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JOHN PEARRELL: The best version of the Bible is one you can understand

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

Recently I was viewing a Public Television special on the Bible. I was appalled at the poor scholarship, the obvious failure to research the facts they were presenting, and the resulting misinformation being passed onto the viewing public.

Without going into detail (space prohibits it), the major thrust of the program of "what we now know" was based on a theory once held in the 19th century and into the middle of the 20th century by liberal scholars, but thoroughly discredited (and recognized as such) by 1973.

One professor who persisted to teach the disproved documentary hypothesis theory, when confronted by a student, responded with the scholarly comment, "I know it has been disproved, but I've taught it as truth for so long, and I will continue to teach it. When you become the professor, you can correct it!" Talk about intellectual dishonesty!

Now, in 2011 I watched the exact same intellectual dishonesty being propagated by Public Television to a viewing audience, most of whom will take the misinformation as "gospel truth" and, believing what they choose to believe, will never bother to look at the facts.

The enlightenment writer and skeptic Voltaire (certainly no friend to Christianity) wrote, "The atheists are for the most part misguided scholars who reason badly, and who, not being able to understand the Creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties have recourse to the hypothesis of the eternity of things and of inevitability."

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato observed, "Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding." While many today may not classify themselves as atheists, it appears that this disease of the soul is the basis for their gross error of understanding displayed by a persistent willingness to ignore truth while they invent the facts that suit their own fancy.

The Psalmist put the problem succinctly: "What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God! For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King. 'Come, let us break his chains,' they say, 'and free ourselves from all this slavery to God,'" (Psalm 2:1-3, The Living Bible).

So much of what passes as "scholarship" today is little more than a bias against Scripture that then sets out to build its own house of cards which they use to deny the Scriptures. They reject the facts simply because they choose not to believe what the eyewitnesses have recorded. Once they reject the facts, they are free to invent their own "facts" to suit their own ends.

What we are dealing with here has eternal consequences. You may disagree with that statement, but I implore you make sure of the facts. Don't accept what someone may say about the Bible, take time to check it out for yourself. I recommend if you are willing to do this, that you begin your study in the Gospel of John and please, for your own sake, don't try to do it an archaic language Bible. Invest in something like the New Living Translation or the New International Version.

I personally believe that the best version of the Bible is one you can read and understand. For those who may be interested but who may not want to invest in a modern translation, if you will contact the church, we will send you a Gospel of John.

This is too important a subject to accept someone else's skewed opinion about. You may choose to reject it, but if you reject it at least have the courtesy to know first-hand what you are rejecting.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org.