That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Monday, May 30, 2011

Word, Name, or Both?

I read an interesting article the other day in which the author used Psalm 138:2 to show how much importance God gives to His word.  If you're not familiar with Psalm 138:2, I will quote it for you.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

What a great verse.  I've always found it interesting that this verse proclaims that God magnifies His Word above His name.   How cool is that!  What God says is important.  I love my Bible.  I love reading it.  I love what it teaches me.  I love that it's God's Word, and it shows me who God is.  It's a living book.  It's a convicting book (I don't always like that part :P).  It has every answer.  It's amazing!!  God is AMAZING!!! We really can't fully know or understand who God is without His Word.  It's His way of revealing Himself to us. 

But, there was something strange about the article I read.  It quoted Psalm 138:2 from the ESV.  

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Let's just say, I was a little surprised when I read this verse written that way!  

For starters, we have "truth" replaced with "faithfulness."  Not the same thing. Either the Psalmist meant truth or he meant faithfulness.  He couldn't have meant both.  They aren't even synonyms.  I looked it up in my thesaurus.  Then we have "praise" replaced with "thanks." Not the same thing either.  Then we have "kindness" removed from love and replaced with "steadfast."  I'd say the verse is pretty well butchered already, but I haven't even got to the worst part yet!  Now don't get me wrong.  Faithfulness, thanks, and steadfastness are all good things.  God is faithful, and I love to give Him thanks!  He's also steadfast, but this verse isn't dealing with those aspects of God.  It's dealing with truth, praise, and lovingkindness.

It's the last part of the verse that really got me.  In the KJV God's name is not placed on the same level as His Word like the ESV says.  According to the KJV, God's word is magnified above His name.  According to the ESV the name and word are both exalted (I looked this up in my thesaurus too: magnify and exalt are not synonyms either).  So, which is it?  Are God's Word and God's name equal?  Or, is His Word magnified above His name? It can't be both, because you can't be above something and be equal with it.  Impossible. That means one of these verses is right and the other is wrong.   Maybe you think this is insignificant.  Maybe you think it doesn't really matter.  I mean it doesn't change the meaning of the text that much.  It's basically the same.... almost.... sort of....

Many have chosen to replace their King James Bibles with newer versions, and never realized that changes like this were made.  If the ESV is the right choice and the KJV is the wrong choice then up until 2001, our Bible had errors in it.  That means we did not have an infallible, inerrant Bible until 2001 when the ESV was published.   But wait, didn't you know?  EVERY Bible has errors.  There's NO perfect translation.  It's IMPOSSIBLE.  Some are just a little better (or worse) than others.  A few word changes here and there doesn't really matter.  It's still a "good" translation.  The meaning of the text is unaffected even if a few words are changed.

Honestly, I'm sick of this kind of logic.  I don't want a Bible with errors any more than I want a God who makes mistakes!  Whew... think about that for a second.  What would my faith be if my God made mistakes.  Pointless!!!  Kind of like a Bible with errors.  I love my Bible, and I love God!  I believe that God has given me His Word, perfect, preserved, inerrant, and infallible.  If I can't trust my Bible, then can I trust God?  After all, those are supposed to be His words in the Bible.  Can I really believe that He's saved me?  Can I believe that He's forgiven my sins?  If His Word has mistakes and "translating" errors, what else is wrong with it???  And how do I know?  What do I do?  Who can I trust?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

I John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Jess! I recently went to a session on a study that was done by a pastor in my area. He did a lot of research and his findings were jaw dropping! Parts of verses and important words were removed, and in some places things were added based on translator interpretation! Not to mention which version the translators used and which manuscripts they decided were more reliable...or what denominations the translators are and affiliations they have. Once the pastor puts it in manuscript form, I'll try to get it to you somehow. I'm sure you'd be interested to read it!

  2. Hey Krystle,

    Isn't it crazy how much stuff has been changed!!! The thing that gets me is most Christians have NO idea, but often when you tell them they just don't seem to care. They shrug off the changes with some lame excuse, because they like the translation or its the one they've always used. I can't understand that one! I'd love to read that study. You can always email it to me

  3. Great post. This is something that drives me crazy- I was talking to a guy the other day (a pastor!) who I honestly think will use any version that says what he wants it to say.

    My pastor is currently doing a series on Sunday nights about why we believe the KJV. He is going through and preaching about what the Bible says about the Bible. It's been very interesting.

  4. Ugh... I've met people like that pastor too. It makes me cringe. The Bible does say some interesting things about itself. I like reading through the Old Testament and seeing all the "and thus saith the Lord" or "and the Lord said." I think it's neat that we have God's actual words!