A Voice in the
A recent letter unsubscribing to VW's mailing list contained some rather "interesting" comments; including "concerns" that I seem to be so interested in knowing what Bible words "really mean"...after making past claims to be interested in the "Bible Only." ...that recent dissections and word studies are sounding too much like seminary snobbery. ...that he's been enjoying, until recently, my "thoughts" on Scripture. (Even though I'm not "KJ-only" like he purports to be...and has periodically bantered with "good-natured harrassment" about the matter, telling me that I sound more like a "KJ" person, anyway.)
First of all, let me make it clear; "What I THINK" don't mean nothin'!! God did not "send me" to give my opinions. He sent me to give, "Thus says the Lord." He said, "You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse..."(Ez2:7)
And to briefly clear up any further "personal" stuff; I am not a seminary grad. While I did attend Bible School, I will not name it here...as it is not what it used to be, I am not what I was, and it and I are even "farther apart" than when I was there. Furthermore, I am not a linguist. The study tools I use, any of you can use, the same as I do...which I would highly recommend. The Online Bible software is free, and is based on the KJV-Textus Receptus manuscripts. You could always spend lots of money for "Logos"...but I wonder if its word-study tools are any better than Online's? (I've not seen it, so cannot recommend one way or the other. 'Never been able to justify its price, however.)
OK...with all that out of the way; let's consider "why" we do word studies when seriously important doctrines are concerned.
Any Bible translation you have, whether KJV, NKJV or (gasp!!) NASB, NIV, etc.etc., is exactly that. A "translation." It is not the "original" writing/s as the Holy Spirit guided the pens of the human writers. Anyone who is multilingual understands that "direct translation" of some things is often impossible. Often there are no words to convey the exact same meaning from one language to another...especially when "subtle nuances" are involved. Then, add to that, the changes that take place in each language over the centuries. Sometimes within a couple hundred years, a word will come to mean the exact opposite of what it used to. For instance, a couple hundred years ago "let" meant "hinder." Today it means "allow." Exact opposite.
So, when VW expresses on the "Welcome" menu, "the Bible our Sole Authority," what does this mean? While I happen to use NKJV [Link: VW & Translations], I am also open to KJV and use it regularly for study. (Shunning the other English per-Versions.) But the "Bible" in this context does not mean some English, Spanish, German, Japanese "translation" of the Scriptures. The original words were penned in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek as God breathed them. And for those who are scholars in the matter, there are apparently "scholarly reasons" why these languages were "most appropriate" at the time It was written, due to their richness and exactness in expression of meanings.
"Bible" means, "God's Word/s." As He spoke them. Or, in the absence of the original manuscripts; the closest thing to them we can get. While I understand English, and am not versed in Hebrew/Greek, the scholars who do know these languages have created reference tools that us lesser mortals can use for study. So, when a particular doctrine is under scrutiny, and there is a verse which "seems to" contradict the prevalent teaching of Scripture, it is quite helpful to use the "tools" to find out what text originated the words that appear in the particular translation we are reading.
This is why we sometimes do word studies. God said, "Speak My words to them."(Ez2:7) He commanded, "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deu12:32) Jesus spoke of His Word in detail down to the "jot and tittle."(Mt5:18) Furthermore He says, "Woe to the rebellious children...Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; (Isa30:1)
In researching and digging for the "real meanings" of words, this is what we are trying to do. Find out,"what did God say?" I don't care too much what this person "thinks" the Bible says. Or, what it "means to" that person. Or what some "great man of God" taught. Because, in doing so, a person is looking to man; not God!
I want to know "what it ACTUALLY says." What [GOD] ..actually.. said!
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth...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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Tim2:15,3:16-17)