Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Joy Inexpressible

     I commend the following article to you. It was written by Jeff Burnett, my very
dear friend and  beloved  brother  in  the  Lord  Jesus. Jeff  is  a very gifted young
man who preaches the word in the state of Louisiana. He is humble, yet bold, and
is a fine student of God's word! May Yahweh bless him with many useful years in
the service of the King of Eternity.
                                                                                                                   R. Daly    
Joy Inexpressible

1 Peter 1:1-9

     The  Holy  Spirit  through  the  apostle  Peter, in  his first letter, speaks of a
happiness  that  words  cannot  express. It  is  a  joy  so  beyond finite human
comprehension, that mere human words fail to communicate the emotions felt.
Peter is writing his first epistle to a group who find themselves in tough times.
The epistle was sent to individuals  he described as, “sojouners” ASV-1901,
“aliens” NASB-1977 and “strangers in the world” NIV-2011. The text says the
group described was “dispersed” or “scattered” throughout the region of Pontus,
Galatia, Cappodocia, Asia, and Bithynia vs.1. This region is known as Asia Minor,
which would be the country of Turkey today.

     Who exactly is Peter writing this letter to? In verse 1, Peter addresses them as
“elect”. The English word “elect”, comes from the Greek word eklektos, which
carries the meaning of “chosen” or “picked out”. Elect in this context refers to
Christians, who had their lives redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ (1:18-22). 
These followers of Christ lived among people, who did not share in the same
lifestyle, or a commonwealth in heaven. Again, they were “aliens and strangers”
in the world around them (1:1; 2:11). To Christians, this world in which we live
is not home. 1 Peter was written to Christians in a distant land, who were suffering.
Study the following passages of encouragement: to their faith (1:6-7); to their
conduct (2:12); suffering for wrongdoing (2:19-20); to follow the example left by
Jesus (2:21-24); to suffer for righteousness (3:16-18); to be Christ-like in the midst
of suffering (4:1); to remain in the “will of God” though judged by men (4:6);
rejoice to be able to share in the sufferings of Christ (4:12-16); to be glad that the
“God of all grace” will restore them and make them “perfect” (5:10). You have
noticed that all of  these  passages  show  with  certainty  the  suffering that was
experienced by these Christians.

     In the midst of this suffering, certain words are used to describe the outlook of
these Christians towards Christ: Belief, Love and Rejoice. In verse 8, we find the
in the original Greek, hon ouk idontes, which literally means, “had not so much as
a glimpse of” (Guy N. Woods, Commentary on 1 Peter, page 30).How could they,
never seeing the physical form and existence of Jesus, love Him? The word “love”
in our English Bibles is from the Greek word agapao. This is not referring to the
affection we share as humans, but rather in relation of mankind to God. The love
described is an active, functioning working emotion. “For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). “Greater love has no one than this,
that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “But God demonstrates His
own  love  towards  us,  in  that  while  we  were  yet  sinners, Christ died for us”
(Romans 5:8). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in
love,   just   as  Christ  also    loved  you  and  gave   Himself   up   for   us…”

(Ephesians 5:1-2).   “For   this   is   the   love   of  God,   that   we   keep   His

commandments…” (1 John 5:3). This short list of verses expresses the type of

love to which Peter is referring. Although the folks to whom Peter wrote had

never seen Jesus, they by faith were certain of His example, that was worthy of

following.  Never seeing Christ with their eyes, but loving Him through faith,

caused these brothers and sisters to “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and

full of glory”. Agalliaois the Greek word from which we get our English word

rejoice. Thayer defines in the following way, “to exult exceedingly” (Thayer's

Greek Lexicon, page 3).  Knowing  what  Jesus  had   done for them, they were

constrained to follow Him. They had never seen Jesus, but their hearts were full

of deep emotion, gladness, joy and praise that words cannot describe. These

homeless ones of this earth, would suffer for a little   while, but  would  eventually  

receive  the  “salvation  of  their  souls”. A reservation at home in heaven was

awaiting them and that was the cause and reason for their inexpressible joy!

     Similarly, we as Christians are “aliens and strangers” on this place called
planet earth. We share a lot in common with the Christians to whom this epistle
was addressed. When we are being criticized, mistreated and suffer for the cause
of Christ, where do we turn to? Where is our hope and trust? Is it in the same God
and His Son in whom the Christians in 1st Peter had their confidence? May we
always look to Christ and the example He left us to follow. When we contemplate
the suffering recorded for us in this letter, it should not be discouraging, but an
emotion of joy and gladness knowing that the one who suffers for Christ “will
obtain as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls”. In this we greatly


Jeffrey Burnett 4/13/2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Does Romans Teach Justification by Faith Alone?


Most  denominational  theologians, exegetes, and  translators  believe  the  New
Testament teaches a person is justified by faith alone. Their main point of focus
is  Paul's  letter  to  the  Romans. So, it  is  reasonable to ask, "Does Romans Teach
Justification by Faith Alone?"

     What is justification? The New Testament uses several words in this family of
words that are from the same "root" or "stem." The adjective dikaios which means
"righteous, upright, just." The verb dikaioo which means to "make right, just, to
vindicate." The noun dikaiosis  which  means "justification, acquittal, vindication."
The adverb dikaios which means "uprightly, fairly, justly." The noun dikaiosune
which  means  "righteousness, uprightness, justice."  Justification  is  the  state  or
condition of being right with God, or declared "no longer guilty" by God. This is
the pronouncement of God through the Messiah, "who was delivered up for our
trespasses, and was raised up for our justification." (Romans 4:25, ASV-1901)
Therefore, the question is: "Does  the  book  of  Romans  teach  that God declares
a  person to be righteous or "no longer guilty" by faith alone?"

     The  short  answer  is "no."  Neither the  phrase  "faith alone,"  nor  the  concept
of  justification by faith alone are found in Paul's letter to the Romans. Paul plainly
implies  in  Romans  that  nothing alone  justifies  a  person.  Paul says a person is
"justified freely by his grace," (Romans 3:24), "justified by faith," (Romans 3:28),
and believers are "justified by his blood." (Romans 5:9) Since a person is justified
by "grace" and "blood," and inasmuch as "grace" and "blood" are not the same as
"faith," a person is not justified by faith alone! If a person were justified by faith
alone it could not be  by  the grace of God  and  the  blood  of  Christ! "Alone"
excludes all else.

     What are we to make of Paul's statement that, "Now to the one who works, the
reward is not accounted according to grace, but according to debt. But to the one
who does not work, but believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, their faith is
accounted for righteousness."? (Romans 4:4-5)

     First,  human  works  are   not  the  basis or grounds  of   justification. More
particularly, in Romans the "works of the law" (or "works of law", implying the
law of Moses  or  works  by  which  one  puts  God  in  his "debt.") is a point of
focus. (cf. Romans 4:19, 21, 28) There is no justification through such works.

     Second, Paul is not excluding the works or deeds required by God as a means
of being justified by God. At least twice in Romans Paul says that his apostleship
was "for (or in order to bring about, RD) obedience of faith." (Romans 1:5; 16:26)
The "obedience  of   faith"  means   the  obedience  that   faith  elicits; faith  that
requires compliance with God's will.

     Third, Paul did not believe a person can be justified apart from Christ Jesus or
apart from his death. He reminds the Romans that, "Or  are  you  ignorant  that  as
many as  were  immersed  into  Christ  Jesus  were  immersed  into  his  death?
Therefore, we  were  buried  with him through immersion into death, that just as
Christ was raised from the dead  through  the  glory  of  the  Father, so  we also
may walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4) Nothing in Romans excludes the
necessity of immersion. Paul says those who are immersed are immersed "into
Christ Jesus," and "into his death." Immersion was the means by which they
received the benefits of Jesus' death. To deny the necessity of immersion is to
deny the necessity of Christ Jesus' work and the benefits of his blood. And that
is what those who teach justification by faith alone do.
                                                                                                               R. Daly


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Other Scriptures

     In the context of 2 Peter 3:14-18, Peter says Paul's letters "contain some things that are
hard  to  understand, which  ignorant  and  unstable  people  distort."  Then  Peter  uses  a
phrase that is not only remarkable, but  its  implications  are  profound!  The people about
whom he writes, not only distort Paul's letters, but  they  do  the  same  thing  to "the other
scriptures" (tas loipas graphas). (v.16)

     First, Peter implies that Paul's letters are scripture. He said ignorant people distort Paul's
letters, "as they do also the other scriptures." (ASV-1901) The word "other"(Grk.loipos)
connotes "rest of." So, the  uninformed  distorted  Paul's  letters  as  they  did  the rest of
the scriptures. No  human  council  or  legislative  body  determines  what  does and does
not constitute scripture. God has made that determination. When  an  apostle and  others 
who  were "carried  along  by  the Holy Spirit,"  (2 Peter 1:21)  put  "pen  to  paper"  in 
revealing truth  from  the  mind  of  God (1 Corinthians 2:13), they were writing scripture! 

     Second, since the apostles and other supernaturally guided men wrote scripture, their
writings are authoritative, and serve as an inerrant guide in all religious matters. Paul told
the  Corinthians,   "The  things  I  am  writing  to  you  are  the  command  of  the  Lord."
(1 Corinthians 14:37) He even commended them for "maintaining the traditions" as he had
delivered them. Traditions refers to apostolic instructions. Paul informed the Thessalonians
that when they heard the word from him, it was not "the  word  of  men," they received,
but "the  word  of  God" that  was  at work in them.(1 Thessalonians 2:13) He told the
believers  in  Rome  that  they  would be judged by the message of good news that he
preached. (Romans 2:16)

     Third, therefore, inasmuch as there is a  body of literature  that  has been "breathed
out by God" ( 2 Timothy 3:16), it is not only futile but also eternally disastrous for people
to  distort  it. Those  who  twist  the  scriptures,  do  so  to  "their  own  destruction!"
(2 Peter 3:16)  We are to remain in the teaching of Christ (2 John 9). The faith, that is,
the body of eternal truth has been "once for all delivered to the holy people." (Jude 3)
God has supplied mankind with "all things that pertain to life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3)
No other  written  message will  be given. We  have  the  mind  of  God  verbalized  in
Paul's writings and "the other scriptures."

                                                                                                                      R. Daly
Copyright 2015 


Friday, March 6, 2015

Religous Errors Refuted by The Letter to The Ephesians

     Paul's  letter  to  the  Ephesians  is  rich  in  theological content! It  is a masterpiece of
doctrinal and practical instruction. If a person studies the letter a thousand times, the next
time they look into its meaning new information will be uncovered. Ephesians refutes many
commonly  taught  ancient  and  modern  religious  errors. In  this  post  we  will  examine
several errors that are demolished by the letter to the Ephesians.

    Denominationalism is refuted within the Ephesian letter. Most denominational people
believe a person has the right to "join the church of their choice." This concept was not
taught by any any apostle of Christ, neither did such an idea enter the mind of God. In the
Ephesians letter, Paul said, "There is one body." (Ephesians 4:4) One is one more than
zero  and  one less  than  two.  It is singular!  Paul  himself  identifies  this  body  as "the
congregation which is his body." (Ephesians 1:22-23) One body is one congregation of
the redeemed.

     Calvinism is refuted by the Ephesians letter. One of the tenets of Calvinism is the idea
that sin is inherited. Calvinists teach and believe that human beings are born with a sinful
"nature." Paul informed the believers in Ephesus that sin resulted from their practice not
their birth. He told them, "You were dead through your trespasses and sins, in which you
once walked...we also once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh
and mind..." (Ephesians 2:1-3) He is discussing how they lived, not how they were
born. In  verse  3  he  says  they  were "by nature children of wrath." The word "nature"
(Grk. phusis) does not refer to a birth state but "a mode of feeling and acting which by
long  habit  has  become nature." (Thayer's Greek and English Lexicon, page 660)
The  context  confirms  Thayer's  comment. In  this  context,  phusis  connotes  "in this
condition," that is, the way the Ephesians formerly lived, thought, and acted.

     Faith Only and Grace only as  a  means of salvation are refuted by the Ephesians
letter. The Methodist discipline and the Baptist manuals affirm that a person is justified
by faith alone and grace alone. They affirm what Paul denies! Paul said, "by grace you
have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of
works, that  no  one  should  boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Since  salvation  is "by" grace
"through" faith, it is by neither alone! Furthermore, in the Ephesians letter Paul attributes
their  salvation  to  other  elements  such  as "through his blood," (1:7); "the word of truth,
the good news of your salvation," (1:13); "Christ." (5:23) In Paul's mind, people are not
saved by anyone or anything alone. Several factors contribute to salvation from sin.

     United  Pentecostalism   is   refuted   by   the    letter   to  the  Ephesians.  United
Pentecostalism teaches  that  there  is  only  one  person in the Godhead, namely Jesus.
Paul wrote in the letter about "God our Father," (1:2) "the Lord Jesus Christ,"(1:2) and
"the Holy Spirit of promise." (1:13) He also wrote, "there is one Spirit," (4:4), "one Lord,"
(4:5), and  "one God and Father of all." (4:6) The Godhead consists of three persons not

     Seventh Day Adventism is refuted by the marvelous Ephesians letter. Seventh Day
Adventists believe the Old testament law regulating the sabbath day is still binding. Paul
says Christ has "abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained
in ordinances." (2:15) The  law  that  contained  the  sabbath  day  regulations  has  been
terminated or nullified. It is no longer binding.

     Premillenialism is refuted by the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. One of the elements
of premillenial doctrine is that Christ came to establish the kingdom of God, but the Jews
rejected him, and the "church" was established as a substitute until the thousand years
reign on earth, then the kingdom of God will be established. Paul said the assembly or
congregation of God was the result of divine planning. It was "the eternal purpose of God
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (3:10-11) The establishment of the Lord's
congregation  was  no  afterthought, it  was  God  plan  before  the  ages! Inexhaustible, 
unfathomable, unlimited wisdom with rich variety underlies the existence of Christ's body.

     Religious Institutionalism is refuted by the letter to the Ephesians. Only one religious
society has any right to exist by divine decree. No human religious institutions, regardless
of how "worthy" their aims, have the right to supplant the mission of the Lord's congregation
by  preaching the good news of salvation in Christ! Heaven is honored and God is glorified
"in the congregation and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." (3:21)
God is glorified in this way because "the congregation" is his saved people, and "Christ
Jesus"  is their Savior. Together they reflect and represent the summary of all that God set
in order for the eternal good of humanity.

     Universalism is  refuted  by  the  Ephesians letter. Universalism asserts that all human
beings will eventually be saved. But  Paul  wrote,  "Know  this  of  a certainty, no sexually
immoral person, nor unclean person, nor  greedy  person,  nor  one  who  is  an idolater
has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (5:5) Christ  is  "the  Savior  of the
body."  (5:23) According to Paul, there are people who will not be saved.

     Ecumenism is refuted by Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Ecumenism is the movement
designed to "unite all churches" by overlooking doctrinal differences. Paul wrote, there is
"one faith." (4:5)  There  is  one  system  of  belief. There  is  one "word of truth." (1:13)
It must not be compromised. Ecumenism is like rheumatism; if it isn't put in check, it will
spread to other parts of the "body." Paul says believers are in a war, not in a truce signing
ceremony. (6:10-20)

     The Non essentiality of immersion  is also refuted by the Ephesians letter. Nearly
all denominational organizations deny that immersion is necessary for salvation from past
sins. They reason: "Baptism is a work. We are not saved by works. So, we are not saved
by baptism." They fail to realize we are not saved by works of human origin, neither are
we saved by works that permit boasting. Immersion is not a humanly prescribed work,
and immersion does not allow boasting. Immersion is an act commanded by God. (Acts
10:48), and when one is immersed, they are saved by grace. (Acts 19:1-5; Ephesians
2:8-9) The Ephesians had been immersed "into the name of the Lord Jesus," (Acts 19:4-5)
and they "were saved by grace through faith." (Ephesians 2:8-9) They were in the body
of Christ. So, Paul wrote to them and said the Lord has "cleansed it (the assembly of the
saved, RD) by the washing of water with the word." (Ephesians 5:25-27) The "washing
of water" refers to the purification from sin that God granted when they were  immersed.
(Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5)

                                                                                                                       R. Daly

Copyright 2015




Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Tradition of the Elders

     In Mark's account of the life of Christ, we read about the "tradition of the elders."
We encounter the phrase twice in Mark chapter 7 verses 3 and 5. It has reference to
the oral law of the rabbis. Josephus refers to this as the "tradition of the fathers."
(cf. Josephus' Antiquities XIII.16.2, 408) Pharisees believed that not only had Moses
given the written law at Sinai, but that he had also given an oral law which had been
preserved by word of mouth. This oral law was considered equally binding with
the written law. (Josephus Antiquities XIII.x.6, 297) This was finally collected and
written down by Judah the Prince, about A.D. 200, and formed the Mishna. The oral
law actually constituted the body of customs to define the points of law. It was a
body of commentary in addition to the law!

     Jesus referred to their oral law, the tradition of the elders, as "your tradition," 
differentiating it from the "commandment of God." (Mark 7:9,14) He also refers to
their tradition as "the tradition of men." (v.8) By doing this, he refused to accept the
authority of their tradition. He challenged the binding nature of their oral law! Their
code of customs was not "the word of God." (Matthew 15:6) The rules they were
seeking to impose on the Lord's disciples had no divine authority, and the Lord
Jesus rejected them. Jesus did not strive to be politically correct, but he was always
religiously correct. His mission was to practice and teach the will of his Father in
heaven, not to submit to uninspired human traditions. (John 5:19, 30; 6:38)

     Human  tradition  is  like  the  talons of an eagle holding a fish. When it takes
hold, it is hard to break away from its grip. The longer human tradition is practiced,
the deeper it sinks into the heart, and the harder it is to "cry freedom." Efforts to
renounce man-made traditions are often described as heresy or damnable. One
reason for this is the fact that people do not like to be different, and they suspect
anyone or anything that is different from what they have always believed and
practiced. Divine "traditions" (teaching from God through the apostles) are binding
(1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6) , but doctrines and practices imposed
by human beings must not ever be thought of as laws from God. They must be rejected.

     I have known elders and leading men within the congregations of Christ that have
made the law that only the King James Version of the Bible may be used in public
reading, preaching, and teaching. Some have even said, "Look at where the KJV has
brought us. It has been used successfully in debates with denominational preachers.
Thousands have been saved from sin by the KJV." The KJV is a useful translation,
but King James onlyism has no place among the people of God or anyone else.
It cannot be defended. Not even the KJV translators believed in King James onlyism.
A person who prefers to use a version  that  speaks  through older archaic English
forms  will  likely  enjoy  the  KJV.  But  they  have  no more right to bind their
preference on others, than the Pharisees had  to  bind  the necessity of washing of
one's hands before eating. (Mark 7:1-8) Neither do they have the right to criticize
other versions of the Bible on the basis that they differ from the KJV. Rejecting
human tradition does not make a person a "liberal." Jesus said the Pharisees, the
lawmakers, the ones who bound human traditions were in error because they "were
teaching human rules as their doctrines." (Mark 7:7)  That is the taproot of liberalism;
breaking away from the word of God to follow man-made rules.

     In response to the statement that "The KJV is not the only acceptable version
of the scriptures that a person may use," it is sometimes said, "The elders are to
guard the congregation from doctrinal error, therefore, we only use the KJV."
It is true that the overseers are to protect God's congregations from false doctrine.
( Acts 20:28-31; Titus 1:9) But it is not true that King James onlyism is the proper
response to the problem. In order to demonstrate this, one question is appropriate:
is   there any   doctrinal  error in the KJV?  If   you  answer  "No," look  at  two
frequently quoted verses of scripture; (Acts 2:47 and Acts 3:19). Notice the phrase
"such as should be saved" in 2:47, and the phrase "be converted" in 3:19. Neither
translation is what the Greek text says. Both phrases are incorrectly translated, and
are therefore doctrinal errors. Someone  may  respond,  "But the person reading
or teaching from the KJV can explain this fact and teach the truth to the people."
The respondent is correct. And since this is true, why can't the same thing be done
if a person uses the ASV, ESV, RSV, and NIV when teaching and preaching if
they encounter errors in the text?

     Jesus exposed the inconsistency of those who were attempting to bind "the
tradition of the elders." The same thing should be done whenever people bind any
human traditions. No one has the right to make and bind  laws God did not make.

                                                                                                                 R. Daly
Copyright 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why Do The Scholars Miss It?

     There are people who  have  immense  knowledge  of Hebrew, Aramaic, and
Greek, the languages in  which  Yahweh gave mankind the sacred writings. They
know the  meanings  of words, are  skilled  in  grammar, and are able to translate
from  those  languages  into  English. But  their practice often  contradicts  their
knowledge. Why? I would  suggest  the  following  insights as to why this is the

     First, in  the  words  of  Paul, "Knowledge  puffs  up." (1 Cor. 8:1) Pride and
arrogance are beasts that  fight against humility within the heart. When a person
thinks they have  reached  the  pinnacle of learning, they are not likely to admit
they  are  wrong, even  when  the  evidence  is  decidedly against them! Only a
person who is genuinely humble in spirit will unreservedly say and believe, "I
am wrong." "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes
wisdom." (Prov. 11:2, NIV-2011)

     Second, in the words of Jesus, "You have let go of the command of God and
are holding on to human traditions." (Mk. 7:8) This is true of many scholars of
the biblical languages. They know what the text teaches but they are held by the
eagle like talons of human tradition. Human tradition is a formidable force, and
its grip is difficult to break, even when holding to it clearly violates the word of
the living God. Many scholars prefer tradition over apostolic precedent!

     Third, writing  about  the  Jewish  rulers, John the apostle said, "For  they
loved the praise  of  the people  more  than  the  praise  of God." (Jno. 12:43) 
This  is  also  true of some Bible scholars. They are aware of  what  scripture
teaches, but  to  stand  on  the  sacred word would put them  at odds with their
constituents, and  they choose to be accepted by people in darkness than by the
God of light.

     It  is  important  to remember  the  three  previous  points  as to why many
scholars  miss  it;  pride,  human  tradition,  and  acceptance  by  constituents.
Scholarship is excellent if the scholar never forgets the source and purpose of
their  knowledge. Scholarship  for  the  mere  sake  of  scholarship  is  like a
hammer in the hands of a wild man; but scholarship that crowns the head of a
wise man is like a hammer in the hands of a well-trained carpenter.

     These  things  assist  us  in  understanding  why  biblical  lexicographers,
grammarians,  and  linguists  admit  the Greek verb psallo in Ephesians 5:19
does not mean to play on mechanical instruments in New Testament worship,
yet  they  continue  worshiping  with  mechanical instruments. This gives us
insight   as  to  why  lexicographers  correctly  define  baptizo  as  immerse,
submerge, or dip, but they remain affiliated with denominations that practice
sprinkling and pouring as religious acts. It sheds light on why grammarians
acknowledge the phrase "eis aphesin ton hamartion humon" in Acts 2:38
means "into" or "unto"  the  forgiveness  of  your  sins,  but  they continue
denying that immersion is necessary for the forgiveness of past sins. One
Greek grammarian, A.T. Robertson, was so vehemently opposed to the facts
that he wrote, "One will decide the use (of eis in Acts 2:38, RD) according as
he believes baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is
decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament
taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing
such remission." (Word Pictures In The New Testament, volume 3, pages
35,36) If he had read the words of Peter (1 Peter 3:21), and Paul (Romans
6:3-4) he would have known that both Peter and Paul taught and believed
immersion  is  essential  to  salvation  from  sin! Peter  and  Paul  have  left
professor Robertson lying on the "mounds."

     Our  faith  must  rest  in  God  and  we  must  be  diligent  students and
humble practitioners of his word. In this way, even when scholars miss it,
with God's help, we can get it.

                                                                                                       R. Daly
Copyright 2015



Monday, February 23, 2015

Was Job Patient?

     In James 5:11 the American Standard Version says,  "Ye  have  heard  of the
patience  of  Job"   This  reading  has  been  the  basis  of  many  sermons  and
discussions about the "patience" of Job. A careful  reading  of  the  book of Job
leaves a person with a radically different impression about the man Job. So, we
ask, "Was Job patient?"

     Patience  is   the   quality  of   bearing  with  pain,  trouble,  or  misfortune
without complaining. So, we ask, "Did Job complain?" Or, did he bear with his
catastrophic misfortune without complaint?

     Yahweh asked the adversary, Satan, twice, "Have you considered my servant
Job?" (Job 1:8; 2:3) The adversary was granted permission to bring calamity
upon Job's possessions and family, and finally upon Job himself. Job was "afflicted
with severe boils or skin inflammation from the soles of his feet to the crown of his
head." (Job 2:7) His suffering was so great that when his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad,
and Zophar went to comfort him, that they did not recognize him from far away,
and they raised their voices, and wept, and tore their robes and sprinkled dust on
their heads toward heaven." (Job 2:11-12) Furthermore, "they sat down with him
on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him: for
they saw that his suffering was very great." (Job 2:13)

     After this Job speaks. The text says he "cursed the day of his birth." Job opened
his mouth, and among other things he said, "Let the day perish on which I was born;"
"Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not die when my mother gave birth
to me?" "I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, neither do I have rest; but trouble
comes!" (Job 3:1, 11, 26) This clearly shows us that Job complained! Job was very
impatient. But what about James 5:11, where the ASV says, "Ye have heard of the
patience of Job?"

     Interestingly, the  ASV  gives  an  alternate reading in a footnote that says, "or
endurance." In  other  words,  the  "minority  judgment"  of  the   translators who
translated the letter of James for  the  ASV  New  Testament  committee  placed
the  accurate translation in a footnote. It should have been placed in the text.

     The Greek word in James 5:11 is hupomone. It means endurance, perseverance,
steadfastness. It describes the capacity for resolute continuance in a course of
action. James' point is  not that Job was patient, in that he did not complain; (he
did), but he endured great suffering. He did not give up! This is why translations
such as  the RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, and ESV speak of the steadfastness,
endurance, or perseverance of Job.

     Once  again  we  have  shown the  importance  of  comparing  several  good
translations when studying the scriptures. Perhaps the wisdom of the writer of the
Proverbs is applicable for those who lock themselves into using only one version
in Bible study: "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in the abundance
of counselors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14, ESV)

                                                                                                              R. Daly
Copyright 2015