Maranatha Devotionals, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures

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This picture shows an easy way across these mountains. One could get across without the bridge, however, it would be a hard trip. Paul was a Christian that did not take the easy road. His life was a depiction of a difficult path. However, he never swayed. There is no account in history that I have read that shows Paul swayed from the truth. Peter swayed at the beginning but not Paul.

~Galatians 5:7-9 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? (7) This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. (8 ) A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (9)

Are you weary my friend? Are you tired of the constant spiritual battle that you are fighting? I’m sure if anyone could be weary of the battle it was the Apostle Paul. However, not once do we read about him complaining or slipping. His letter to the Galatians shows him exhorting the brethren for having started out as strong Christians but were not continuing in the faith. Why? Because they stopped obeying the truth. They were listening to false teachings and it was beginning to corrupt them. He emphasized that these teachings did not come from the Holy Spirit (verse 8 ).

Have you ever noticed how bread is made? There is a great object lesson in the process. Without yeast, the dough will not rise. Paul said that a little yeast causes the whole lump of bread to rise, not just a portion of it. He wanted the Galatians to know that when false teaching sets into one believer’s life, he not only corrupts himself but he corrupts the church of which he is a member. False doctrine sets in and then the church body will eventually follow. Dough does not rise immediately once yeast is added. If you notice, it rises slowly. It also needs to be in the right environment – warm temperature and covered. Satan is the father of lies. He is a master deceiver. He will cause compromise to creep into a church using those who are not faithful in the Word or those who are tired of fighting.

Be careful, dear Christian. If you are weary of this battle, do not let your guard down. This is the perfect environment for compromise. There are other believers out there that need you to stand firm in the faith. Be like Paul – do not let Satan have the victory. Instead, run the race to the finish – staying strong in the Word – strong in the faith!

If someone were to write a book about your spiritual walk on this earth after you die, would it be similar to the legacy that Paul left behind? Don’t be weary, my friend. Three times we are told in the New Testament to be strong:

~1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

~Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

~2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul told us to be strong in the faith, strong in the Lord and strong in the grace that is in Christ. This is what sustained Paul. Let it sustain you, dear Christian!

© Kate Plourde 2009

Scriptures

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~Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

~John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

~John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

~Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

~Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

~Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

~John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light.  The proof is in the by-product!

~Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Maranatha Devotionals, Catholicism, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Mark 7:8-9, 13 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (13) Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

When I think of “tradition,” I think of Fiddler on the Roof. 🙂 Tevye and his family sing about the Jewish traditions for the home. Some traditions are wonderful! I think of family gatherings and how I’ve incorporated many of my parents’ family traditions into my own family. But what about religious traditions? Today’s Scriptures do not speak highly of some of them.

I was raised and rooted in religious tradition. Some were very good. However, I did not care if those traditions were based on the Bible or not because the Bible was not read in our home. It was a book that sat on the bookshelf and, on occasion, I would open it to look at the pictures.  After salvation I noticed that some of these traditions were not according to what was written in the Bible. I had been taught all my life that whatever our church taught was equal to the Scriptures.

I’m sure every church is guilty of adding something to their traditions which they believe is as important as what is written in the Scriptures. I am not well versed in all the various religions out there but I can speak about one. An example of this lies with the Catholic church. The Vatican II council stated that “the living teaching office of the Church” (the latin term for this is magisterium) has the authority to interpret historical documents and make them equal with the Word of God. “It is clear therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others.” (“Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” (Dei Verbum), Documents of Vatican II, par. 10, p. 118)

They have elevated sacred tradition to be equal with Scripture and, as a result, taken away from the authority of the Scripture.   Scripture would no longer be the only source man would turn to when trying to find truth. Instead, it would be easier to ask a church leader about what to do than to pick up the Bible and read it for themselves.

When one wants to know about repairing a Chevrolet Malibu, one must go to the Chevrolet Malibu manual, not the Toyota Corolla manual. So it stands to reason that if we want to know if something is “scriptural,” we must go to the Scriptures to verify it. One can turn to historical documents but are they in line with Scriptures?  Following after tradition is not recorded in God’s Word as being equal to the Word of God. In fact, at times when tradition is mentioned in the New Testament, it correlates it with God’s Word and to what Christ taught!  Other times, as in today’s text, it proves otherwise. The verses that referred to the traditions of men were penned with disdain – and warning was given to stay away from those traditions.

~Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The Apostles did not have all the New Testament at the time they walked this earth and were spreading the Gospel. It was important, therefore, that believers were taught to follow in their footsteps after their testimony in Christ Jesus! They had an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that they taught others what Christ had taught them. They had an overwhelming responsibility to walk blamelessly so that new Christians would be taught correctly – according to what Christ taught them. They were given power from the Holy Spirit to pen the word of God exactly how the Holy Spirit wanted them to write.

~2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

Once the Apostles began to penn the Scriptures through epistles and Gospels, they continued to teach that new Christians should hold fast to those “traditions” that they were taught by the Apostles (in word and through their letters).  These were traditions that were in line with Christ’s words. These were traditions that today are clearly in God’s Word and were taught by Christ!  That is why they were encouraged to follow after them – but only as long as they followed after Christ and His Word.  If there were any contradiction, God’s Word was truth and they were to follow that truth!

~2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Some churches speak of tradition and try to combine it with their church’s authority with an end result of man-made traditions accepted as Gospel truth. Unless you have a ruler to draw a straight line, it is impossible to draw a perfectly straight line by hand. Unless you have the true ruler, Jesus Christ and His word, it is impossible for you to have truth. (John 17:17) Even in Old Testament times, people recognized the man of God and what was spoken by him was truth.

~1 Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

Is it any wonder that some churches would make whatever they want as doctrine to be equal to God’s Word? God says that HIS Word is truth. Jesus prayed this prayer to His Heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples.

~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Jesus Christ brought us God’s word, therefore, if we want the truth then turn to the Scriptures, not tradition! Christ is God’s spoken word to us!

~John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Do not follow after tradition UNLESS it follows in line with God’s Word. After all, we will be judged according to what is written in the Scriptures. (John 12:48) If there’s ANY question, believe God’s word for it is tried and proven and is for all eternity. Peter, himself, said:

~1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Our church fathers preached the word of God – they penned the word of God so that we may have it as our ruler – to set us straight in our pilgrim path. Don’t be deceived by church traditions – back up what you believe with God’s word. Paul said it best:

~Galatians 1:9-12 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

No one, nothing, can supercede or even make anything equal to what Christ taught. Christ’s words are final. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end!

Maranatha Devotionals, Good Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

What do you concentrate on when you are by yourself? Do you worry about the stock market? Do you think about how much month will be left at the end of your paycheck? Do you worry about the sickness you have and how you will make it one more day? Do you worry about your children? Whatever it is that you think about when you are alone, will more than likely tell you what kind of lifestyle you are living.

Our lifestyle usually reflects what is in our hearts. What kind of lifestyle do people see you living? Does your faith in Christ reflect in your daily walk? Yes, faith is definitely a lifestyle. (2 Cor. 5:17) Christians are new creatures and their “old” lifestyle is to be done away with. Others can see the difference between the former and the present.

When the storms of life appear, do people witness you fretting or witness you resting in the Father’s care? Or do you “inwardly” run around in circles and wonder if anyone out there cares?

~Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

We are a child of the King, oh Christian! Our Heavenly Father has us in the palm of His hand. (John 10:29) He is quite aware of what we are going through and He never sleeps. (Psalm 121:4) He will catch us when we fall – He will help us when we need it (Hebrews 13:5) – He will carry us when we can’t press on even one more step! I love the poem “Footprints in the Sand”! There have been many times where God has had to carry me – and He did!

(Psalm 37:7a) Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself …

Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

In one of my Bible studies, we were challenged to live out the meaning of these verses, starting at home! As we practice doing good and esteeming those in our home more than ourselves, joy enters our hearts and helps us to take our eyes off the discouraging circumstances around us.

This is wonderful therapy for the dear Christian who is weary. I speak for myself, and surely I cannot be the only one, when I say that the longer my eyes and thoughts are focused on the hardships of my life, the less they are focused on Christ and His ministry of love and reconciliation. Why would an unbeliever want Christ if he observes me in my discouraged state? Why would an unbeliever want my Jesus if he observes me being grumpy to my own family? An unbeliever would want my Jesus if I were displaying the Lord’s qualities.

Yes, it is work to become selfless. It’s not easy esteeming another better than myself! But the word of God tells us to. (Philippians 2:3) My natural man within me wants everything to be about me! But it’s not all about me! It’s ALL about Jesus Christ! If we are Christians, we should have this same selfless heart every day. And, as Paul points out, we should have this generous heart especially toward other believers!

May I challenge you today to stop focusing on your day-to-day circumstances and start focusing on Christ’s purpose for us? Find someone in need and take action, Christian! Those in need are all around us. Every day I hear of someone committing suicide, or their house has burned down – such devastating circumstances! Let’s have an impact by starting in our own family. Then reach out – stretch your arms as Christ would have you to do and touch a heart in need today!

Do one thing every single day that will impact someone’s life – even if it is simply a phone call or card – there is a heart in need of encouraging somewhere!!!

Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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Tumultuous Waves

~Matthew 14:25-32 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

How many times have we been on fire for the Lord and willing to go to any lengths to serve Him?  Then, the minute the turbulent storms of life appear, we take our eyes off the Saviour, and we see our circumstances.  Fear sets in and we begin to sink.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened to Peter had he not looked around to see the storm around him but had focused on Christ instead.  Would Peter and Jesus have walked on the water to the ship to meet up with the others?  Instead, he began to sink and cried out for Jesus to save him.  The Word says that Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught Peter.  Jesus asked him why he had doubted?

What a lesson for me to learn!  As I go through my storms in life, I will feel as though I am sinking and all alone when I take my eyes off Christ and place them on my circumstances.  Thank You, Lord, for giving me the peace that You will immediately stretch forth Your hand and catch me!!  What comfort this brings to me!

Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Psalm 92:5 O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

It is not difficult to notice God’s handiwork as it is all around us! Take a moment to look around today and challenge yourself to see God’s beauty. Give Him the glory and the praise for He is good! All His creation testifies of Him! His creation gives us a tiny glimpse of God’s nature! As we behold His works, we see that God loves color – for look closely at a Painted Bunting and a Cardinal and see the Master’s paintbrush at work!

Painted Bunting and Cardinal

The songs of the Painted Bunting and Cardinal are so melodious! Not only is our God an artist but He also loves sounds! He loves variety as well. For when I walk in the forest, I see thousands of different trees, bushes, plants, flowers and ground coverings. I could sit on this subject for quite some time but I think you probably understand where I am going with this topic!

When you are at a loss for words and feel as though your words during your prayer time, wrap your thoughts around the Father’s creation and you will find plenty to praise Him for!

Good Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Not one person can truly say he has experienced true peace, rest and freedom from life’s burdens until they have been born again and entered into a genuine Father/child relationship with the Heavenly Father. This comes only through salvation.

Do you have this kind of true peace and rest? If not, I challenge you to question the path you are on and read the Gospel of John through three times. Please contact me when you are finished 🙂

No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

Maranatha Devotionals, Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Everyone changes in life. We are not the same person we were 20 years ago. Those closest to us change throughout the years. Those we were able to count on a year ago are not always there today.

However, God never changes. He will never let you down. What He said He would do 20 years ago, He will do today. When His Word gives a promise, you can bank on it!

~Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not;

God is always the same and will continue to be the same – He is not subject to change … EVER! That is why He is referred to as a rock in the Scriptures. A simple search in your Bible software or Concordance will show countless references to God being a rock.

It is comforting to know that our unchanging and unmovable God is in control. The Captain of our ship is ever waiting to take the helm and lead us. Look at your life with an honest heart. Is the path that you are on going in a direction that brings you peace? There is peace even in the midst of a storm with Christ at the helm. The storms of life are still there but He provides inner peace. We know that nothing will happen that He hasn’t already given the go ahead.

Take comfort, Christian. These are tumultuous times and the Word says that we are in for far worse storms in the years to come. But we have the God of comfort at the helm and He will direct our ship!

~Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

~2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Christ did not want us to be like the rest of the world. His ministry was consistently pointing people to their sin and encouraging them to forsake their worldliness. He did not just make a suggestion but also gave us directions as to how to accomplish this task. Renewing of our minds comes as a result of having a new nature.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Our old worldly nature can only become new if we are born into a new nature – if we are born again.

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

~Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s Word lives and abides forever and is what pierces the heart to lead us to salvation. Once we are born again, the Holy Spirit guides us to live righteously and not like the world!

~Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

This isn’t to say that we will be “sinless” but after salvation we will desire to grow and “sin less.” Herein lies the difference between those who are born again and those who are not. The new nature we receive at the time of salvation nudges us, through the Holy Spirit’s leading, toward righteous living. That is why we are different from the world … we do not desire the same things we did prior to our salvation. We are now children of the King, and as any parent guides and teaches his child, so does our Heavenly Father!

~2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Scriptures

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The original preface is quite long and very eye opening. Many King James Bibles today do not have the preface in its entirety, which is a shame 🙁 Please take a moment to read the entire thing. You will be blessed 🙂

The Original Preface To The King James Bible

This section is the opening words from the translators of the King James Bible to the reader. This statement has been left out of modern Bibles because of its content. Certainly any God fearing, Bible believer will find the “To The Reader” helpful to know the purpose of the translators work. It also supplies some explanation for the material within the King James Bible. My prayer is that you will read it carefully and think about what the material presented.

The Translators to the Reader

Preface to the 1611 Authorised Version

The Best Things have been Culminated

Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others, deserves certainly much respect and esteem, but yet finds but cold entertainment in the world. It is welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of thanks: and if there be any hole left for cavil to enter, (and cavil, if it do not find a hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and in danger to be condemned. This will easily be granted by as many as know history, or have any experience. For, was there ever any projected, that savoured any way of newness or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gainsaying, or opposition? A man would think that Civility, wholesome Laws, learning and eloquence, Synods, and Church maintenance, (that we speak of no more things of this kind) should be as safe as a Sanctuary, and out of shot, as they say, that no man would lift up the heel, no, nor dog move his tongue against the motioners of them. For by the first, we are distinguished from brute beasts lead with sensuality; By the second, we are bridled and restrained from outrageous behaviour, and from doing of injuries, whether by fraud or by violence; By the third, we are enabled to inform and reform others, by the light and feeling that we have attained to ourselves; Briefly, by the fourth being brought together to a parley face to face, we sooner compose our differences than by writings which are endless; And lastly, that the Church be sufficiently provided for, is so agreeable to good reason and conscience, that those mothers are holden to be less cruel, that kill their children as soon as they are born, than those nursing fathers and mothers (wheresoever they be) that withdraw from them who hang upon their breasts (and upon whose breasts again themselves do hang to receive the spiritual and sincere milk of the word) livelihood and support fit for their estates. Thus it is apparent, that these things which we speak of, are of most necessary use, and therefore, that none, either without absurdity can speak against them, or without note of wickedness can spurn against them.

Yet for all that, the learned know that certain worthy men (Anacharsis with others) have been brought to untimely death for none other fault, but for seeking to reduce their Countrymen to god order and discipline; and that in some Commonwealths (e.g. Locri) it was made a capital crime, once to motion the making of a new Law for the abrogating of an old, though the same were most pernicious; And that certain (Cato the elder), which would be counted pillars of the State, and patterns of Virtue and Prudence, could not be brought for a long time to give way to good Letters and refined speech, but bare themselves as averse from them, as from rocks or boxes of poison; And fourthly, that he was no babe, but a great clerk (Gregory the Divine), that gave forth (and in writing to remain to posterity) in passion peradventure, but yet he gave forth, that he had not seen any profit to come by any Synod, or meeting of the Clergy, but rather the contrary; And lastly, against Church maintenance and allowance, in such sort, as the Ambassadors and messengers of the great King of Kings should be furnished, it is not unknown what a fiction or fable (so it is esteemed, and for no better by the reporter himself (Nauclerus), though superstitious) was devised; Namely, that at such a time as the professors and teachers of Christianity in the Church of Rome, then a true Church, were liberally endowed, a voice forsooth was heard from heaven, saying: Now is poison poured down into the Church, &c. Thus not only as oft as we speak, as one saith, but also as oft as we do anything of note or consequence, we subject ourselves to everyone’s censure, and happy is he that is least tossed upon tongues; for utterly to escape the snatch of them it is impossible. If any man conceit, that this is the lot and portion of the meaner sort only, and that Princes are privileged by their high estate, he is deceived. “As the sword devours as well one as the other,” as it is in Samuel, nay as the great Commander charged his soldiers in a certain battle, to strike at no part of the enemy, but at the face; And as the King of Syria commanded his chief Captains to “fight neither with small nor great, save only against the King of Israel:” (1Ki 22:31) so it is too true, that Envy strikes most spitefully at the fairest, and at the chiefest. David was a worthy Prince, and no man to be compared to him for his first deeds, and yet for as worthy as act as ever he did (even for bringing back the Ark of God in solemnity) he was scorned and scoffed at by his own wife (2Sa 6:16). Solomon was greater than David, though not in virtue, yet in power: and by his power and wisdom he built a Temple to the Lord, such a one as was the glory of the land of Israel, and the wonder of the whole world. But was that his magnificence liked of by all? We doubt it. Otherwise, why do they lay it in his son’s dish, and call to him for easing the burden, “Make”, say they, “the grievous servitude of thy father, and his sore yoke, lighter?” (1Ki 12:4) Belike he had charged them with some levies, and troubled them with some carriages; Hereupon they raise up a tragedy, and wish in their heart the Temple had never been built. So hard a thing it is to please all, even when we please God best, and do seek to approve ourselves to every ones conscience.

If we will descend to later times, we shall find many the like examples of such kind, or rather unkind acceptance. The first Roman Emperor (C. Caesar. Plutarch) did never do a more pleasing deed to the learned, nor more profitable to posterity, for conserving the record of times in true supputation; than when he corrected the Calendar, and ordered the year according to the course of the Sun; and yet this was imputed to him for novelty, and arrogance, and procured to him great obloquy. So the first Christened Emperor (Constantine) (at the least wise that openly professed the faith himself, and allowed others to do the like) for strengthening the Empire at his great charges, and providing for the Church, as he did, got for his labour the name Pupillus, as who would say, a wasteful Prince, that had need of a Guardian or overseer (Aurel. Victor). So the best Christened Emperor (Theodosius), for the love that he bare to peace, thereby to enrich both himself and his subjects, and because he did not see war but find it, was judged to be no man at arms (Zosimus), (though indeed he excelled in feats of chivalry, and showed so much when he was provoked) and condemned for giving himself to his ease, and to his pleasure. To be short, the most learned Emperor of former times (Justinian), (at the least, the greatest politician) what thanks had he for cutting off the superfluities of the laws, and digesting them into some order and method? This, that he had been blotted by some to be an Epitomist, that is, one that extinguishes worthy whole volumes, to bring his abridgments into request. This is the measure that hath been rendered to excellent Princes in former times, even, Cum bene facerent, male audire, For their good deeds to be evil spoken of. Neither is there any likelihood, that envy and malignity died, and were buried with the ancient. No, no, the reproof of Moses takes hold of most ages; “You are risen up in your fathers’ stead, and increase of sinful men.” (Nu 32:14) “What is that that hath been done? that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the Sun,” saith the wise man: (Ec 1:9) and S. Stephen, “As your fathers did, so do you.” (Ac 7:51)

His Majesty’s Constancy, notwithstanding Culmination, for the Survey of the English Translations

This, and more to this purpose, His Majesty that now reigns (and long, and long may he reign, and his offspring forever, “Himself and children, and children’s always) knew full well, according to the singular wisdom given to him by God, and the rare learning and experience that he hath attained to; namely that whosoever attempts anything for the public (especially if it pertain to Religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God) the same sets himself upon a stage to be gloated upon by every evil eye, yea, he casts himself headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue. For he that meddles with men’s Religion in any part, meddles with their custom, nay, with their freehold; and though they find no content in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering. Notwithstanding his Royal heart was not daunted or discouraged for this that colour, but stood resolute, “as a statue immovable, and an anvil not easy to be beaten into plates,” as one (Suidas) saith; he knew who had chosen him to be a Soldier, or rather a Captain, and being assured that the course which he intended made for the glory of God, and the building up of his Church, he would not suffer it to be broken off for whatsoever speeches or practices. It doth certainly belong to Kings, yea, it doth specially belong to them, to have care of Religion, yea, to know it aright, yea, to profess it zealously, yea to promote it to the uttermost of their power. This is their glory before all nations which mean well, and this will bring to them a far most excellent weight of glory in the day of the Lord Jesus. For the Scripture saith not in vain, “Them that honour me, I will honour,” (#1Sa 2:30) neither was it a vain word that Eusebius delivered long ago, that piety towards God was the weapon and the only weapon, that both preserved Constantine’s person, and avenged him of his enemies (Eusebius lib 10 cap 8 ).

The Praise of the Holy Scriptures

But now what piety without truth? what truth (what saving truth) without the word of God? What word of God (whereof we may be sure) without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to search. (Joh 5:39; Isa 8:20) They are commended that searched and studied them. (Ac 17:11; 8:28,29) They are reproved that were unskilful in them, or slow to believe them. (Mt 22:29; Lu 24:25) They can make us wise unto salvation. (2Ti 3:15) If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Tolle, lege; Tolle, lege, Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures (S. August. confess. lib 8 cap 12), (for to them was the direction) it was said to S. Augustine by a supernatural voice. “Whatsoever is in the Scriptures, believe me,” saith the same S. Augustine, “is high and divine; there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing of men’s minds, and truly so tempered, that everyone may draw from thence that which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with a devout and pious mind, as true Religion requires.” (S. August. de utilit. credendi cap. 6) Thus S. Augustine. and S. Jerome: “Ama scripturas, et amabit te sapientia &c.” (S. Jerome. ad Demetriad) Love the Scriptures, and wisdom will love thee. And S. Cyril against Julian; “Even boys that are bred up in the Scriptures, become most religious, &c.” (S. Cyril. 7 contra Iulianum) But what mention we three or four uses of the Scripture, whereas whatsoever is to be believed or practised, or hoped for, is contained in them? or three or four sentences of the Fathers, since whosoever is worthy the name of a Father, from Christ’s time downward, hath likewise written not only of the riches, but also of the perfection of the Scripture? “I adore the fulness of the Scripture,” saith Tertullian against Hermogenes. (Tertul. advers. Hermo.) And again, to Apelles an heretic of the like stamp, he saith; “I do not admit that which thou bringest in (or concludes) of thine own (head or store, de tuo) without Scripture.” (Tertul. de carne Christi.) So Saint Justin Martyr before him; “We must know by all means,” saith he, “that it is not lawful (or possible) to learn (anything) of God or of right piety, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine inspiration.” So Saint Basil after Tertullian, “It is a manifest falling way from the Faith, and a fault of presumption, either to reject any of those things that are written, or to bring in (upon the head of them) any of those things that are not written. We omit to cite to the same effect, S. Cyril B. of Jerusalem in his 4::Cataches., Saint Jerome against Helvidius, Saint Augustine in his 3::book against the letters of Petilian, and in very many other places of his works. Also we forebear to descend to later Fathers, because we will not weary the reader. The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them, of curiosity, if we be not content with them? Men talk much of (an olive bow wrapped about with wood, whereupon did hang figs, and bread, honey in a pot, and oil), how many sweet and goodly things it had hanging on it; of the Philosopher’s stone, that it turned copper into gold; of Cornucopia, that it had all things necessary for food in it, of Panaces the herb, that it was good for diseases, of Catholicon the drug, that it is instead of all purges; of Vulcan’s armour, that it was an armour of proof against all thrusts, and all blows, &c. Well, that which they falsely or vainly attributed to these things for bodily god, we may justly and with full measure ascribe to the Scripture, for spiritual. It is not only an armour, but also a whole armoury of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal’s meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a Panary of wholesome food, against corrupt traditions; a Physician’s shop (Saint Basil called it) (S. Basil in Psal. primum.) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a Pandect of profitable laws, against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels, against beggarly rudiments; finally a fountain of most pure water springing up to everlasting life. And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the Penmen such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God’s Spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, &c.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delighted in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditates in it day and night.

Translation Necessary

But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, “Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaks, a Barbarian, and he that speaks, shall be a Barbarian to me.” (1Co 14:1-40) The Apostle excepts no tongue; not Hebrew the most ancient, not Greek the most copious, not Latin the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess, that all of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf ear to them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous; (Clem. Alex. 1 Strom.) so the Roman did the Syrian, and the Jew (even S. Jerome himself called the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was strange to so many) (S. Jerome. Damaso.) so the Emperor of Constantinople (Michael, Theophili fil.) calls the Latin tongue, barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do storm at it: (2::Tom. Concil. ex edit. Petri Crab) so the Jews long before Christ called all other nations, Lognazim, which is little better than barbarous. Therefore as one complains, that always in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an interpreter: (Cicero 5::de finibus.) so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readiness. Translation it is that opens the window, to let in the light; that breaks the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that puts aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that removes the cover of the well, that we may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered (Ge 29:10). Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well (which is deep) (Joh 4:11) without a bucket or something to draw with; or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, with this motion, “Read this, I pray thee,” he was fain to make this answer, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” (Isa 29:11)

The Translation of the Old Testament

out of the Hebrew into Greek

While God would be known only in Jacob, and have his Name great in Israel, and in none other place, while the dew lay on Gideon’s fleece only, and all the earth besides was dry; then for one and the same people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrew, one and the same original in Hebrew was sufficient. (S. August. lib 12 contra Faust c. 32) But, when the fulness of time drew near, that the Sun of righteousness, the Son of God should come into the world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood, not of the Jew only, but also of the Greek, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for descent and language) even of Ptolemy Philadelph King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the Seventy Interpreters, commonly so called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jews by vocal. For the Grecians being desirous of learning, were not wont to suffer books of worth to lie moulding in Kings’ libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copy them out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Again, the Greek tongue was well known and made familiar to most inhabitants in Asia, by reason of the conquest that there the Grecians had made, as also by the Colonies, which thither they had sent. For the same causes also it was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Africa too. Therefore the word of God being set forth in Greek, becomes hereby like a candle set upon a candlestick, which gives light to all that are in the house, or like a proclamation sounded forth in the market place, which most men presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fittest to contain the Scriptures, both for the first Preachers of the Gospel to appeal to for witness, and for the learners also of those times to make search and trial by. It is certain, that that Translation was not so sound and so perfect, but it needed in many places correction; and who had been so sufficient for this work as the Apostles or Apostolic men? Yet it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to them, to take that which they found, (the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient) rather than making a new, in that new world and green age of the Church, to expose themselves to many exceptions and cavillations, as though they made a Translations to serve their own turn, and therefore bearing a witness to themselves, their witness not to be regarded. This may be supposed to be some cause, why the Translation of the Seventy was allowed to pass for current. Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jews. For not long after Christ, Aquila fell in hand with a new Translation, and after him Theodotion, and after him Symmachus; yea, there was a fifth and a sixth edition, the Authors whereof were not known. (Epiphan. de mensur. et ponderibus.) These with the Seventy made up the Hexapla and were worthily and to great purpose compiled together by Origen. Howbeit the Edition of the Seventy went away with the credit, and therefore not only was placed in the midst by Origen (for the worth and excellency thereof above the rest, as Epiphanius gathered) but also was used by the Greek fathers for the ground and foundation of their Commentaries. Yea, Epiphanius above named does attribute so much to it, that he holds the Authors thereof not only for Interpreters, but also for Prophets in some respect (S. August. 2::de dectrin. Christian c. 15); and Justinian the Emperor enjoining the Jews his subjects to use especially the Translation of the Seventy, renders this reason thereof, because they were as it were enlightened with prophetical grace. Yet for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophet to be men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit (Isa 31:3); so it is evident, (and Saint Jerome affirms as much) (S. Jerome. de optimo genere interpret.) that the Seventy were Interpreters, they were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through oversight, another while through ignorance, yea, sometimes they may be noted to add to the Original, and sometimes to take from it; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of the word, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greek Translations of the Old Testament.

Translation out of Hebrew and Greek into Latin

There were also within a few hundred years after CHRIST, translations many into the Latin tongue: for this tongue also was very fit to convey the Law and the Gospel by, because in those times very many Countries of the West, yea of the South, East and North, spake or understood Latin, being made Provinces to the Romans. But now the Latin Translations were too many to be all good, for they were infinite (“Latini Interpretes nullo modo numerari possunt”, saith S. Augustine.) (S. Augustin. de doctr. Christ. lib 2 cap II). Again they were not out of the Hebrew fountain (we speak of the Latin Translations of the Old Testament) but out of the Greek stream, therefore the Greek being not altogether clear, the Latin derived from it must needs be muddy. This moved S. Jerome a most learned father, and the best linguist without controversy, of his age, or of any that went before him, to undertake the translating of the Old Testament, out of the very fountain with that evidence of great learning, judgment, industry, and faithfulness, that he had forever bound the Church to him, in a debt of special remembrance and thankfulness.

The Translation of the Scripture into the Vulgar Tongues (vulgar means common)

Now through the Church were thus furnished with Greek and Latin Translations, even before the faith of CHRIST was generally embraced in the Empire; (for the learned know that even in S. Jerome’s time, the Consul of Rome and his wife were both Ethnics, and about the same time the greatest part of the Senate also) (S. Jerome. Marcell.Zosim) yet for all that the godly learned were not content to have the Scriptures in the Language which they themselves understood, Greek and Latin, (as the good Lepers were not content to fare well themselves, but acquainted their neighbours with the store that God had sent, that they also might provide for themselves) (2Ki 7:9) but also for the behoof and edifying of the unlearned which hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and had souls to be saved as well as they, they provided Translations into the vulgar for their Countrymen, insomuch that most nations under heaven did shortly after their conversion, hear CHRIST speaking to them in their mother tongue, not by the voice of their Minister only, but also by the written word translated. If any doubt hereof, he may be satisfied by examples enough, if enough will serve the turn. First S. Jerome saith, “Multarum gentium linguis Scriptura ante translata, docet falsa esse quae addita sunt”, &c. i.e. “The Scripture being translated before in the languages of many Nations, doth show that those things that were added (by Lucian and Hesychius) are false.” (S. Jerome. praef. in 4::Evangel.) So S. Jerome in that place. The same Jerome elsewhere affirms that he, the time was, had set forth the translation of the Seventy “suae linguae hominibus”, i.e., for his countrymen of Dalmatia (S. Jerome. Sophronio.) Which words not only Erasmus doth understand to purport, that S. Jerome translated the Scripture into the Dalmatian tongue, but also Sixtus Senensis (Six. Sen. lib 4), and Alphonsus à Castro (Alphon. lb 1 ca 23) (that we speak of no more) men not to be excepted against by them of Rome, do ingenuously confess as much. So, S. Chrysostom that lived in S. Jerome’s time, gives evidence with him: “The doctrine of S. John (saith he) did not in such sort (as the Philosophers’ did) vanish away: but the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and infinite other nations being barbarous people translated it into their (mother) tongue, and have learned to be (true) Philosophers,” he means Christians. (S. Chrysost. in Johan. cap.I. hom.I.) To this may be added Theodoret, as next to him, both for antiquity, and for learning. His words be these, “Every Country that is under the Sun, is full of these words (of the Apostles and Prophets) and the Hebrew tongue (he means the Scriptures in the Hebrew tongue) is turned not only into the Language of the Grecians, but also of the Romans, and Egyptians, and Persians, and Indians, and Armenians, and Scythians, and Sauromatians, and briefly into all the Languages that any Nation uses. (Theodor. 5. Therapeut.) So he. In like manner, Ulfilas is reported by Paulus Diaconus and Isidor (and before them by Sozomen) to have translated the Scriptures into the Gothic tongue: (P. Diacon. li. 12.) John Bishop of Sevil by Vasseus, to have turned them into Arabic, about the year of our Lord 717; (Vaseus in Chron. Hispan.) Bede by Cistertiensis, to have turned a great part of them into Saxon: Efnard by Trithemius, to have abridged the French Psalter, as Beded had done the Hebrew, about the year 800: King Alfred by the said Cistertiensis, to have turned the Psalter into Saxon: (Polydor. Virg. 5 histor.) Methodius by Aventinus (printed at Ingolstadt) to have turned the Scriptures into Slavonian: (Aventin. lib. 4.) Valdo, Bishop of Frising by Beatus Rhenanus, to have caused about that time, the Gospels to be translated into Dutch rhythm, yet extant in the Library of Corbinian: (Circa annum 900. B. Rhenan. rerum German. lib 2.) Valdus, by divers to have turned them himself into French, about the year 1160: Charles the Fifth of that name, surnamed the Wise, to have caused them to be turned into French, about 200 years after Valdus his time, of which translation there be many copies yet extant, as witnesses Beroaldus. Much about that time, even in our King Richard the second’s days, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen with divers, translated as it is very probable, in that age. So the Syrian translation of the New Testament is in most learned men’s Libraries, of Widminstadius his setting forth, and the Psalter in Arabic is with many, of Augustinus Nebiensis’ setting forth. So Postel affirms, that in his travel he saw the Gospels in the Ethiopian tongue; And Ambrose Thesius alleges the Psalter of the Indians, which he testifies to have been set forth by Potken in Syrian characters. So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, either by the Lord Cromwell in England, (Thuan.) or by the Lord Radevile in Polony, or by the Lord Ungnadius in the Emperor’s dominion, but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to say with the words of the Psalms, “As we have heard, so we have seen.” (Ps 48:8 )

The Unwillingness of our Chief Adversaries,

that the Scriptures should be divulged

Now the Church of Rome would seem at the length to bear a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called a gift, an unprofitable gift: (Sophecles) they must first get a licence in writing before they may use them, and to get that, they must approve themselves to their Confessor, that is, to be such as are, if not frozen in the dregs, yet soured with the leaven of their superstition. Howbeit, it seemed too much to Clement the Eighth that there should be any Licence granted to have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overrules and frustrates the grant of Pius the Fourth. (See the observation (set forth by Clemen. his authority) upon the 4. rule of Pius the 4. his making in the index, lib. prohib. pag. 15. ver. 5.) So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture, (“Lucifugae Scripturarum”, as Tertulian speaks) that they will not trust the people with it, no not as it is set forth by their own sworn men, no not with the Licence of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the people’s understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confess, that we forced them to translate it into English against their wills. This seems to argue a bad cause, or a bad conscience, or both. Sure we are, that it is not he that hath good gold, that is afraid to bring it to the touchstone, but he that hath the counterfeit; (Tertul. de resur. carnis.) neither is it the true man that shuns the light, but the malefactor, lest his deeds should be reproved (Joh 3:20): neither is it the plain dealing Merchant that is unwilling to have the weights, or the meteyard brought in place, but he that uses deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and return to translation.

The Speeches and Reasons, both of our Breathern,

and of our Adversaries against this Work

Many men’s mouths have been open a good while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the Translation so long in hand, or rather perusals of Translations made before: and ask what may be the reason, what the necessity of the employment: Hath the Church been deceived, say they, all this while? Hath her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, here silver with dross, her wine with water, her milk with lime? (“Lacte gypsum male miscetur”, saith S. Ireney,) (S. Iren. 3. lib. cap. 19.) We hoped that we had been in the right way, that we had the Oracles of God delivered to us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended and to complain, yet that we had none. Hath the nurse holden out the breast, and nothing but wind in it? Hath the bread been delivered by the fathers of the Church, and the same proved to be lapidosus, as Seneca speaks? What is it to handle the word of God deceitfully, if this be not? Thus certain brethren. Also the adversaries of Judah and Jerusalem, like Sanballat in Nehemiah, mock, as we hear, both the work and the workmen, saying; “What do these weak Jews, &c. will they make the stones whole again out of the heaps of dust which are burnt? although they build, yet if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stony wall.” (Ne 4:3) Was their Translation good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it obtruded to the people? Yea, why did the Catholics (meaning Popish Romanists) always go in jeopardy, for refusing to go to hear it? Nay, if it must be translated into English, Catholics are fittest to do it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well, they can “manum de tabula.” We will answer them both briefly: and the former, being brethren, thus, with S. Jerome, “Damnamus veteres? Mineme, sed post priorum studia in domo Domini quod possums laboramus.” (S. Jerome. Apolog. advers. Ruffin.) That is, “Do we condemn the ancient? In no case: but after the endeavours of them that were before us, we take the best pains we can in the house of God.” As if he said, Being provoked by the example of the learned men that lived before my time, I have thought it my duty, to assay whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues, may be profitable in any measure to God’s Church, lest I should seem to laboured in them in vain, and lest I should be thought to glory in men, (although ancient,) above that which was in them. Thus S. Jerome may be thought to speak.

A Satisfaction to our Brethren

And to the same effect say we, that we are so far off from condemning any of their labours that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry’s time, or King Edward’s (if there were any translation, or correction of a translation in his time) or Queen Elizabeth’s of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance. The judgment of Aristotle is worthy and well known: “If Timotheus had not been, we had not had much sweet music; but if Phrynis (Timotheus his master) had not been, we had not had Timotheus.” Therefore blessed be they, and most honoured be their name, that break the ice, and gives onset upon that which helps forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more available thereto, than to deliver God’s book to God’s people in a tongue which they understand? Since of a hidden treasure, and of a fountain that is sealed, there is no profit, as Ptolemy Philadelph wrote to the Rabbins or masters of the Jews, as witnesses Epiphanius: (S. Epiphan. loco ante citato.) and as S. Augustine saith; “A man had rather be with his dog than with a stranger (whose tongue is strange to him).” (S. Augustin. lib. 19. de civil. Dei. c. 7.) Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours, do endeavour to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to dislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us. The vintage of Abienzer, that strake the stroke: yet the gleaning of grapes of Ephraim was not to be despised. See (#Jud 8:2). Joash the king of Israel did not satisfy himself, till he had smitten the ground three times; and yet he offended the Prophet, for giving over then. (#2Ki 13:18-19) Aquila, of whom we spake before, translated the Bible as carefully, and as skilfully as he could; and yet he thought good to go over it again, and then it got the credit with the Jews, to be called accurately done, as Saint Jerome witnesses. (S. Jerome. in Ezech. cap. 3.) How many books of profane learning have been gone over again and again, by the same translators, by others? Of one and the same book of Aristotle’s Ethics, there are extant not so few as six or seven several translations. Now if this cost may be bestowed upon the gourd, which affords us a little shade, and which today flourishs, but tomorrow is cut down; what may we bestow, nay what ought we not to bestow upon the Vine, the fruit whereof makes glad the conscience of man, and the stem whereof abides forever? And this is the word of God, which we translate. “What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord?” (Jer 23:28 ) “Tanti vitreum, quanti verum margaritum” (saith Tertullian,) (Tertul. ad Martyr.) if a toy of glass be of that reckoning with us, how ought we to value the true pearl? (Jerome. ad Salvin.) Therefore let no man’s eye be evil, because his Majesty’s is good; neither let any be grieved, that we have a Prince that seeks the increase of the spiritual wealth of Israel (let Sanballats and Tobiahs do so, which therefore do bear their just reproof) but let us rather bless God from the ground of our heart, for working this religious care in him, to have the translations of the Bible maturely considered of and examined. For by this means it comes to pass, that whatsoever is sound already (and all is sound for substance, in one or other of our editions, and the worst of ours far better than their authentic vulgar) the same will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished; also, if anything be halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected, and the truth set in place. And what can the King command to be done, that will bring him more true honour than this? and wherein could they that have been set a work, approve their duty to the King, yea their obedience to God, and love to his Saints more, than by yielding their service, and all that is within them, for the furnishing of the work? But besides all this, they were the principal motives of it, and therefore ought least to quarrel it: for the very Historical truth is, that upon the importunate petitions of the Puritans, at his Majesty’s coming to this Crown, the Conference at Hampton Court having been appointed for hearing their complaints: when by force of reason they were put from other grounds, they had recourse at the last, to this shift, that they could not with good conscience subscribe to the Communion book, since it maintained the Bible as it was there translated, which was as they said, a most corrupted translation. And although this was judged to be but a very poor and empty shift; yet even hereupon did his Majesty begin to bethink himself of the good that might ensue by a new translation, and presently after gave order for this Translation which is now presented to thee. Thus much to satisfy our scrupulous Brethren.

An Answer to the Imputations of our Adversaries

Now to the latter we answer; that we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession, (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) contains the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King’s speech, which he utters in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere. For it is confessed, that things are to take their denomination of the greater part; and a natural man could say, Verum ubi multa nitent in carmine, non ego paucis offendor maculis, &c. (horace.) A man may be counted a virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life, (else, there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all) (Jas 3:2) also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but also scars. No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it. For whatever was perfect under the Sun, where Apostles or Apostolic men, that is, men endued with an extraordinary measure of God’s Spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand? The Romanists therefore in refusing to hear, and daring to burn the Word translated, did no less than despite the Spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as man’s weakness would enable, it did express. Judge by an example or two. Plutarch writes, that after that Rome had been burnt by the Gauls, they fell soon to build it again: but doing it in haste, they did not cast the streets, nor proportion the houses in such comely fashion, as had been most slightly and convenient; (Plutarch in Camillo.) was Catiline therefore an honest man, or a good patriot, that sought to bring it to a combustion? or Nero a good Prince, that did indeed set it on fire? So, by the story of Ezra, and the prophecy of Haggai it may be gathered, that the Temple built by Zerubbabel after the return from Babylon, was by no means to be compared to the former built by Solomon (for they that remembered the former, wept when they considered the latter) (Ezr 3:12) notwithstanding, might this latter either have been abhorred and forsaken by the Jews, or profaned by the Greeks? The like we are to think of Translations. The translation of the Seventy dissents from the Original in many places, neither doth it come near it, for perspicuity, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Jerome and most learned men do confess) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy of the appellation and name of the word of God. And whereas they urge for their second defence of their vilifying and abusing of the English Bibles, or some pieces thereof, which they meet with, for that heretics (forsooth) were the Authors of the translations, (heretics they call us by the same right that they call themselves Catholics, both being wrong) we marvel what divinity taught them so. We are sure Tertullian was of another mind: “Ex personis probamus fidem, an ex fide personas?” (Tertul. de praescript. contra haereses.) Do we try men’s faith by their persons? we should try their persons by their faith. Also S. Augustine was of another mind: for he lighting upon certain rules made by Tychonius a Donatist, for the better understanding of the word, was not ashamed to make use of them, yea, to insert them into his own book, with giving commendation to them so far forth as they were worthy to be commended, as is to be seen in S. Augustine’s third book De doctrina Christiana. (S. August. 3. de doct. Christ. cap. 30.) To be short, Origen, and the whole Church of God for certain hundred years, were of another mind: for they were so far from treading under foot, (much more from burning) the Translation of Aquila a Proselyte, that is, one that had turned Jew; of Symmachus, and Theodotion, both Ebionites, that is, most vile heretics, that they joined together with the hebrew Original, and the Translation of the Seventy (as hath been before signified out of Epiphanius) and set them forth openly to be considered of and perused by all. But we weary the unlearned, who need not know so much, and trouble the learned, who know it already.

Yet before we end, we must answer a third cavil and objection of theirs against us, for altering and amending our Translations so oft; wherein truly they deal hardly, and strangely with us. For to whomever was it imputed for a fault (by such as were wise) to go over that which he had done, and to amend it where he saw cause? Saint Augustine was not afraid to exhort S. Jerome to a Palinodia or recantation; (S. Aug. Epist. 9.) and doth even glory that he sees his infirmities. (S. Aug. Epist. 8.) If we be sons of the Truth, we must consider what it speaks, and trample upon our own credit, yea, and upon other men’s too, if either be any way an hindrance to it. This to the cause: then to the persons we say, that of all men they ought to be most silent in this case. For what varieties have they, and what alterations have they made, not only of their Service books, Portesses and Breviaries, but also of their Latin Translation? The Service book supposed to be made by S. Ambrose (Officium Ambrosianum) was a great while in special use and request; but Pope hadrian calling a Council with the aid of Charles the Emperor, abolished it, yea, burnt it, and commanded the Service book of Saint Gregory universally to be used. (Durand. lib. 5. cap. 2.) Well, Officium Gregorianum gets by this means to be in credit, but doth it continue without change or altering? No, the very Roman Service was of two fashions, the New fashion, and the Old, (the one used in one Church, the other in another) as is to be seen in Pamelius a Romanist, his Preface, before Micrologus. The same Pamelius reports out Radulphus de Rivo, that about the year of our Lord, 1277, Pope Nicolas the Third removed out of the Churches of Rome, the more ancient books (of Service) and brought into use the Missals of the Friers Minorites, and commanded them to be observed there; in so much that about an hundred years after, when the above name Radulphus happened to be at Rome, he found all the books to be new, (of the new stamp). Neither were there this chopping and changing in the more ancient times only, but also of late: Pius Quintus himself confesses, that every Bishopric almost had a peculiar kind of service, most unlike to that which others had: which moved him to abolish all other Breviaries, though never so ancient, and privileged and published by Bishops in their Dioceses, and to establish and ratify that only which was of his own setting forth, in the year 1568. Now when the father of their Church, who gladly would heal the sore of the daughter of his people softly and slightly, and make the best of it, finds so great fault with them for their odds and jarring; we hope the children have no great cause to vaunt of their uniformity. But the difference that appears between our Translations, and our often correcting of them, is the thing that we are specially charged with; let us see therefore whether they themselves be without fault this way, (if it be to be counted a fault, to correct) and whether they be fit men to throw stones at us: O tandem maior parcas insane minori: they that are less sound themselves, out not to object infirmities to others. (horat.) If we should tell them that Valla, Stapulensis, Erasmus, and Vives found fault with their vulgar Translation, and consequently wished the same to be mended, or a new one to be made, they would answer peradventure, that we produced their enemies for witnesses against them; albeit, they were in no other sort enemies, than as S. Paul was to the Galatians, for telling them the truth (Ga 4:16): and it were to be wished, that they had dared to tell it them more plainly and often. But what will they say to this, that Pope Leo the Tenth allowed Erasmus’ Translation of the New Testament, so much different from the vulgar, by his Apostolic Letter and Bull; that the same Leo exhorted Pagnine to translate the whole Bible, and bare whatsoever charges was necessary for the work? (Sixtus Senens.) Surely, as the Apostle reasons to the Hebrews, that if the former Law and Testament had been sufficient, there had been no need of the latter: (Heb 7:11 8:7) so we may say, that if the old vulgar had been at all points allowable, to small purpose had labour and charges been undergone, about framing of a new. If they say, it was one Pope’s private opinion, and that he consulted only himself; then we are able to go further with them, and to aver, that more of their chief men of all sorts, even their own Trent champions Paiva and Vega, and their own Inquisitors, hieronymus ab Oleastro, and their own Bishop Isidorus Clarius, and their own Cardinal Thomas a Vio Caietan, do either make new Translations themselves, or follow new ones of other men’s making, or note the vulgar Interpreter for halting; none of them fear to dissent from him, nor yet to except against him. And call they this an uniform tenor of text and judgment about the text, so many of their Worthies disclaiming the now received conceit? Nay, we will yet come nearer the quick: doth not their Paris edition differ from the Lovaine, and Hentenius his from them both, and yet all of them allowed by authority? Nay, doth not Sixtus Quintus confess, that certain Catholics (he means certain of his own side) were in such an humour of translating the Scriptures into Latin, that Satan taking occasion by them, though they thought of no such matter, did strive what he could, out of so uncertain and manifold a variety of Translations, so to mingle all things, that nothing might seem to be left certain and firm in them, &c.? (Sixtus 5. praefat. fixa Bibliis.) Nay, further, did not the same Sixtus ordain by an inviolable decree, and that with the counsel and consent of his Cardinals, that the Latin edition of the old and new Testament, which the Council of Trent would have to be authentic, is the same without controversy which he then set forth, being diligently corrected and printed in the Printing House of Vatican? Thus Sixtus in his Preface before his Bible. And yet Clement the Eighth his immediate successor, published another edition of the Bible, containing in it infinite differences from that of Sixtus, (and many of them weighty and material) and yet this must be authentic by all means. What is to have the faith of our glorious Lord JESUS CHRIST with Yea or Nay, if this be not? Again, what is sweet harmony and consent, if this be? Therefore, as Demaratus of Corinth advised a great King, before he talked of the dissensions of the Grecians, to compose his domestic broils (for at that time his Queen and his son and heir were at deadly feud with him) so all the while that our adversaries do make so many and so various editions themselves, and do jar so much about the worth and authority of them, they can with no show of equity challenge us for changing and correcting.

Reasons Inducing us not to stand Curiously upon an Identity of Phrasing

An other things we think good to admonish thee of (gentle Reader) that we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned men somewhere, have been as exact as they could that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified that same in both places (for there be some words that be not the same sense everywhere) we were especially careful, and made a conscience, according to our duty. But, that we should express the same notion in the same particular word; as for example, if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once by PURPOSE, never to call it INTENT; if one where JOURNEYING, never TRAVELLING; if one where THINK, never SUPPOSE; if one where PAIN, never ACHE; if one where JOY, never GLADNESS, &c. Thus to mince the matter, we thought to savour more of curiosity than wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the Atheist, than bring profit to the godly Reader. For is the kingdom of God to become words or syllables? why should we be in bondage to them if we may be free, use one precisely when we may use another no less fit, as commodiously? A godly Father in the Primitive time showed himself greatly moved, that one of newfangledness called krabbaton skimpouV (Niceph. Calist. lib.8. cap.42.) though the difference be little or none; and another reports that he was much abused for turning “Cucurbita” (to which reading the people had been used) into “hedera”. (S. Jerome in 4. Ionae. See S. Aug: epist. 10.) Now if this happens in better times, and upon so small occasions, we might justly fear hard censure, if generally we should make verbal and unnecessary changings. We might also be charged (by scoffers) with some unequal dealing towards a great number of good English words. For as it is written of a certain great Philosopher, that he should say , that those logs were happy that were made images to be worshipped; for their fellows, as good as they, lay for blocks behind the fire: so if we should say, as it were, to certain words, Stand up higher, have a place in the Bible always, and to others of like quality, Get ye hence, be banished forever, we might be taxed peradventure with S. James his words, namely, “To be partial in ourselves and judges of evil thoughts.” Add hereto, that niceness in words was always counted the next step to trifling, and so was to be curious about names too: also that we cannot follow a better pattern for elocution than God himself; therefore he using divers words, in his holy writ, and indifferently for one thing in nature: (see Euseb. li. 12. ex Platon.) we, if we will not be superstitious, may use the same liberty in our English versions out of Hebrew and Greek, for that copy or store that he hath given us. Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to other, as when they put WASHING for BAPTISM, and CONGREGATION instead of CHURCH: as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their AZIMES, TUNIKE, RATIONAL, HOLOCAUSTS, PRAEPUCE, PASCHE, and a number of such like, whereof their late Translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may be kept from being understood. But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar.

Many other things we might give thee warning of (gentle Reader) if we had not exceeded the measure of a Preface already. It remains, that we commend thee to God, and to the Spirit of his grace, which is able to build further than we can ask or think. He removes the scales from our eyes, the vail from our hearts, opening our wits that we may understand his word, enlarging our hearts, yea correcting our affections, that we may love it to the end. Ye are brought to fountains of living water which ye digged not; do not cast earth into them with the Philistines, neither prefer broken pits before them with the wicked Jews. (Ge 26:15; Jer 2:13) Others have laboured, and you may enter into their labours; O receive not so great things in vain, O despise not so great salvation! Be not like swine to tread under foot so precious things, neither yet like dogs to tear and abuse holy things. Say not to our Saviour with the Gergesites, “Depart out of our coast” (Mt 8:34); neither yet with Esau sell your birthright for a mess of pottage (Heb 12:16). If light be come into the world, love not darkness more than light; if food, if clothing be offered, go not naked, starve not yourselves. Remember the advice of Nazianzene, “It is a grievous thing” (or dangerous) “to neglect a great fair, and to seek to make markets afterwards:” also the encouragement of S. Chrysostom, “It is altogether impossible, that he that is sober” (and watchful) “should at any time be neglected:” (S. Chrysost. in epist. ad Rom. cap. 14. oral. 26.) Lastly, the admonition and menacing of S. Augustine, “They that despise God’s will inviting them, shall feel God’s will taking vengeance of them.” (S. August. ad artic. sibi falso object. Artic. 16.) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; (Heb 10:31) but a blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the end, when God speaks to us, to hearken; when he sets his word before us, to read it; when he stretches out his hand and calls, to answer, “here am I, here we are to do thy will, O God.” The Lord work a care and conscience in us to know him and serve him, that we may be acknowledged of him at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Holy Ghost, be all praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

Maranatha Devotionals, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

When the Christian is in the middle of a crisis, as Job was, he must ask himself this question:

Am I where I should be in my walk with God?

There’s no sense asking this question if the believer is living his life in rebellion and does not want to know the answer. The Christian who truly wants to know will seek God’s face and will search His Word to find out the answers.  (II Timothy 2:15)

The Lord spoke and said that the fear of God is wisdom and departing from evil is understanding.  (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 15:33) When a believer rightly fears God and has a moral reverence for God, he will desire the things of God – and the one who does not fear God won’t desire the things of God. (Job 13:3, Galatians 4:9) The one who desires to walk more closely with God will have the need to be in the Word, studying and learning, and applying it to his spiritual walk. The results produce a Christian who receives understanding from His God.

Are there areas in your life where you do not acknowledge God’s words?  Do you pick and choose what you will obey? To obey only in certain areas is quenching the Holy Spirit’s work in your spiritual life. (I Thessalonians 5:19) Are you in the midst of a trial and it is due to neglecting God’s Word and His instruction? You will not receive wisdom and understanding if you are in direction contradiction to what God is saying and the word of God says that is rebellion. (Nehemiah 9:17, Proverbs 17:11)  Repent of this rebellion and fix your eyes on God’s word. Let His Holy Spirit instruct you in the way you should go. (Psalm 119:105)

Seeing your God with the reverential awe He deserves will humble you and will open your heart to His instruction. Departing from known sin is a start. You know in your heart when you have sinned – admit that and turn away from it. It is then that you will receive that wisdom and understanding.

Maranatha Devotionals, Good Reading, Inspirational Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

It is not a natural thing for us to obey this verse. Our first reaction is to “get even”! But to the born-again believer with a new nature, it should be our first reaction.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Our old nature that desires to sin, to bicker, etc. is the same nature that thinks we are right and everyone else is wrong. This same old nature is not willing to be taught that it is better to be at peace.  (Psalm 119:165) However, the new nature given to us at salvation does not need to yield itself to the reactions of the “old man.”

Granted, Paul’s letter to the Romans is talking about being persecuted for the faith. Remember Nero and how he persecuted the early Christians and many were martyred for their faith? We are not at that point in these United States … yet. But that time is coming! [Side note: I read in the news that a street preacher was being cursed by a Muslim for preaching about Christ and against the sin of sodomy.] The persecutions of faith that we see from day-to-day is that of family and friends who disagree with our relationship with Christ. They are religious but they do not have that relationship and, thus, do not understand why we are excited about our faith. (Luke 12:53)

It is in these persecutions that we must remember with what we are dealing. They need Christ – they need salvation (John 3:16) – they need to hear the blessed Gospel of mercy! (Ephesians 2:4)  How can they hear it if we are at odds with them? Can our boldness lead them in the opposite direction?  Must we point out their sin with hatred in our voices? Instead of approaching our family with a defensive attitude, how about showing them the Scriptures and letting the Holy Spirit of God do the convicting? Sometimes in our boldness we are passing judgment – we know we have reached that point when we get angry, rather than desiring to share the blessed Gospel with love for their lost souls. (Matthew 7:3) It is not for us to judge but for God and God alone.

~Psalm 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

Therefore, it is up to us to show Christ to our family and friends. Yes, Christ was not hesitant in pointing sin. But no where in Scriptures have I read where Christ put His finger in sinners’ faces and yelled at them. The only time I read about Him displaying anger was when he cleansed the temple. (Matthew 21:12-13) We need to remember that once we were as our lost family members and friends. In fact, we still sin. With this merciful approach, we can keep the doors of communication open. It is God’s holy word that will do the convicting, just as it did for us, amen?

When we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us, He will place someone in our path that He wishes for us to speak to. When that opportunity presents itself, the Holy Spirit will prepare the heart of that person to hear what He would have you to say. When a heart is ready to hear the blessed Gospel, our words filled with mercy and grace will point them to the Cross and the Holy Spirit will be able to do His job!

Maranatha Devotionals, Scriptures, Devotionals

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~Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

What is in our hearts will most assuredly come out of our mouths. Both Matthew and Luke recorded these words from Christ. If we are honest with ourselves, we will agree with this.

If our hearts are not centered around Christ and the things of Christ, our mouths will reflect it. When you are in the presence of someone who “practices what they preach” when it comes to Christianity, you know that they have “something” different because they walk the walk.

The same is true when you are in the presence of someone who could care less about the things of God. Their mouths are filthy and their lives reflect their heart.

But what about the one who goes to church faithfully and tries to be a good person? He appears religious on the outside but what happens when he is alone where no one sees him? The Pharisees were like this and Jesus called them hypocrites.

~Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

God looks on the heart. Just because you “act” religious does not mean that you have a relationship with God.

~1 Samuel 16:7b …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

God sees everything – nothing is hid from Him. God told Jeremiah:

~Jeremiah 16:17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.

So dear reader, if you are born again, live like you are and don’t keep your light where the world cannot see it. To the one who is not born again, take a moment and be honest with yourself!

Maranatha Devotionals, Good Reading, Scriptures, Devotionals

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Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ, our Rock and Saviour, seven times! Seven is God’s perfect number. It excites me to see that He would refer to the Rock (proper noun) seven times – the perfect Rock – the perfect plan of salvation – the perfect Saviour!

~Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

~Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

~Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

~Deuteronomy 32:30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

~Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

~2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

~1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Word describes the Rock’s attributes to us. The final verse in the New Testament tells us just who that Rock is: Jesus Christ!

(1) Rock = Works are perfect, ways are judgments, God of truth, God without sin, God is just and right
(2) Rock = Salvation
(3) Rock = Creator of man
(4) Rock = Does not forsake us
(5) Rock = Not the god of this world, but the one and only!
(6) Rock = God of Israel and Christians
(7) Rock = Jesus Christ

No other “religion” on earth can describe their god to such perfection through perfect scriptures as Christians can. Our Rock is God. Our Rock left His throne to take on flesh. Our Rock never sinned so He could be the perfect Lamb. Our Rock shed His blood so He could pay the ransom for our sin. Our Rock arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Our Rock awaits His return to reign over this earth.

~Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Our Rock is Wonderful! Our Rock is our Counsellor! Our Rock is the mighty God and everlasting Father. Our Rock is the Prince of Peace! Glory be to God in the highest!!

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies, Catholicism, Scriptures

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I hope you can see this photo clearly.  I took this of the beautiful California Redwoods.  Can you see the two vertical trees that have grown from the horizontal branches of this Redwood?  Isn’t that magnificent?  They are all part of the same tree!  I was simply amazed and in awe of the Lord’s handiwork.  In all of creation, there is an object lesson.  This particular picture brought today’s post to mind.

~1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

~Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

~1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

~1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

Who does one follow when it comes to the things of God?  Does one follow church leaders?  Does one follow the Bible?  What if the Bible says one thing and the church leaders say another? What does one do?

Some churches say that their church’s traditions and church fathers’ writings are additions to the word of God and more recent. Therefore, they must follow these traditions. Some believe that God’s word is the foundation only and traditions and church fathers’ writings are building blocks which must be obeyed. Hmmmm! That ought to be a red flag! (Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18)

Paul wrote several times in today’s text that we should follow God – and if we follow a church leader, that church leader must be following God and what His word commands.  In other words, we should not be following after a leader who goes against the scriptures.  The scriptures are our measuring stick.  If our church leaders say one thing and the Bible says another, we are to follow the scriptures.  Paul had the opportunity here to tell us to follow leadership even when they are wrong or even when they make up doctrine that goes against Scriptures.  However, Paul emphatically stated that we are to follow after leaders who follow after God – and God reveals His will in His word! Many churches are extremely against following the scriptures only. (Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 22:29, Hebrews 3:10)

Read these verses and ask yourself if the church you attend falls under these guidelines.  There are fundamental beliefs in Scriptures that cannot be compromised – salvation is one of them.  What does your church leader teach about salvation?  Read your Bible – compare the two.  If there is any difference, your church leaders are not heeding Paul’s exhortation.

Maranatha Devotionals, Salvation, Scriptures

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~Psalm 10:13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.

There is a price to pay for sin. Sometimes the cost is right here on earth. For example, smoking has been proven to cause cancer and many other illnesses. Continuing to smoke is no better than a rebellious child sticking his tongue out when he doesn’t want to do something! The cost for smoking occurs right here during the smoker’s lifetime, some sooner than later. But there is a cost in the end.

Many do not see where they are heading. They just keep walking down the same dangerous path to destruction.

~Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Some continue on their destructive path not caring of the consequences. Others don’t care because they don’t believe in God and, therefore, do not fear repercussion. How foolish!

Ps 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

This fool says he would rather sin, have fun and go to Hell than to go to Heaven. This fool only thinks for the moment and lives for a moment’s pleasure. He does not dwell on the future or the permanence of eternity – just the here and now. How sad!

I would rather be born again and look forward eternity in Heaven than to take a chance and live like the devil and spend eternity in a burning lake of fire. I merely have to think back on a burn on my hand from a hot iron, the pain I suffered and I know that the latter is not where I want to be.

God will require a payment for man’s sins!  Yes, He is a loving God but He is also a righteous God who will bring judgment.  The man who does not want to accept God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ will stand before Him one day and give an account for each and every sin. Without Jesus Christ as his Saviour, this man will go into eternity to burn, writhe and suffer pain and darkness forever!

~Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Without Jesus Christ, one has no hope to ever gain entrance into Heaven. You say you don’t care? How very sad! Your caring or not does not eliminate the fact that you will die one day. EVERYONE dies. Death is a certainty. You have everything to lose if I am right and you are wrong … but you have everything to gain if you heed my warning. Allah, Buddha, Confucius, good works, etc., will not get you into Heaven. Jesus said,

~John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

There is NO other way but by Jesus. That’s why Matthew 7:14 says that the way to Heaven is narrow! Jesus Christ is so controversial, and has been since His first appearance. Religions do not argue amongst themselves over other gods – but they sure do about Jesus Christ. He is the only Saviour. He is the only Messiah. He IS coming again with judgment on His lips. What will you do with this information?

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

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~Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

This thought was so important to the writer that he felt the need to state it again:

~Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Do you take everything at face value without checking things out? I’ve never seen an investor pick a stock out of a hat and then just invest. That would be unwise! Why, then, is eternity looked upon with such flippancy? Man’s tendency from the beginning has been to do what feels “right” rather than obey God.

I’ve often thought that today’s text was best suited for the unsaved and the direction they were going. But I also see it as a warning to the believer. How many times have you taken the easy way out? How many times have you followed after the lust of your flesh rather than what you knew to be right? Today’s text cautions the believer to be careful to follow after whatever seems right. We can’t rely on our heart because our hearts are perfectly wicked.

~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

We need to judge our direction in life by a straight line – a plum line, if you will. Christians are so blessed because we can turn to the word of God – God’s word is our plum line. The word keeps us on the right path! We do not have to be deceived.  We are deceived because we are not in the word of God. We can be deceived when we aren’t guided by the blessed light of God’s word!

~Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

When we compromise – when we fail to read and study God’s Word – we fall into the description of the man who went down the path that “seemed” right to him. After all, who wouldn’t rather go downhill as opposed to uphill? Who wouldn’t rather walk a path that is clear and without hazards? Everyone wants the easy way. No one wants to travel on a path that is narrow and difficult to maneuver. However, the way to Christ is such a path:

~Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The way of the world is a wide way – it seems everyone wants to follow the latest trends, etc. But the Lord says that His way is narrow and there are few who will find it (Matthew 7:22-23). It is a narrow way to Heaven because there is only one way to Heaven (John 14:6). This was not a popular teaching during the early Church – in fact, most of the Apostles died a martyr’s death because of it. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is a sad reminder of what early Christians went through to keep the Gospel alive! I would rather be called narrow-minded as a Christian than to be popular with the world and condemned to burn in the Lake of Fire for all eternity.

We cannot rely on our own flesh to guide us. Jeremiah made it clear that we should not depend on our “feelings.” We cannot go by the famous quote, “follow your heart,” because it is our heart’s desire to do wickedness – it comes natural to us! Christ came to deliver us from all of that! We must allow the precious Holy Spirit to guide us in all things! We cannot trust our hearts to lead us for our sin nature will surely guide us down the wrong path. The best thing a Christian can do is to be in God’s word daily – seeking His face daily – seeking His will daily. There is a way that seems right unto a man – but God’s Word will light your path and it will be the right way!

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~1 Chronicles 16:11-12 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

On those difficult days where the trials of life seem never ending, turn your pain to the One whose compassion never ends.  (Lamentations 3:22) Our pains may be physical, spiritual, or they may be emotional. Either way, we are able to turn to the Father and pull from His strength. Relying on our own strength will not yield any good! (Job 9:4) Once we rely on the strength of the Lord, we can be certain that He will direct us. (Psalm 18:32)

Nothing separates us from God’s love!

~Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

God has a remedy to life’s discouragements. Seek Him (Deuteronomy 4:29), His strength (Psalm 105:4) and remember His marvelous works and wonders (Revelation 15:3). When combined with knowing that nothing separates us from His love, we encourage ourselves in Him! (Romans 8:39)

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~Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

My Shepherd guides me and provides for me – not just my physical needs, but also my emotional and spiritual needs. I shall never lack anything as long as I stay close to my Shepherd. James 4:8

~Psalm 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

I find rest for my weary body, spirit and soul when I search His word – when I glean from it and apply it.  He provides water from His word which gives me everlasting life.  John 4:10

~Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

My soul could not be restored unless it was lost to begin with.  I was born a sinner (Romans 3:10) – we all are. However, at the moment of salvation, Christ restored me and placed His righteousness upon me.  Colossians 1:20 and Colossians 2:14

~Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me.

God removes the sting of death for me, therefore I have no need to fear evil because Christ conquered sin and death. I Corinthians 15:55  The Lord guides me and directs me.  When I fall into sin, He uses His rod to correct me. When I stray from the path I should be on, He guides me with His staff!

~Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

One day I will eat at His banquet table at the marriage supper of the Lamb and I will be in His presence forever! Luke 22:30  I am so overwhelmed at God’s goodness! Praise be to God in the highest!

~Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Because I am a child of the King, His mercy and His goodness are always with me.  I have a promise that I will dwell with Him forever!

Thank You, Lord!