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Is Your Bible in a Foreign Language?

Did you know people sacrificed their lives that you and I could have a bible in English? For at least a thousand years, certain powerful clergy had jealously hoarded the Bible. They actually chained bibles to the pulpits of their churches. Yet their most effective tactic was to keep the Word of God in a language foreign to everyone but themselves.

The Bible, of course, has something to say about these scoundrels:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Rom 1:18 - All verses from the NIV Bible)

Now thanks to some very brave souls, my guess is you own a Bible written in English. Maybe you own several. But I still need to ask you: is your Bible in a foreign language? You see, the words on the pages may, in fact, be English words, but your Bible could still be in a language foreign to you!

Consider the words of Jesus:

"Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say." (Jn 8:43)

"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (Jn 8:47)

So, according to Jesus, unless you "belong to God", you cannot hear him. You might hear the words, but you will not understand them. And even if you understand, you won't accept and obey them.

Parents know what I mean. A parent calls up the stairs, "Johnny, time for dinner!" When Johnny doesn't come, the parent next asks, "Did you hear me young man?" There really is no question whether the words were physically heard, yet if the child had understood the call to dinner, and who it was who had spoken it, he would have come to the table!

But I am not just speaking here about simple disobedience. I am convinced we are faced with a real dilemma. The problem is this: our Bibles aren't really written in English after all, they are written in the language of the Spirit. That is why Jesus said:

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (Jn 6:63)

The language of the Spirit is completely foreign to every mother's child. It is a language that can only be understood by those born of the Spirit.

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Cor 2:14)

This is why Jesus told Nicodemus:

"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again." (Jn3:5-7)

Sure enough, Nicodemus heard, but he didn't understand! "How can a man be born when he is old?" he asked. Jesus answered with a question of his own: "You are Israel's teacher, and you do not understand these things?"

You see, it is not enough to be religious. Nor is it enough to diligently study the Bible. These are good things, but they are not enough. We absolutely need God to intervene on our behalf. Just as the sick often need to receive an injection of medicine, so each of us needs an impartation of the Holy Spirit from God.

Moses spoke to the people of God in his day; religious people who were eye witnesses to amazing miracles. Yet listen to what he said to them:

"With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear." (Deut 29:3)

But, dear reader, I have good news for you. If you will humbly come to Jesus and admit you are spiritually blind and deaf, he will heal you. Didn't he heal the deaf and blind when He walked the Earth?

"Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." (Ps 25:8-9)

"In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." (Is 29:18)

© Matthew Schilling December 1995

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