The Ignorance of Christians Today
This past week, I’ve had the agony of witnessing two Christians passionately speak about their beliefs. I say agony because it was devastating to see the ignorance of Christians today, including pastors. As I write that, I wonder if it is these same pastors who are teaching their flock this ignorance – after all, as the shepherd goes, so goes his flock.
This pains me because I am also passionate, but about the Truths taught in the Bible. Now I understand that in many things, we may not agree even though we are all reading the same word of God. However, there are certain things that are taught in the Bible that anyone who has the ability to read should be able to know.
Many, if not most, of the things taught in the Bible is agreed upon by most Christians. It is in this area that my spirit is troubled when I see ignorance in the faith.
Again, I am the first one to say we must read our Bibles and be Bereans, finding out what is true. I have written an entire book dedicated to rethinking the typical beliefs and teachings of many Christian pastors and teachers. Each chapter is filled with Bible verses and examples to make my case.
So, I am not speaking of people who are teaching something different because they have gained some insight into a Biblical passage and see things from a different angle, resulting in a different way of thinking.
I am speaking of people who blatantly use Bible passages out of context, avoid verses that say the exact opposite of their beliefs, and eisegete the bible text to make their own (incorrect) points.
Then there are those who just say stupid things.
Which Bible Did Jesus Read?
First, let’s be clear: the scriptures at the time of Jesus would have been what we in the Church today call the Old Testament. The Jewish people today call it the Tanakh. Back then, they would have said, “The Scriptures,” “The Law,” “The Law and the Prophets,” or “The books of Moses.” There are indeed other names they might have used to name their scriptures. Certainly, they would never have called it the Bible.
Therefore, Jesus didn’t have the Bible. He had the Jewish Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament. The New Testament would be written throughout the 60 years following his Crucifixion and Resurrection.
So let’s change the question into:
What version of the Scriptures did Jesus read?
There are many who debate this. At the time of Christ, there would have been two versions: the Hebrew version and the Greek version. The Greek version is called the Septuagint. Today, the Hebrew version is called the Masoretic Text, which the Jewish scholars put together long after the Resurrection (sometime during the 7th-10th centuries).
There are differences between the Masoretic texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls and because of this, we can know that the Jewish scholars of the Masoretic Text have made interpretations regarding their scripture and re-written it based on this. (For instance, Psalm 22:16, see verse 17 in the Hebrew scriptures). However, the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the fact that there were Hebrew scriptures available to the Jewish people during the Time of Christ.
Some people insist that Jesus, being a Jew, would have read from the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus would have understood the ancient language of his own people, being the Son of God and therefore the One who created all languages (Genesis 11:1-9).
However, it becomes obvious from reading the New Testament, that the Biblical writers also were familiar with the Septuagint. Have you ever noticed that some of the New Testament verses that quote the Old Testament are not exactly the same as the original verse? That’s usually because they have quoted from the Septuagint and our Bibles typically use the Masoretic Text.
Ignorance at its Greatest
Now I say all this to relate the truly most ignorant statement I think I have ever heard as a Christian. On Facebook, someone wrote that, if we want to quote the Bible, we should use the King James Version because “it is the Bible Jesus used.”
I get having a favorite version of the Bible. I do as well. Mine is the New American Standard Bible (NASB). I have my reasons for this; mostly because I believe it to be the most literal English translation available.
Yet, I recognize that there are many times when a different translation does a better job. So, though I usually begin with the NASB, other translations will invariably come into play. My favorite way of reading the Bible online is using Bible Gateways Parallel translation button to show the NASB, NIV, ESV, KJV and YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) at the same time.
However, there is a difference between saying that you would prefer the King James Bible (for whatever reason you prefer it) and saying “it is the Bible Jesus used.” That is pure ignorance.
First, Jesus didn’t have the Bible, only the Jewish Scriptures. Second, the Books of the New Testament aren’t written until after Jesus has ascended into Heaven. Third, King James did not authorize the Bible until 1611; almost 1,600 years after Jesus’ Crucifixion. I’m going to stop there because, honestly, regardless of how many more reasons I give, this is a ludicrous conversation.
So What is the Point?
It is so important that we Christians do not come across as morons, especially to the unbeliever. Saying things like “The King James Version is the Bible Jesus read” makes us look ridiculous. Prophesying to someone with Alzheimer’s that he is “going to be great for the Lord because God isn’t finished with him yet,” makes us look foolish. (I witnessed this last week).
One way we can make sure we don’t come across this way is to study the Bible and always test what we are being taught from the pulpit. Just because the pastor teaches that everyone should have the gift of Tongues doesn’t mean it is true (1 Corinthians 12:30) (I witnessed this last week as well).
Study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15). Be Bereans (Acts 17:10-11).