Job: Some Nerve!

Who did Job think he was, telling God he would “cling to his righteousness and never let it go”?

 

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One of the most rewarding parts of my work week happens on Monday nights from 8:30-10:00, when a group of men gather together for a deep dive into the book of Romans. Some of us are trying to memorize the entire book. Others are memorizing the two or three verses that go along with each session. But all of us are benefiting from the intense, focused study on the book that launched the Reformation and is the foundation for arguably the most well-known gospel presentation, the Romans Road.

The dominant theme of the first three chapters of Romans is that none of us are righteous. Not one of us–no, not one–can stand before God with any shred of righteousness that comes from ourselves.

Which makes the book of Job such an enigma. You know the story. God and the devil make a wager over the life of Job. God gives Satan permission to mess with Job, taking away everything from Job except his life. Job’s friends come to console him, and wind up arguing with him for about 25 chapters. Basically, they all tell him that he is being punished because of some unconfessed sin. But Job’s not buying it. Which leads us to Job 27:3-6:

3 as long as my breath is still in me and the breath from God remains in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not speak unjustly, and my tongue will not utter deceit. 5 I will never affirm that you are right. I will maintain my integrity until I die. 6 I will cling to my righteousness and never let it go. My conscience will not accuse me as long as I live! [Job 27:3-6 HCSB]

Does anyone else look at this and think that Job sounds really full of himself? Humility is a Christian virtue. All of us have to admit we are sinners before we can trust Christ for our salvation, right?

So where does Job get off saying things like, “I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it?” Is this arrogance? Does it fly in the face of Paul’s teaching that “there is none righteous, no, not one?” (Romans 3:10) I don’t think so.

Job’s confidence is not in himself, but in the trustworthiness of God. Job believed in a God whose will and ways could be known. Other gods from other religions were fickle and capricious. You never knew what you might have done to displease the god of the rain when there was drought, so you danced and sacrificed and cut yourself until the blood flowed in an effort to get his attention (remember the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18?) A king wouldn’t know how to gain the favor of the gods so his army would prevail in battle, so he might sacrifice one of his own sons to Molech by throwing him in the flames (Jeremiah 32:35). Or think about the Greek gods we studied in high school. Mortals were constantly subject to the whims and jealousies of the gods. When Zeus and Hades were angry at each other, humans paid the price.

But Yahweh is different. He can be known. He has given us His laws and decrees. We know what pleases Him and what doesn’t. And this is the confidence Job was clinging to. No matter how many times his so-called friends argued, “well, you must have done something wrong to be suffering in this way,” Job stubbornly and steadfastly held on to the idea that he knew what it took to walk with God, and that he had done it. When Job says things like “I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live,” he was not expressing confidence in his own goodness, but in God’s justice.

I am so thankful that our God is predictable. He is not capricious, punishing humans on a whim or a lark (I admit, some would argue that’s the whole storyline of Job. I encourage you to watch this excellent animated walk-through of the book of Job from the fine folks at the Bible Project, and then let’s talk.). Don’t get me wrong. There is still none righteous. But Job teaches me that we can trust in God’s unchanging character. In every situation. In every place. For all time. Praise Him!

Who Is Jesus? Session 6: The Resurrection

Who is Jesus S6.1
These are notes from this week’s “Who Is Jesus?” class. The curriculum is from Focus on the Family’s TrueU apologetics material.

Answers from the Listening Guide (p. 56)

  1. Jesus really died, but it was the twin of Jesus that was appearing to people.
  2. Hallucinations are usually a very individual kind of thing.
  3. Somewhere between the time He was put in the tomb and Sunday morning, Jesus revived.
  4. There is no inconsistency in the story of the burial of Jesus.
  5. Over time, a legend begins to be formed about Jesus, and it just gets embellished, year after year.
  6. I think one of the greatest bits of evidence for the resurrection is the changed lives of His disciples.
  7. A legend requires at least two full generations before it can begin to be formed.
  8. If Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, then the gospel is useless.
  9. How many people will die for a lie when they know its a lie?

Arguments Against the Resurrection

The Twin Theory: Jesus really died, but His twin was the one who people were seeing.

  • Wouldn’t His own mother have been able to tell the two apart?
  • Did the twin have the same scars the crucified Jesus would have had? (See John 20:27)

The Hallucination Theory: Instead of seeing the real Jesus, people hallucinated Him.

  • On at least two occasions, people did not recognize Jesus when He appeared to them (see Luke 24:14 and John 20:14)
  • According to Paul, Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once (1 Cor. 15:6). Hallucinations are not group events.

The Wrong Tomb Theory: Everyone who claimed to have gone to the empty tomb went to the wrong one.

  • If it was the wrong tomb, that means there would have been a right tomb somewhere. Surely someone would have produced the body in order to discredit the story of the resurrection.

The Swoon Theory: Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. He swooned on the cross, then was revived in the cool of the tomb.

  • The Romans performed hundreds, if not thousands of crucifixions every year. If the soldiers said Jesus was dead (John 19:33), we can trust them.
  • How could Jesus, after being tortured, crucified, speared, and buried with 75 pounds of spices, unwrap himself, move a stone out of the way, and overcome a squad of Roman soldiers?

The Inconsistency Argument: Details from the four gospel accounts don’t match up. And because of these inconsistencies, we can disregard the entire story.

  • There are no issues with the record regarding the death or burial.
  • No issues with the record regarding the empty tomb.
  • No issues with the record regarding the post-death appearances
  • The alleged issues focus only on the details surrounding the women and the angels.

The Disciples Stole the Body: In Matthew 27:62, the chief priests go to Pilate and say,

“Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive He said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Therefore give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come, steal Him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ Then the last deception will be worse than the first.”

So Pilate orders the soldiers to make the tomb “as secure as they know how” (vv. 65-66). After the resurrection, Matthew 28:12-15 reads:

12 After the priests[a] had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money 13 and told them, “Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’ 14 If this reaches the governor’s ears,[b] we will deal with[c] him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day.

So here are the questions:

  • How can you trust what someone claims happens in his sleep?
  • The penalty for a soldier falling asleep on guard duty was death.
  • Could a group of fisherman overcome soldiers guarding the tomb?
  • Would they have broken Jewish sabbath laws to commit this crime?
  • Would they have taken the time to unwrap the grave clothes and leave them behind?
  • Would they have willingly gone to their death for something they knew was a lie?

The Myth Theory: Over time, a legend began to be formed about Jesus, and it just gets embellished, year after year. 1 cor. 15:3-8 says: “For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures,
that He was buried,
that He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures,
and that He appeared to Cephas,
then to the Twelve.
Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;
most of them are still alive,
but some have fallen asleep.
Then He appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one abnormally born,[a]
He also appeared to me.

Paul is relating a creed that had been established within months of Jesus’ death.  If it truly takes two full generation for a legend to be established, Paul’s statement, “Most of these are still living” refutes this.

The Meaning of the Resurrection:

If Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:12-19)

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith.[d] 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.

  • The gospel is useless.
  • Christian faith is worthless.
  • The apostles lied.
  • Christians are unforgiven.
  • Those who died are lost.
  • Christians are to be pitied more than all men.
  • Preaching in the faith of death is absurd.
  • We should abandon our faith in God.

The Power of Death has been Broken! (Gen. 3:15)

The resurrection of Jesus confirmed:

  • the reality of His identity
  • the work of Christ in paying for our sins.
  • The resurrection of the dead, which is our hope.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Romans 5:14 says that Adam was “a pattern of the One who is to come.” How, exactly?

Romans board

Every Monday night, I meet with a group of men for Bible study. We are in Week 8, and just21o6pacdujl-_ac_ul320_sr284320_ finished up Romans 5. We are using Tommy Nelson’s Romans: The Letter that Changed the World as our starting point. If you are anywhere near Prattville, AL, we’d love you to join us.

Romans 5:14 says that Adam was “a pattern of the One who is to come.” But it’s almost as if Paul realizes that he’s just compared someone to Jesus–the One with Whom there is no comparison. Tommy Nelson makes the point that Jesus is a far, far better Savior than Adam was a sinner. So no sooner does Paul say that Adam is a pattern, or type, of the one to come, that Paul starts walking back the statement.

“The gift is not like the trespass”–How they are different

5117z9zxxul-_sx312_bo1204203200_Tim Keller, in his Romans 1-7 For You commentary, identifies three primary ways what Jesus did to save us is different (read: “greater”) than what Adam did to condemn us:

The Motivation was different: 

Adam made a conscious decision to sin. The word “transgression” implies a deliberate decision to do what you know is wrong. So in Genesis 3, Adam bought in to the lie that the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make him like God (Genesis 3:5-7). In other words, he bought in to the lie before he bit in to the fruit! His motivation was that he wanted to be like God.

Like Adam, Jesus made a conscious decision–not to sin, but to obey. Verse 18 calls this the “one act of righteousness.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus deliberately bent His will to the will of the Heavenly Father when He accepted the cross (Luke 22:42). What was His motivation? Well, first and foremost it was to bring glory to the Father. But through His obedience, we have access to the Father (Eph. 2:18). And ultimately, we will be like God, when we see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). So at the risk of oversimplification for the sake of a great Tweet, Adam bit the fruit so He could be like God. Jesus bore the Cross so we could be like God.

Adam bit the fruit so He could be like God. Jesus bore the Cross so we could be like God.

The Results were different: 

Tommy Nelson walks through four areas in which the gift of grace through Christ is different (and far better!) than the transgression of Adam:

  1. Our salvation is more certain than Adam’s sin. Verse 15: For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.
  2. Our forgiveness is more broad than Adam’s judgment. Verse 16: from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification.
  3. Our reward is more glorious than Adam’s punishment. Verse 17: Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
  4. The obedience (of Christ) was more redemptive than the disobedience (of Adam) was destructive. Verse 19:  For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Adam’s sin kicked him out of the Garden. Christ’s righteousness ushers us into Heaven. Adam’s transgression made us slaves. Christ’s righteousness makes us heirs.

The Power was different:

Finally, the power of grace is so much greater than the power of sin. Not for nothing do we sing, “Grace that is greater than all our sin.” How does Paul show that the power of grace trumps the power of sin?

  1. Reigning in life is greater than the reign of death. Paul says in verse 17, “Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Don’t miss the change from “reign in life” to “reign of death.” The first is active: We who have been raised with Christ will reign with Christ. But the reign of death is passive. As Billy Crystal’s character says in The Princess Bride“with all dead there’s only one thing you can do–go through his pockets and look for loose change.”
  2. The abundance of grace is greater than the increase of sin. In verse 20, we read, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” The power of sin to kill is limited. When you are dead, you are dead. More sin doesn’t make you more dead, and less sin doesn’t make you less dead. But when Jesus makes us alive through His abundance of grace,
  • We can grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).
  • We can have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
  • We can grow in our faithfulness, and thus be given more responsibility (Matthew 25:21).
  • We can “add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love (2 Peter 1:5-8)

“For Just As…” How They are Similar

Even though it seems like Paul spends more time talking about how Adam and Christ are not alike, don’t lose sight of his original thesis in verse 14: Adam served as a pattern, or type, of the one to come. So let’s end this post by looking at how the two are alike:

  1. Both the gift and the trespass bring something (v. 16): The gift of grace brings justification. The transgression brings condemnation.
  2. Both the gift and the trespass cause something (v. 18): The result of Adam’s one transgression is condemnation for all men. The result of Christ’s one act of righteousness is the possibility of righteousness for all men (hold that thought– I’ll get back to that).
  3. Both the gift and the trespass make us  something (v. 19): The human race was made sinful by Adam’s disobedience. But the many will be made righteous through Christ’s obedience.

Conclusion: Is there any way the Trespass is Superior than the Gift?

Paul is clear. Grace is greater than sin. Christ is a far, far greater Savior than Adam is a sinner. Good triumphs over evil. The paradise we gain with Christ (see Revelation 22:1-5) is infinitely greater than the paradise we lost with Adam. At every turn, the power of what Jesus did is far superior to the power of what Adam did.

Well… at almost every turn. You may have already noticed it, but look again at verse 18:

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Does that mean that all will be justified? It does not. The condemnation of the human race through Adam is universal. But the justification through Jesus Christ is limited. It is available only to “as many as receive Him” (John 1:12). Romans 5:18 shows us that justification is available to all, but John 1:12 emphasizes that it is limited to the ones who will receive Jesus.

Next week: Antinomianism and Sanctification

 

A Blind Man Was Begging

blind-man

Yesterday at First Baptist Prattville, our pastor, Travis Coleman, preached about “What spiritual sight will do for you.” Although his text was Matthew’s version of the story (Matthew 20:29-34), I’m a little partial to Luke’s version (Luke 18:35-42). Here’s what struck me about the passage:

35 As He [Jesus] drew near Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. [Luke 18:35 HCSB]

 

Admit there’s a problem.

Even before Jesus showed up, this guy knew how to beg. Maybe that was all he knew. What a difference there is between “a blind man was begging” and, say, “a rich man was driving.” Or, “a smart man was teaching.” “A blind man was begging” tells me that he knew what his problem was, and he knew to ask for help. Often, I miss one or both of these things. I’m not willing to admit there’s a problem. And when others see I’m struggling, I will tend to blow them off and say, “No… I’m good.”

38 So he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Then those in front told him to keep quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [Luke 18:38-39 HCSB]

Be Persistent.

The blind man was persistent. When told to quit, he shouted more. What keeps me from being so persistent? Pride? Fear of being embarrassed? Or worse, fear of being ignored? Am I afraid others are too busy to help? Is that my biggest fear when asking God for help?

40 Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him. When he drew near, He asked him, 41 “What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” [Luke 18:40-41 HCSB]

Be Specific.

Finally, the guy was specific. His petition wasn’t some vague request that God would bless him. It was, “Lord, I want to see!” Am I specific in what I ask of God? Do I hold back from telling Him exactly what I need so that if I don’t get it, I’ve given God a loophole? I’m afraid that characterizes a lot of my prayer. And maybe vague requests yield vague results.

So, some takeaways for today. What can I learn from this blind man begging?

  1. Know what’s wrong with you.
  2. Humble yourself to ask for help.
  3. Don’t stop asking for help.
  4. Be specific about the kind of help you need.

Spiritual Maturity: A Tale of Two Vertebrates

fishsalamander
Left- The African Annual Fish. Right-Olm Salamander

This post originally appeared September, 2016 at biblestudiesforlife.com.

Recently, I was leading a large group of adults in a study of 1 Corinthians 3, in which Paul bemoans the lack of spiritual maturity in the church. So I asked the group three questions:

  1. What are the marks of spiritual maturity?
  2. How long does it take?
  3. Do you consider yourself spiritually mature?

I wrote their responses in one column on a whiteboard. The answers to the first question were along the lines of developing the Fruit of the Spirit, developing hunger for God’s word, practicing spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study and so forth. When I asked about how long it takes, responses were all variations on the theme of “Well, it’s an ongoing process.” Similarly, very few adults were willing to say, “Yes, I am spiritually mature.”

It was a very humble group.

Then I changed the question. I said, “So, what if instead of a group of Christians, we were a group of biologists, trying to decide when an animal was biologically mature? What would be on the list?”

This time, the list was pretty short:

  1. No longer depends on mother’s milk
  2. Capable of reproducing

Which has got me thinking: are we overthinking spiritual maturity? Granted, everything on the list we compiled are good things. But are they the main things?

  • Are believers in your small group studying God’s Word for themselves, or are they wholly dependent on a teacher breaking it down for them?
  • Are they reproducing?

If so, they are mature. If not, they aren’t.

Could it really be that simple? I know no one wants to put themselves out on a limb and say, “Yes, I’m mature.” As one precious senior adult in our group put it, “Well, even the Apostle Paul said he had not already obtained the goal or was already perfect (see Philippians 3:12-14), so how could I say I’m spiritually mature?”

I appreciate the heart behind that statement. At the same time, it would be easy to allow false modesty to keep us from fulfilling the reasonable expectations of spiritual adulthood (maybe the conversation would change if we put it in those terms—not “Are you spiritually mature?” but “Are you a spiritual adult?”

Let me give you two examples from the animal kingdom. When I Googled the phrase “fastest animal to maturity,” I learned about the African Annual Fish. These little guys spend their entire lives in a rain puddle left behind after the rainy season in East Africa. They hatch from eggs that have been dormant in the mud since last season. Within seventeen days, they are capable of laying and fertilizing eggs of their own. And when the puddle dries up, they are gone.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Olm salamander, which is found in the secure, isolated caves of Eastern Europe. They can live for as long as 100 years, but don’t begin reproducing until around 16 years of age.

The lesson? When time is short, we get busy. When we feel like we have all the time in the world, we take our time.

The problem in the church is that we would like our churches to be more like caves—secure, protected, cool, comfortable, and separated from the rest of the world. However, the Bible describes the world and our place in it much more like a rain puddle. Consider these verses:

  • “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15)
  • “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” (Col. 4:5)
  • “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:12)
  • “You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13)

I wonder if it’s time for us to own up to the responsibilities that come with being grown-ups? The writer of Hebrews seemed to think so:

Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature —for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

Keep that in mind as you prepare to lead this week!

In a digital world, is anything set in stone?

Why did the Holman Christian Standard Bible change Acts 6:2?

The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

hayden

This morning I heard that the original Star Wars trilogy is returning to theaters. Which immediately made me wonder, Which version of the original Star Wars trilogy? The one that just says “Star Wars” in the opening crawl, or the one that says “Episode IV, A New Hope?” The one where Han shot first? Or the one where the ghost of Hayden Christensen is gazing creepily at Luke and Leia, alongside Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda, while the Ewoks aren’t singing the “Jub Jub” song?

In the world of digital editing, nothing stays the same. Everything gets “improved.” The FBI agents in ET hold walkie talkies, not rifles.

Even music that’s on my iPhone, which I burned from a physical cd myself!!! is not safe from the digital monkeyers. Recently I was out on a run and was jamming to U2’s Mysterious Ways. I was singing along to the lyric “She’s the wave/She turns the tide/She sees the man inside the child, yeah.” Only now,. it doesn’t. Now it’s “And no one thinks to wonder why” or something like that. Well, wonder why! Apparently, iTunes gives itself permission to replace even songs you’ve burned from your own library with improved versions.

But at least God’s Word is safe from revision, right?

Not so much. I was preparing for an upcoming Sunday School lesson on Acts 6–the selection of the first deacons. Here’s how verses 1-3 read in my 2003 Holman Christian Standard Bible (a hard copy, pulled off my shelf, with pages and everything)

In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables. Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.”

However, the most recent revision of the HCSB (and the only one available online at Bible Gateway, the Blue Letter Bible, and the YouVersion App) makes a change to verse 2:

Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters.

So, how did we get from “waiting on tables” to “handle financial matters”?

  1. Not by a literal translation from the Greek. The Greek phrase is διακονεῖν τραπέζαις. Tranliterated, that’s diakonein trapezais. Diakoneō is the present active infinitive of “serve,” from whence we get our word deacon. And τράπεζα trápeza, according to the Blue Letter Bible, is

 trap’-ed-zah; probably contracted from G5064 and G3979; a table or stool (as being four-legged), usually for food (figuratively, a meal); also a counter for money (figuratively, a broker’s office for loans at interest):—bank, meat, table.

So, the door is cracked for an alternative translation of “to serve as money counters.” Interestingly enough, the one place in the New Testament one might expect this figurative meaning would be in Matthew 9:9-10, when Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector, while Matthew was sitting at the tax office. However, the Greek word there is τελώνιον, and it is used only here and in the parallel accounts (Mk 2:14, Lk 5:27).

2. We also didn’t get there by an attempt to line up the HCSB with other English translations. A quick survey of available translations shows that the HCSB stands alone in translating this as anything other than “waiting on tables.”

This wouldn’t be the first time the Holman translation team filed a minority report. What time of day did the Samaritan woman come to the well in John 4:6? Every other English translation either uses the traditional “about the sixth hour” or noon. This assumes the numbering of hours begins with sunrise–6 am-ish. Yet the Holman, alone among English translations, says “Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from His journey, sat down at the well. It was about six in the evening.

Not only does this put the Holman at odds with every other translation, but it ruins every sermon you’ve ever heard (or preached) about how the Samaritan woman came to the well during the hottest part of the day so she could avoid being around the other women of the town.

But in fairness to the Holman, at least this has been the translation from the beginning. My 2004 Holman is the same as my 2010 Holman. And, it’s consistent. Agree or disagree with their system, its the same in the crucifixion accounts, the time of night Jesus walked on the water, and, as far as I can tell, everywhere else an hour is named in the New Testament.

But with Acts 6:2, the Holman has changed from its first printing to its most recent. And I’m at a loss to see how this is a change for the better. Especially when it could be used to prooftext a faulty interpretation of what deacons are supposed to do. Pastors, have you ever dealt with a deacon board that acted as the financial managers of the church? Have you wished they would see themselves more as servants and not as the holders of the purse strings? Well, if you would rather they didn’t see themselves in that way, it’s probably best to keep them away from the HCSB.

At this writing, I’ve emailed my questions to the translation team at LifeWay, and I hope to update this post with their response and rationale. But in the meantime, let me just say:

  1. hqdefaultHan shot first.
  2. The agents in ET had rifles.
  3. Sebastian Shaw is the ghost of Anakin Skywalker.
  4. And deacons waited on tables. They didn’t handle financial matters.

UPDATE: This morning (April 18), I received this email from Jeremy Howard, part of the HCSB translation team:

Hey, James. Thanks for the note. When our text is revised next year, it will read: “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables.”