read this out to a teenage or youth group, it will be met with snickers due to the urban usage of “asses.” Newer translations render it as male and female donkeys.

Hebrew 12:8 “then are ye bastards…” This is a strong word. So for proper decorum, “illegitimate” is used in modern translations.

2 Peter 2:16 “the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice.” This is also a strong word which for the avoidance of unnecessary distraction is now rendered as “mute donkey.”

Scholars in linguistics and philosophy of language would agree that language has the dual roles of communication and representation. It is a receptacle of human thoughts and the medium through which we give expression to our subjectivities.

Thus, the central purpose for having a Bible translation is to convey the meaning of words (in the Hebrew and Greek originals) to people in such a way that they can understand it as clear as tomorrow’s newspaper.

The KJV may have served this purpose over 400 years ago, but by modern English and translational standards, it can at best, puzzle and at worst, mislead many a reader.

The rigid insistence that Christians must stick to a less clear, obsolete and rather complex translation – which is difficult for common people to grasp – is similar to the dogma of Rome that made the Latin Vulgate the only “authorized text” in Europe, leading to the dark ages of ignorance and deception.

The Word of God is meant to be lucid even to a child, otherwise it would be a travesty of the Gospel that is being preached from it which should give light to everyone.